As much I ardently admire the Disney version of almost every folk tale imaginable scribed by the Brothers Grimm, you get the meaning why they’re called fairy tales.
Turns out, the actual fairy tales which were originally written…more disturbing less fairy. Which I’m fine with. Dark original fairy tales? I’m in. Wherein comes the entry of this post where I try to clear up exactly how much Disney has missed.
First up, let’s see what exactly we missed from the original Brother’s Grimm story.
- The fairy godmother never existed.
- It was actually a tree. Glad we cleared that up, first up.
- Cinderella was not a helpless sweet girl, she might have been a witch – showing her leanings towards magic when she made the tree above her mother’s grave rain her with gold and pretty dress.
- Her stepmother seemed to have a thing for throwing lentils into the ashes and making little girls pick them up.
- Her father wasn’t actually conveniently dead. Period.
- More disturbingly destructive than dead, to be honest. Long short short? When the prince came to his door telling her that Cinderella is hiding on his property he chopped down the pens, the tree above her mother’s grave, whatever. Knowing that Cinderella might be hiding in them. Now don’t I wish I had a charming father like him.
- It gets better. “Making your foot fit in the shoe” actually meant “cut off parts of your foot to make it fit.”
- One of the stepsisters cut off her heel with a knife (well isn’t that quaint?) while the other cut off her big toe to wear the shoe. While they were with the prince in a carriage, their shoes started leaking with blood. Total despos for the prince. Your toe and your heel to wear a shoe?!
- Someone please connect them to a crisis hotline asap.
- Please stop eating if you’re eating anything.
- When Cinderella, er, Aschenputtel (her real name) finally got to marry the prince, the stepsisters wanted some glory at the glorious wedding and snuck to the aisle at her wedding.
- Cinder’s pet birds pecked one eye out of each of the stepsisters. Yay for Cinderella? For your convenience let’s not go into the gory details.
- They still wanted to walk back the aisle, and the birds pecked out the other eye.
- I don’t care what they think, I just hope that the wedding was worth their eyes. They spend the rest of their lives as blind beggars while Cinder lives in luxury.
Reaaaaaally, it just depends on what your definition of happily ever after is. In which case, the Brothers Grimm had messed up ideas.
Not that I’m complaining.
The Little Mermaid
- This Disney movie is actually identical to the actual tale.
- Except suck out any happiness.
- And “notion of love conquers all”
- And any faith you might have left in humanity. And you’ll have a pretty legit idea of what a Little Mermaid is all about.
- The sea witch gives Ariel a potion which makes her tail turn into legs. Cue excruciating pain as a result. Like you’re walking on blades when she stepped onto the land.
- The prince turns out to be a jerk. He makes her dance for his amusement despite her pain, y’know, just because he was super sweet like that.
- The sea witch tells her is the prince doesn’t fall in love with her, she’ll turn into sea foam.
- The prince chose some other woman to fall in love with. He left her.
- Ariel turned into a foaming mess of seawater.
- THE END.
Sweet dreams, everyone!
- Her stepmother wasn’t actually her stepmother in the actual story. (And up stage, we have the Brother’s Grimm again!) She was her real mother. She couldn’t bear her daughter to be prettier than she was, so she decided she had to kill her. No biggie.
- She commands her huntsman to gouge her heart and liver out so she can have them cooked and eaten.
- Skip to the end; she dies dancing. The Evil Queen has to put on iron shoes which are red hot from a fire. And dance. And not stop. Until she dies.
- The end.
You know, The Brothers Grimm had a great sense of humour, and an even more calming stories to lull children to sleep to.
- Disney does tend to romanticize things a bit…er, a lot.
- I grew up hearing a pretty princess who falls asleep under a curse, until her handsome prince Charming comes and awakes her with a kiss of true love and they marry and live happily ever after.
- It depends on if your definition of romantic is having the Prince find her asleep, and watching her take a fancy to her, and rapes her. Yeah, um, that is slightly disturbing. Eventually she gives birth to two children in her sleep. Until one of those kids nibbles on her fingers and it leads to the piece of flax which was keeping her asleep is taken out that way. She wakes to find herself raped. And a mother of two kids.
I think this one disturbed me the most. Even more than Cinderella.
In case you want to, you know, deprive yourself of a night of sweet dreams, here’s the original stories.
While doing a bunch of research so I could type this up (spoiler: more procrastinating than writing) apparently fairy tales are super popular. If by popular you mean, punk Cinderella, and zombie Snow White. If you’re curious…look it up 😉
And that brings me to le second part of this post. Yes, as much as originals may be utterly fascinating to read and scare others off with (you might not be even reading this at this point. Go ahead and caress your poor scarred eyes, take all the time you need.)
But with originals, obviously we’ve expanded and changed these over time. We’re human. That’s what we do. (Unless I have visitors from the dragon population visiting me. In which case, hello! *waves*)
Fairy tale retelling are love. I will gladly give up all my merch (don’t quote me on that later though) for a library full of Ya retellings. So if you love retellings too, let me guess which ones are your faves. As terrible as I may be at guessing IRL.
Because I want to see how many of you choose what. I’m nosey like that. Quizzes are delicious. Here is the one I slaved upon for the past half hour.
i adoree retellings even more than looking up disturbing original horrific tales. fave YA ones? is there any disturbing original story which is wayyyy off from the ones we grew up hearing? was my quiz’s result off it’s rocker or perfect? orr, like me, do you prefer to dabble in all the retelling genres?