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Daily Smart Fact #21: The Brothers Grimm fairy tales included rape, cutting of limbs, and death by shoes

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Key Takeaway: The Brothers Grimm original versions of now-famous fairy tales were much darker and freaky than their current Disney counterparts. Exhibit A: Sleeping Beauty was actually raped and had a pair of twins while still in her coma.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German brothers in the early 1800s who published various books of fairy tales that were dark and violent.  The only reason I even started digging into this was because a friend of ours, at a recent barbecue, mentioned that the original Sleeping Beauty was raped multiple times while she was “asleep” and only woke up because she gave birth to twins and one of them sucked out the poisonous thorn!  After some digging around, lo and behold, this indeed was true.  Here’s some other interesting tidbits I found about the Grimm fairy tales:

  • Cinderella – The step-sisters, in desperation to fool the prince that their humongo feet are tiny and dainty like Cinderella’s, cut off parts of their feet. Straight up lops them off. What alerts the prince to their trickery?  Pigeons. Pigeons and the sisters’ bloody feet.  Oh yeah, and if that weren’t enough punishment, the pigeons peck out the sisters’ eyes. They end up spending the rest of their lives as blind beggars. Revenge is a bitch. (from National Geographic)
  • Snow White – In the original tale, the Queen actually asks for Snow White’s liver, heart, lungs, and (in some versions, intestines) because she wants to EAT them for dinner.  Probably with a side of fava beans and Chianti (tongue/mouth making noise Hannibal style).  Also, Snow White is supposed to be super young, like 10 years old.  So unless the prince was also 10 years old…he was one six-pack short of meeting Chris Hansen.  Also in the original, Snow White wakes up when she is jostled by the prince’s horse as he carries her back to his castle – not from a magical kiss. And in the Grimm version, the tale ends with the Queen being forced to dance to death in red hot iron shoes!
  • Rumpelstiltskin – In the version we’re familiar with, the queen guesses his name and he’s angry but honors his word and gives back the baby.  Turns out in the original version, he’s not just angry but freaking pissed to the point he stamps his feet to the ground, gets stuck, and then RIPS HIMSELF IN HALF.  Fun times.
To end on a happy note, here’s a cute sloth flying to R. Kelly’s “I believe I can fly”:

Written by Bea

June 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Posted in History

Tagged with , ,