Children have a vast capacity for complex imagination and creativity. Fairy tales and children’s stories that are often extremely moralistic and didactic in nature, aim at an all-round development of all their faculties and capabilities. They cultivate a deeper understanding of life’s ‘great truths’ and the ability to see the difference between what is right and wrong; moral and immoral. They cultivate and create in children the strength, courage and wisdom to overcome complex and cope with difficult challenges of life. They develop in children a sense of complex imagination, wonder, aura and curiosity.
However when looked upon closely, one realizes there are some gruesome and spine-chilling details and origin that Disney has chosen to leave out. The Brothers Grimm gives totally different versions of the popular fairy tales which were originally full of horrifying and cruel elements.
Below is a list of the 8 most disturbing real stories behind our popular Disney movies.
In the commonly heard version, Cinderella, enslaved by the abuse of her wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters, stood no chance of attending the Royal Ball. With the help of her Fairy Godmother who uses magic to transform her into a beautiful princess, Cinderella gets the opportunity to attend the ball and falls in love with the Royal Prince.When the Prince realises that the glass slipper at the ball belonged to her, he marries her and both of them live happily ever after.
However in the original version, Cinderella did not have a Fairy Godmother. Rather, she got her dress by praying under a tree which she had planted on her mother’s grave.
According to the Brothers Grimm version, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine, urged one of her daughters’ to cut her toes and the other to cut off a bit of her heel to fit into the glass slipper. It is the doves who tell the Prince that their feet are bleeding and discover that Cinderella is the only one to fit into those shoes.
At Cinderella’s wedding, the stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by the birds. And Cinderella’s wicked stepmother is forced to dance around wearing hot iron shoes as punishment.
- THE LITTLE MERMAID:
Very few are actually familiar with the original story of Little Mermaid as written by author Hans Christian Anderson.
Having fallen in love and enchanted by Prince Eric, the Little Mermaid visits Ursula, the Sea Witch, to ask for a pair of legs. In exchange for her legs, the Little Mermaid loses her voice. The transformation from fish to human was not something enchanting or magical and wonderful. Rather it felt like “walking on knives”. Ursula issues a warning, saying that once she became a human, she would not be able to return to the sea.
In the film adapted version, she would remain a human forever only if she was able to get true love’s kiss. Failure to do so meant that she would be turned back into a mermaid and would be forced to become Ursula’s slave. However in the original story, she had to convince the prince to marry her or she would die. When she refused to kill the prince out of undevoted love and affection, she throws herself into the sea and turns into sea foam.
- THE FOX AND THE HOUND:
In the movie adaptation, the baby fox and the pup become close friends and associates. However, the original story focuses on themes such as animal slaughter, cruelty and revenge.
In the book written by Daniel P.Mannix, Todd is raised by a hunter’s family but returns to the wild after an escape. To taunt the dogs left behind, he occasionally would come and flaunt his cunning skills. One of the dogs breaks free from the chain and chases him, only to be hit by a train later on. In an act of revenge, the hunter goes on to kill not only Todd’s first mate and his children, but Todd’s second mate and his children as well. Copper , the hound, is shot at the end of the book because he is so old and Todd dies as a result of continuous running and exhaustion.
- BEAUTY AND THE BEAST:
In the original story Beauty’s father is a merchant who came across the Beast’s castle during one of his travels. Unknowingly, He takes refuge in the beast’s castle where he finds food, bed and clothing prepared for someone. On his way out, he plucks a rose from the garden for beauty, unleashing beast’s wrath and anger upon him. He promises to forfeit one of his daughter in exchange for his own life.
After months of living with the beast, beauty begins to miss her father and is allowed to pay a visit home, with the promise that she would return soon. Beauty has two wicked step sisters who shower her with more affection and love hoping that she would stay longer, (the beast had allowed Belle to travel home only to return in a week) so that the beast would get infuriated with her and eat her alive!
After realizing the love she had for the Prince, they marry and live happily ever after. However, her sisters are cursed to be living statues outside the Prince’s castle, forever being an audience to their sister’s happiness and better fortune and life.
The original version, is full of themes of mutilation, death and betrayal. According to the original book by Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio is a selfish boy, manifesting violent tendencies and aggressive behaviour. When one of the cats dressed as a bandit, attacks him, he bites her paw off.
He ran from home and got his father imprisoned for child abuse. When Jiminy Cricket tries to give moral advice, he goes on to murder him and is haunted by his ghost later on. He even sold off his school books for a ticket to a theatre.
- SLEEPING BEAUTY:
In the children’s story version, Princess Aurora and Prince Philip met in the woods and instantly. Aurora upon being pricked by a spindle enters a sleeping curse, as was decreed by the evil Manificent. She is saved from the curse with the help of true love’s(Philip) kiss.
In Giambattista Basile’s version the king upon finding an empty and abandoned palace, sneaks in through a window using a ladder and searches every room of the house. He finds Talia a.k.a Sleeping Beauty in deep sleep and rapes her. Following this, the king without any hesitation leaves and returns to his palace and Talia becomes pregnant. 9 months later 2 children – a boy and a girl, are born; with sleeping beauty still asleep. The children are taken away to be cared for by fairies. Sleeping beauty was woken up by the babies sucking on her fingers till she woke up. Upon the king’s return, Talia falls in love with him and returns to the palace as his mistress. In Basile’s version, Malificent is not an evil fairy. Rather she was the wife of the king. In an act of revenge and spite, she tried to cook Talia’s children and feed them to the King and tried to throw Sleeping beauty in the fire as well. In the end She was able to save herself by stripping naked in front of the Queen.
- SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS:
In the original Disney story, Snow White is cursed by the Queen after eating a poisonous apple. She is saved from the curse by true love’s kiss of the Prince. Snow White and the Prince marry and live happily ever after.
In the Grimm’s Brothers version, Snow White is saved by the Prince and they both go to the palace to marry and live happily ever after. However the Queen upon hearing this news decides to crash the wedding and kill Snow White herself. Upon realising that it is the Queen, she is caught by the Prince’s guards and is ordered to dance on hot-iron and thereafter dies from excruciating pain.
8. THE LION KING :
Hamlet, one of Shakespeare’s classics is loved and appreciated with much awe and wonder by literary enthusiasts all around the world. The story follows the life of Prince Hamlet, who having returned to the kingdom for his father’s funeral, suspects foul play. Upon returning he realizes that his Uncle, Claudius has married his mother and taken over the rule of the kingdom even though Hamlet was the heir to his father’s throne. When Hamlet is visited by his father’s ghost all his suspicions are confirmed and he realizes that his Uncle, Claudius is the one responsible for his father’s death. He sets out to avenge his father’s death upon his request.
The Lion King was based on the synopsis of this very same classic – Hamlet. Mufasa was the ruling King of the Pride Lands. Unfortunately Simba’s paternal uncle, Scar murders Mufasa and manipulates Simba into believing he is responsible and exiles him. Growing up in the company of his friends – Timon and Pumbaa, Simba discovers his individual sense of identity and returns to avenge his father’s death and reclaim rightful control over the kingdom.
Quite an eye opener, aren’t they?!
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