March 5, 2013

Fairy Tales' Dark Secrets

Truth be told, I've always been a Disney fan (at least of all the classic animated features), but being a fan of the Grimm's brothers, of Hans Chrisian Anderson, and other similar tales, I know the gory secrets the "Man Hiding Behind the Smiling Mouse" has kept hidden.

--Disclaimer:  Gruesomeness Below, Not for the Faint of Heart!--

In the original Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf cut up the grandmother into pieces and collected her blood in a cup.  When Little Red Riding Hood arrived, she was understandably hungry and thirsty.  I'm sure you know what happened next.  Not only that, but when she got tired, the wolf told her to undress and jump into his bed (where he'd dressed up as the grandmother, that was correct).

When the evil Queen in Snow White made the hunter kill the fair princess, the kind-hearted man gave her instead the heart of a deer... which the queen promptly gobbled up.  After a few tries at killing Snow White and failing, the Queen finally got caught and as punishment... had to dance while wearing red-hot iron shoes.

In Cinderella, the mean step-sisters actually cut off parts of their feet to try to fit the shoe (one her big toe, the other her heel).  And the prince wasn't smart enough to see it till some kind forest creature told him to check his bride-to-be's bleeding foot.  But one must learn not to fool with a prince (even an idiotic one), because they either get their eyes pecked out by birds in one version, or they get killed off in the other.

In The Little Mermaid, the prince is already about to marry a girl (who he mistakenly thinks is the one who saved him) when the Little Mermaid trades her fishtail for a pair of legs  (which hurt like she's being stabbed by hundreds of knives every time she walks).  Her sisters then trade in their long locks of hair to the Sea Witch in exchange for a last chance to get their sister back.  That chance comes in the form of a knife which the Little Mermaid must use to stab her prince's heart.  Unable to do so, she throws herself off the boat (on which the happy prince and his new bride are leaving to go on their honeymoon), and her body dissolves into sea foam.

In the less well-known tale of Rumpelstiltskin, the cunning little man who'd thought he could cheat the queen out of her first-born finds out he's lost his bet.  Super angry, he stomps his foot on the ground until it collapses under him.  When he tries to pull himself out afterward, he ends up ripping himself up in two.

So things aren't so bright and cheery in those stories (you should hear some of the nursery rhymes of the time). One of the reasons for that is that life back in those days wasn't as cozy as we have it now.  Kids were privy to the harshness of reality from birth.  For example, they often had new moms, as their own either died of sickness or in childbirth (evil stepmother stories, anyone?).  Besides, these tales weren't only for kids, as they used to be told to all those present around the fire at the end of a long day of hard work.

That's all for today, folks!

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