In Part 1 of this post, I asked: When last did you watch a movie or read a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm? Are you a parent who read your children bedtime stories from books published by Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm? If you look at them today, you might be shocked by the gruesomeness of these tales. You can read about the first five fairy tales HERE.
The last tale in my previous post was about the cannibalistic old lady who lured kids to her gingerbread house. She entrapped them, fattened them up before cooking and eating them! How’s that for a bedtime fairy tale?
The tale about Snow White and the seven dwarfs
Just the thought of the tale conjures up visions of the beautiful Snow White surrounded by seven happy-faced, cuddly dwarfs. The was Disney’s first full-length animated movie, made in 1938. His wife warned that adults would not want to sit through a full-length musical film about a bunch of dwarfs with beards. However, Disney borrowed the $1.5 million he needed and went ahead with the movie. He was right, and young and old loved it. However, looking at it now, the tale was quite gruesome.
Disney left out some of the horrors the Grimm Brothers included in their 19th-century publication. He kept the bit about the queen’s jealousy of Snow White, who won the heart of the prince. She ordered hunters to kill Snow White and bring her heart back as proof of her death. He omitted the part about the queen also wanting her liver and lungs to devour it.
Furthermore, another grisly part that Disney chose not to include in his film was about Snow White’s evil stepmother. She attended Snow White’s wedding and forced Snow White to dance in iron shoes. The shoes were earlier placed on burning coals and red hot when the stepmother forced the bride to step into them. Snow White does as ordered and dances in agony before she falls down and dies.
Rumpelstiltskin, a tale about a creepy little man
This fairy tale, written by the Grimm Brothers, was remarkably popular to present as plays in theaters. There was even a television version in the eighties called Fantasy Island. The popularity of Rumpelstiltskin is strange, considering its storyline. It is about a little horror of a man with magical powers who steals children. He makes a deal with a miller’s humble daughter. He transforms her into a queen, and in exchange, he wants her firstborn child.
The child is born, and Rumpelstiltskin comes to collect the baby. The only way to keep her child is to guess the little creep’s name. Somehow she guesses correctly, and he is furious. He shouts that the devil gave away his name, and while screaming, he stumps his foot so hard that his entire leg plunges into the earth. As he pulls it out, his whole body tears in two.
“Frozen” quite different from its fairy tale inspiration
Disney’s 2013 movie “Frozen” was a hit entirely removed from the fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” In Frozen, two sisters, Elsa and Anna, work against each other. Elsa can create snow and ice by using her special powers, and that threatens her sister. Elsa becomes a queen, and Anna marries the creepy Prince Hans. Ultimately, Elsa deports Anna and the prince, and all ends well.
In contrast, Hans Christian Andersen’s original story was more of a nightmare than a fairy tale. The storyline is entirely removed from the Disney film. Kay is a young boy whose eye and heart get embedded by shards of a broken magic mirror. Then the glass shards turn into ice, and a mystical woman in white abducts him. She keeps him in the palace of the Snow Queen, with an army of snakes, porcupines and bear cubs guarding it. Kay’s sister Gerda then sets out to rescue him.
Rapunzel, a fairy tale about thorns blinding her lover
Disney based his 2010 movie “Tangled” on the Grimm’s fairy tale “Rapunzel.” The film was about a young girl whose magical hair had antiaging properties. A witch kidnaps and imprisons her and uses Rapunzel’s hair to stay young. While imprisoned, she grows older and becomes beautiful. A courageous and daring prince uses her long hair to climb up to the tower. He rescues her and cut her hair, causing the witch’s death. Of course, they lived happily ever after.
Now, for the Grimm’s horror version. The prince climbs to the tower, impregnates Rapunzel during his visit. After he left, the witch decides to cut the girl’s hair and throws her out, abandoned in the desert. The prince returns to visit Rapunzel, and the witch tells him he’ll never see the girl again. The despaired prince jumps down from the tower, landing in a bush with thorns that pierce his eyes. For several years, the blind prince wanders around, living the life of a homeless person. In the meantime, Rapunzel struggles to care for her twins as an unmarried mother. The two meet again by chance, and Rapunzel found that her tears have magic healing powers. They use the tears to cure the prince’s blindness, and they live happily ever after as a married couple, after their return to the prince’s kingdom.
The original Sleeping Beauty fairy tale has everything but beauty
The fairy tale Sleeping Beauty also had several versions. Grimm, Perrault and Disney all portrayed similar storylines. In 1959, Disney’s film showed a princess, doomed by a sorceress’s spell cast to die when she turns 16. On that day, a spindle pricks her finger, and a good fairy partially blocks the curse. Instead of dying, she goes into a deep sleep, from which only a kiss from a prince can awaken her.
In contrast, in the 14th-century version of France’s “Perceforest,” when the prince turns up to kiss the sleeping beauty, he finds her comatose and naked. He is unable to resist his sexual urges and impregnates her. She remains asleep, even while giving birth. When the child mistakes her finger for her breast, the infant bites her finger, causing the spindle’s remnant that kept her asleep to fall out. That is when she wakes up.
Even worse — the 1634 version by Giambattista Basile, called “The Sun, the Moon and Talia.” Here, the sleeping beauty birthed twins after the king impregnated her. She never wakes up, but when the queen learns about the king’s wayward actions, she decides to punish him. She orders the cook to find and kill the twins. Furthermore, he must cook the children and serve the meal to her husband. Fortunately, this is too much for the cook, and he serves the king with lamb instead.
After all this, my question to you is: “If you could get your children’s attention away from the PlayStation, which one of these fairy tales, would you tell them?”