Fairy tales are for everyone. Adults can curl up on the sofa with their children and a mighty tome of fairy tales and read aloud, transporting their young minds to a world of mythical creatures, fair maidens and handsome princes.
Just before you get yourself comfortable though, take a peek at the author of the book you’re reading from because if it has anything to do with the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson or Charles Perrault you might just want to throw it straight in the bin. In fact, no, make it the fireplace, best to destroy it completely.
Think Little Red Riding hood, think a cute little girl with a fashion-forward hooded cape, skipping through the forest to her granny’s house where, after a small altercation with a wolf, they all live happily ever. Unless you read the Charles Perrault, 1697 version that is, in which the wolf not only kills granny but puts her dissected flesh in the pantry and drained blood in a wine bottle. Next, Little Red is forced to strip naked and get into bed with the wolf before he eats her too. Doesn’t take a Freudian analysis, does it?
I think we can all agree The Little Mermaid is the Disney film with the best music but if the story of the original Little Mermaid was followed Ariel would be wishing she had stayed deep, deep under the sea. In the original Hans Christian Anderson story, the mermaid gives up her voice in exchange for legs that cause her excruciating pain. Every step is like walking on blades but even so, the mermaid dances to win the Prince’s affection. The Prince gives the thumbs down and even though the Mermaid could kill him and get her fins back she chooses instead to throw herself in the ocean, finless, and dies.
The Brothers Grimm live up their name yet again with their original version of Rapunzel. In it a beautiful long-haired maiden is trapped in a tower by an evil witch but the Prince has already broken into the tower by climbing up a rope made of Rapunzel’s hair and, family planning materials being somewhat limited at the time, Rapunzel’s already pregnant. The witch banishes Rapunzel and throws the baby daddy from the tower into thorn bushes which save his life but stab out his eyes.
This one makes me feel slightly nauseous. I always thought a glass slipper would be an incredibly uncomfortable choice of footwear, even if you were trying to force your way into the royal family but in the original Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella the shoes are made of the even more impractical material of gold. In order to fit their large, unsightly feet into them, Cinderella’s older sister mutilate themselves, cutting off their toes and heels. When the blood pooling in their shoes gives them away, the Prince adds insult to an already potentially life-threatening injury by having their eyes pecked out by birds.
Forget all the soft-spoken naivety, the tra-la-la singing and the friendly forest animals, the real Snow White ain’t all sweetness and light. To be fair, the evil Queen does start it. In the original story the evil Queen sends a huntsman to kill Snow White and bring back her liver and lungs so that she can eat them but her plan is foiled when the prince dislodges a poisoned apple from Snow White’s throat. What he’s doing with her dead body is anybody’s guess. In punishment for her heinous acts, Snow White and her prince make the evil Queen wear a pair of burning hot iron shows in which she dances until she dies. Murder on the dancefloor.