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The Ogress is the central antagonist of the 10th century folk tale known as "La Finta Nona" ("the False Grandmother" - it is one of several stories that would eventually shape the modern fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood but like most folk tales is much darker and thus lacks a "happy ending" as well as containing disturbing imagery not often told in the modern Red Riding Hood tale.

It is important to note that in some versions of the story the Ogress is a werewolf, which parallels the Big Bad Wolf of the Red Riding Hood story.

Role In Story

The Ogress encounters a young girl on a split in a path, the girl explains she is heading to her grandmother's home to give her milk and bread (unlike the Red Riding Hood tale the grandmother is not ill but simply in need of supplies) : the Ogress tricks the girl into going on the longer path while she heads to the grandmother's house, kills and eats her, in this story the Ogress also devises a sadistic torture for the girl she knows will arrive soon, taking a piece of the grandmother's flesh and some of her blood, disguising them as food and wine.

When the young girl arrives the Ogress hides in the grandmother's bed and tricks the girl into consuming the blood and flesh of the deceased grandmother before the two share a similar interaction as in other tellings of Red Riding Hood, with the girl questioning the odd appearance of the Ogress and finally being devoured after commenting on her sharp teeth.

Unlike other versions the Ogress is not punished in this tale, nor is the girl saved from her fate, with the monster instead presumably returning to the forest to continue her evil ways.

Later versions of the tale would cater to changing attitudes and the girl would ultimately escape the Ogress and return to her home unharmed, with the Ogress giving chase but being unable to catch her - both versions retain the gruesome act of the Ogress tricking the girl into eating parts of the grandmother.

Notes

  • when the tale has the antagonist as a werewolf the gender is reversed, with the werewolf always being male.
  • the tale follows the same basic morality-lesson as all other versions : not to give personal information to strangers and not to be too trusting of those you do not know.