Fairy Tales -- The Quentin Tarantino Version....Kathryn Smith!

Fairy Tales. They’ve become stories for children — fodder for Disney and Dreamworks and all manner of media designed for the under ten set. I have to smile when I read articles talking about the ‘sexing up’ of these stories, or when books are marketed as ‘adult’ fairy tales. I smile because the authors of these stories, like Lila, know that fairy tales were originally adult stories — a lot sexier and darker than a singing lobster.

Here are a few examples: In Rapunzel, the prince visited the girl in the tower several times, and the evil witch never found out until Rapunzel complained of her clothes getting too tight. In this version, the witch — realizing her prisoner is pregnant — calls her a slut. In Sleeping Beauty, the prince did a lot more than kiss the princess to wake her up. In fact, in some versions she wakes up pregnant. Snow White’s wicked queen wanted the girl’s heart and innards (cut out by our once heroic, but now relegated to henchman, Huntsman) to put in a pie and eat. Makes me think of those old legends of ingesting a person to take their power. In this case, her youthful beauty.

Most of us are familiar with Cinderella and how in older versions the step sisters cut off bits of their feet in order to fit the slipper. That was the version my mother told me. Did you know that in those old stories, birds came and plucked the eyes out of the sisters and their mother at Cinderella’s wedding to Prince Charming? Makes you look at the Disney version a little differently, doesn’t it? Those singing cartoon birds suddenly seem Hitchcockian. It makes me wonder what really happened between Red Ridinghood and the Big Bad Wolf.

Cannibalism. Murder. Rape. Suicide. The original stories contained at least one, if not several of these themes, which the Grimm boys and their contemporaries toned down for child-friendly consumption. Think of them as the Tipper Gore of their day. Children were eaten. Lovers committed suicide over lost love, and throats were slit and bones ground to make bread with alarming frequency. I think of these original stories as the precursor to soap operas. There might have been a bit of a moral lesson, but these stories were mostly for entertainment, and dare I say it, titillation. There were about the darker side of humanity, and most of them were kept and passed on by women, which makes me wonder if gruesome tales like The Robber Bridegroom, in which a young girl is gotten drunk and then hacked to bits, isn’t the equivalent cautionary tale to what we tell young girls who walk home alone at night — only with more cannibalism.

QUESTION:  So what are some of your favorite ‘fairy tales from the darkside’?

One random commenter will win a copy of BE MINE TONIGHT!

Great to have you at the PRINCESS BLOG PARTY, Kathryn! :)  I love your post—and you are absolutely right!  Fairy tales were originally written for adults and were definitely dark and in many cases twisted! 

She has generously opened up her giveaway WORLDWIDE.

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* Winner will be announced on SUNDAY–selected from a random commenter on this post.

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