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The Real Story Behind Fairytales

Over the years, Disney has always been successful in giving its young audiences thrilling adventures and happily-ever-afters through its movies. Disney-animated films are often based on popular stories from around the world and given the usual Disney treatment of romance, humor, and music. Most audiences, however, remain oblivious to the true nature of these “happy” Disney princess films. Here are some of the world’s most favorite fairy tales and their true twisted nature.

  1. Cinderella


Disney version: When the Duke pulls up to Cinderella’s house in search of the lady who fits the glass slipper, Cinderella is locked up in her room by her wicked stepmother. Her stepsisters try on the slipper, which of course does not fit on either of them. Just before the Duke leaves, Cinderella manages to escape. The stepmother trips the Duke, causing the glass slipper to break. Cinderella shows the Duke that she has the other glass slipper, and she is whisked away to the palace to marry the prince.

Original version: The Brothers Grimm, creators of the original tale, had something more gruesome in mind. In order to ensure the fit of the slipper, one of the sisters cut off some toes, while the other chops off part her heel. A dove reports to the prince that there was blood on the slipper, and he eventually finds that Cinderella is the true owner of the shoe. Afterward, the sisters try to win Cinderella’s favor by attending her wedding. Their eyes are pecked out by birds.

Bonus: Cinderella had no fairy godmother, and the ball didn’t last just one night. A tree which Cinderella had planted near her mother’s grave bore dresses which she wore to the prince’s three-day ball.

  1. Snow White


Disney version: A hunter is ordered by the Queen to kill Snow White, and she asks for her heart as proof. The hunter, bedazzled by her beauty, apologizes and brings a deer’s heart to the Queen instead. Eventually, the Queen finds out that Snow White is still alive. She dons a disguise and gives Snow White a poison apple which puts her in a deep sleep. A prince comes and kisses her, and she miraculously awakes. In anger, the dwarves chase the evil Queen until she falls off a cliff to her death.

Original version: The hunter is told to get not only her heart but her liver and lungs as well, which were devoured by the Queen. After Snow White bites into the apple, it’s lodged in her throat, which causes her to faint. The prince who comes to her rescue doesn’t kiss her but abruptly takes her away, and while she is moving her, the apple gets unstuck from her throat, allowing her to breathe again and wake up. As punishment, the Queen is made to wear iron shoes and dance over hot coals until she dies of exhaustion.

  1. Sleeping Beauty


Disney version: As a child, a curse is placed on Aurora by Maleficent, decreeing that when she reaches the age of eighteen, she will prick her finger, and the whole kingdom will fall into a deep sleep. When this happens, a prince comes to her rescue and wakes her up with a kiss. Coincidentally, she’d met the prince before when she was in hiding.

Original version: Instead of pricking her finger, the princess pierces her nail with a thorn, which stays there. When the princess falls asleep and is visited by the prince, he is enchanted by her beauty. So much so that he not only kisses her but also rapes her and leaves her behind. Months later, the princess gives birth to twins, one of which sucks her finger in search of milk, removing the thorn and waking her up.

  1. The Little Mermaid


Disney version: A headstrong mermaid falls in love with a prince after spotting him in a ship above the sea. When the prince is in trouble, she saves his life and leaves before he wakes up. The prince has no memory of the person who saved him; he only remembers her voice. The mermaid then convinces a sea witch to give her legs in exchange of her voice. If the mermaid doesn’t make the prince fall in love with her within three days, she will turn back into a mermaid. On the third day, the sea witch tricks the prince into marrying her but fails. The mermaid regains her voice and her tail, but with the help of her father, King Triton, she gets her legs back and marries the prince.

Original version: The prince never finds out that it’s the mermaid who saved his life. Also, if the mermaid doesn’t make the prince fall in love with her, the consequence is death. One of the original endings is the mermaid disappearing in a flurry of bubbles.

Bonus: It is also said that Hans Christian Andersen fell in love with a male friend and that the story of the Little Mermaid was based on that experience.


**Disclaimer: Image is not ours. Credit to their respective owners.

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