We loved Kenneth Branagh's 2015 movie adaptation of Cinderella - based on the Disney animation. But did you know the original story was a lot less pretty...? We uncover the grisly bits in your favourite fairytales…
Warning: not for the kids!
The history bit…
Many of the fairytales we know and love were written by German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the early 1800s. They put together a collection of traditional folk tales – and included every gory little detail. Ugh! Unsurprisingly, these are the bits Mr Disney left out…
In the original version, Cinderella or ‘Aschenputtel’ (Ash-fool) still has two step-sisters… But when they come to try on that Jimmy Choo-style glass slipper, they deftly hack off their toes and heels to try to make it fit, but the blood dripping from their own shoes gives them away. The prince eventually finds his girl, and at their wedding, magic doves peck out the evil sisters’ eyes.
Evil step-mother? Nope! In the first version of the story, it was Snow White’s real mum who was out to get her… And she didn’t just want her pretty girl’s heart – she wanted her lungs and liver, too…to eat. Now that’s just offal! When the huntsman fails, Mumsy sets out to try to kill Snow White in three different ways: with an overly tight corset, with a poisoned comb, and finally with a poisoned apple.
But don’t fear, folks, mad ma gets her comeuppance – in the end she’s forced to dance herself to death in a pair of red-hot iron shoes. (What is it with shoes? Some fairytale fetish thing?!)
OK, so the Grimms’ version is pretty similar to the Disney one… But in another telling of the same tale, from 1634, the handsome prince actually rapes our snoozing heroine and she only awakens when her offspring (she gave birth while still asleep!), sucks the poisoned splinter from her finger.
So while Rapunzel is locked in the tower, her captor – the witch – isn’t her only visitor… A horny prince also climbs up Rapunzel’s golden locks – several times. Before long, the witch wonders why Rapunzel’s packing on the pounds… The answer? She’s pregnant by her new princely friend!
Old witch-face goes crazy, cuts off Rapunzel’s locks and lures up the daddy. Then she chucks him down into a thorn bush that plucks out his eyes. (The moral – use a condom, folks.)
Still, eventually, there is a happy ending – Rapunzel and her fella get back together and her tears heal his eyes. One, two, three – ahhhhhh!
Little Red Riding Hood
Believe it or not, the Brothers Grimm made this story a lot jollier than it was in an earlier version. In Charles Perrault’s telling of 1697, Little Red strips naked, gets in bed, and is eaten up by the big, bad wolf, with no rescue from a hunky huntsman. (In another version, she eats her own granny first – nice!)
The Perrault story ends with a moral for us all, that not all wolves are wild beasts — some seduce, sneak us into bed and pounce there. Yes, folks, it’s all about rumpy pumpy. There’s even a French phrase to mean losing your virginity which translates as, ‘she has seen the wolf’!
Do you still tell your children fairytales? Tell us in the Comment box below…