Thinking through more what is meant by those who say that a search for some “historical core” is a viable one. It’s surely not. It would mean:
1. assuming that literature about the character in question and within a certain time frame of the time of that character is a priori grounds for assuming such a person existed; and
2. assuming that the type of character that existed is established by removing from that literature whatever is said about him that is implausible or impossible; and
3. assuming that if there is no other evidence that disproves that the character left over from steps 1 and 2 existed, then we can take that character as “the historical core”?
Hoo boy, if that’s a fair summary then one can “prove” that there is a “historical core” to the Little Red Riding Hood story. When will we learn to go beyond naive readings of texts and learn to understand basic principles of cultural studies, textual and literary criticism and historical — not to mention scientific — method.