We all know fairy tales, childhood stories passed down through the ages. And some have seen the articles of how the stories have been altered by people like Disney through the ages. But what if I told you the brothers Grimm aren’t always responsible, and that sometimes the truth is more than uncomfortable, its horrifying. Here are five older versions of fairy tales, including cannibalism, bestiality, mutilation, torture, and rape.
5. Red Riding Hood.
While you’ve no doubt heard of the Grimm version of Red Riding Hood where everyone spends a day inside a wolf before being cut out, an even older version (Dating back to 900 A.D.) has even darker origins. A story about how you shouldn’t talk to strangers, the 10th century version has the wolf not only eat the grandmother, but serve her flesh and blood to Little Red. After this accidental cannibalism, the wolf convinces Red to get naked with him in bed, before eating her.
And that’s it! That’s the ending! Cannibalism and underage borderline bestiality! Wonder what tops that?
4. Sleeping Beauty
Well, Disney rubs out all the fun. An early version of sleeping beauty called Giambatttista called Sun,Moon, and Talia works a bit differently. Instead of splinter in Walt’s version, Giambattista’s Talia gets a flax seed stuck beneath her nail. She falls into a deep sleep (par for the course), and is found by a passing king. Who proceeds to have sex with the unconscious Talia.
And not just once. Enough times to produce two children while Talia’s unconscious! One of these children tries to suckle at her breast, only to accidentally suck the flax seed out from beneath her nail. Talia immediately wakes up and falls in love with the king (who happened to come by for another rape session).
Disney’s at it again. This time, however, we’ll only go back to the Grimm version of the story. Because, as we’ve seen they are pretty tame. In their version of Cinderella, called Aschenputtel, Cinderella cries a tree to life. Literally, the hazelnut tree she plants near her mother’s grave is sustained only by her tears.
Later on, when the prince comes by with the glass slipper, the step sisters don’t just accept that they can’t fit. No, they cut off toes and heels to try and squeeze into the glass slipper. The prince, being a sharp one, notices the blood coming out of the SEE THROUGH SLIPPER. When Cinderella at last marries the Prince, her wedding day proclamation is to have her sisters’ eyes plucked out by doves! Game of Throne’s families’ are less vengeful.
2. The Little Mermaid
Three for three with Disney. Hans Crhistian Andersen (who also did the snow queen, later made into Frozen), published this little bit in the 1870’s. And it’s appropriately dark and a bit existential. Firstly, the potion that makes her human has some downsides. Every step on land will feel like walking on sharp blades slicing into her feet. Compared to this, giving up speaking is rather easy. However, the last clause is the most important: if the Prince marries someone else, Ariel will turn into sea foam and cease to exist.
Ariel in this version takes the ‘Body Language’ suggestion more seriously, charming the prince by dancing. The Prince, however, is not terribly interested in marrying her and decides they are in a strictly platonic relationship. Instead, he plans to marry someone else.
Ariel, fearing death, asks her sisters for help. They go back to the sea witch, who gives them a magic blade. If she off’s the Prince with it, and spills his blood on her feet, she will be a mermaid again. Ariel can’t go through with the killing though, the Little Mermaid throws herself into the ocean and becomes a ghostly spirit that wanders the earth for 300 years.
1. Snow White
Best to end with the oldest, I suppose. The story comes from 1812, and again the brothers Grimm are at it again. In the earliest version, Snow White is only about seven to ten years old (she’s bumped to around fourteen when Uncle Mickey got his hands on it). Further her mom (no evil step mother, her honest mother, the archetypical good in most fairy tales) tries to kill her four times out of jealousy. First she orders a huntsman to go kill her and bring back the liver and lungs as proof. Also, so she can cannibalize her daughter (and gain her powers?).
After the Huntsman fools her with a pig’s organs, the Evil Mother puts on a disguise and tries to do it herself. Once with a tightly bound corset (to suffocate). That fails, so next to posion comb. That fails, so finally we get to the oh so famous apple. This also fails to kill her, but tricks the dwarfs, who put her in a glass casket.
In a turn a lot like dear Talia’s, a traveling prince is enamored by her beauty. Unlike the rapist king, the prince just wants to bring the beautiful (dead) woman home to look at. After Snow White wakes up, she marries the prince who loves the dead.
Where’s the Evil Mother in this? Well, she shows up at the wedding. And is made to step into fire heated iron shoes. And then dance to death. Christ, they were inventive back then.