This week’s trivia is a very interesting fact I have only learned of during my last years in high school and has scarred me for life ever since: the dark truth about the fairy tales we have always credited as indispensable fragments of our fragile childhoods. I swear, I’m not making any of these things up, so if you are a little bit hesitant about wanting to know what really happened with some of our favorite Disney animated heroines, you might not want to read this. You are warned, fellow bibliophile, read at your own risk.
Let us forget about the cheesy soundtracks, the swoon-worthy love stories, cooler-than-thou prince charmings and the quintessential happy-ever-afters for a moment and consider this: How familiar are we about the classic, original writings of the Grimm Brothers? Have we ever wondered why their surname is a homonym for the adjective Grim? I don’t know about you but that sounds ominous to me.
I know most people had probably seen the adult fairytale retelling of Little Red Riding Hood starring Amanda Seyfried. (You know, that film which looked like Twilight 2.0.) Hence, it might probably not come as too much of a shocker to know that in the Grimm’s version, Little Red Riding Hood was, as a matter of fact, raped by the big bad wolf. Ew bestiality, excuse me while I barf.
But, it gets worse, yes it does.
Take for instance our poster rags-to-riches girl, Cinderella: when we think of her, we think right away of Glass Slippers and Fairy Godmothers. These things aren’t on the books, really. That shoe/slipper is actually made of fur, which is, well, sinister and not the least bit romantic if you’ll ask me. And Fairy Godmother? She’s totally an imagined add-on character because in the Grimm’s version, Cinderella was actually led by the birds towards the forest where she eventually saw her gown hanging on a branch of a tree—on top of her mother’s grave. How can you not find that, scary? And wait, there’s more! What really shattered the glamour of fairy tales in my young mind is this: the fact that Cinderella’s stepsisters were so desperate to be chosen by the prince that they’ve actually gone to the extent of mutilating their toes so their feet can fit inside the shoe. THEY. FREAKING.MUTILATED.THEIR.TOES.
Think I’m on crack? Well see for yourself then: Grimm Fairytales Here
Deconstructing the truth about fairy tales has sure been such a trauma, considering that these bedtime tales actually sprung from origins of very dark themes: Aside from the aforementioned, there’s murder, cannibalism, infanticide, and incest galore, which are, in no way, apt to narrate to young kids. The Brothers Grimm might have had a profound, albeit disturbing vision for children, and if I’m going to be honest, this beats the sugarcoated moral lessons that Disney fairy tales tell us over and over; The dark truth of fairy tales tell us: It’s a big, bad world out there, kid. Hang tight, get ready, the weak of heart will never get out of it alive.