Rix Quinn’s Minute Story: Charles Perrault

Detail portrait of Charles Perrault painted by Philippe Lallemand, circa 1672. Wikimedia Commons
Detail portrait of Charles Perrault painted by Philippe Lallemand, circa 1672. Wikimedia Commons

We’d like to recognize Charles Perrault, who preserved the folk tales of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty” and many more.

Detail portrait of Charles Perrault painted by Philippe Lallemand, circa 1672. Wikimedia Commons
Detail portrait of Charles Perrault painted by Philippe Lallemand, circa 1672.
Wikimedia Commons

We’d bake a cake in his honor, but since he was born in 1628, he’s 375 now. Few folks that age can blow out the candles.

Perrault painstakingly transcribed centuries-old stories that taught important lessons like bravery, honesty, and witch avoidance.

Before Perrault committed them to paper, folk tales passed orally from one generation to the next. As you know, the mouth is filled with bacteria, so many stories were mangled through repetition.

There’s also the possibility that characters would get “co-mingled.” Without Perrault, sombody else might have strolled into Grandma’s house, and been devoured by the wolf. And Red Riding Hood might have wandered into another fairy tale, and taken her picnic basket into a different house, or even a castle.

I guess that’s why the legend about Riding Hood is my favorite. Where else can you find fresh baked goods, a lovely heroine, a talking wolf, and a lumberjack all in one place?

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Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.

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