My three-year old daughter seems to have an unusual fascination for any and all fairy tales in which the big, bad wolf makes an appearance. Let me restate that for accuracy, she has such a fascination with the big, bad wolf that she wants him inserted in any and every story!
Last night, she wanted me to tell her the story of Daniel Tiger (a new PBS animated series based on the character from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) and Tigey (Daniel’s toy tiger.) and the big, bad wolf. Now, if you have ever watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, you will know, (as far as I know anyway), the big, bad wolf is not a character on the show. However, my daughter thought it would be a good idea to put him in as a lead character with Daniel and Tigey for her bedtime story.
Not only that, she gave me directional cues to follow. Basically, here is what she told me she wanted the story to be about, pretty much in her own words.
Daddy, tell me a bedtime story. Tell me the story of Daniel Tiger and Tigey and the big, bad wolf. Daniel Tiger and Tigey are walking in the woods together and the big, bad wolf comes up and gobbles up Tigey. Daniel Tiger has to save Tigey from the big, bad wolf. Then Daniel Tiger and Tigey go home to Mommy Tiger.
As you can see, I didn’t have to fill in many gaps!
Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf? Apparently my daughter is more fascinated by him than afraid. I remember singing the song when I was in preschool. I am pretty sure at the time I would have been one of those afraid of the big, bad wolf!
It is interesting though. As I grew older, I did develop something of a fascination for wolves. To the point, a few years ago I owned two wolf-hybrids. I love their look and sound. There is something mysterious about a wolf. Maybe my daughter has inherited it from her dear ole dad; it has just manifested itself at a younger age in her.
After the Daniel Tiger, Tigey and big, bad wolf story (sounds a bit like a Bob Dylan song!) I told her a couple of stories about Jesus. When I told her I would tell her a story about Jesus, she looked at me surprised and said, But dad, he’s in the clouds with God! I told her the stories anyway!
And no, the big, bad wolf did not make an appearance on the shores of the Sea of Galilee! At least not yet! Though I am sure, sooner or later, she’ll be asking for such a story.
I’m no psychologist, but maybe fear is a part of it for her. Maybe in talking about the big, bad wolf she is facing her fear and making him more familiar and less frightening. I don’t know. I think there is some truth to the fact that sometimes when we talk about things (our fears, anxieties . . . etc.) it makes them less foreboding and fearful. At other times, we come to realize the thing that frightened us is not so frightening after all. Sometimes the shadow is only a shadow.
Now that I think about it though, the whole thing of Jesus and the big, bad wolf makes good sense. Jesus did, after all, refer to himself as the Good Shepherd and his followers as his sheep. He went on to say that the thief (presumably the devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy. Surely, for a sheepfold there is no bigger threat or thief than a wolf! So, it seems to make a lot of sense on second thought.
Maybe I will tell her the story of Jesus and the big, bad wolf tonight!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (Jn. 10.10-11)