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By Nabeela Shaikh in Bookked! - On

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Once upon a time, there were two brothers named Jacob and Wilhelm. They lived in the quaint town of Marburg, Germany. They decided to help a friend who was compiling a book of fairy tales. So they called storytellers from far and wide across the land and plagiarized them by penning down their stories. Then Jacob, the elder brother, established the basic outline for select stories-86 to be exact-while Wilhelm was loaded with the task of rewriting the stories in flowery language and eliminating overtly sexual elements and all. Over the years, stories were added on, Wilhelm took a shit load of work from his brother, and today we have what is called Kinder- und Hausmärchen, or better known as Children’s and Household Tale, as written by the Grimm Brothers.

 

 

Now, boys and girls, you probably think that Disney did a pretty accurate job with the Cinderella movie compared to what you remember hearing as a child. That’s cute, really. Because here’s something no Disney trailer will ever reveal to you about the folk stories they base their multi-billion dollar ventures on: the Grimm stories you know of today are hardly the same nature as those published in 1807. Oh no, those were tales of violence and cannibalism and deviant sexual behavior. And just plain messed up in general.

You know how I mentioned these were originally narrated by storytellers? Well, most of the stories were folktales, passed down from generation to generation; some were local legends while others were plain imagination running wild. How wild, exactly? Here are a few of the most famous tales of today, and what you probably didn’t know about the original version:

Red Riding Hood

This mother’s kid must have had been on crack or something to allow her kid to wander through the forest alone. But anyway, she does, and then the big bad wolf eventually follows her to Grandma’s house, eats Grandma up, eats her up too after Red Riding Hood is too blind to see her grandmother is actually a wolf in old lady’s clothing. Correction: swallows Grandma and Red whole. Because a wolf swallows things whole. And then random woodsman comes to save the day and the damsels in distress.

How it really went down:
Being a folk story like it is, there’s more than one version. One’s nice and short, it stops at the part where Grandma and Red Riding Hood die. And that’s about it.
According to the other earlier version, the Wolf dissects Grandmother and then invites Red in for a meal of her flesh. Oh boy. I sense a Mrs. Hannibal in the making.

 

Snow White

Snow White must be one damn fine-lookin’ girl, considering she got her step-mother to hate her without doing much. The step-mom’s hate goes to the extent where she orders a soldier to kill the little beeyotch and bring back her heart as proof. But the soldier wimps out, Snow White gets to live with seven dudes who are always at her beck and call, is then poisoned by a shiny Washington apple, comatose, kissed by a prince who appears out of nowhere and is brought back to life like Evanescence. And the step-mother dies a very PG-13 death by falling off a cliff. Happily ever after.

How it really went down:
First off, the step-mother asks for the heart (or liver, or lungs, or intestine, depending on the version) not just for proof, but because she wants to - you guessed it - make a midnight snack out of it. So. Much. Cannibalism.

However, Snow White is avenged-ish in the original version; the step-mom is made to dance on red-hot iron shoes till she drops dead.

 

 

 

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty’s another classic. You have your garden-variety princess, the evil witch who curses the young princess because she didn’t make it onto the A-list of the princess’s party. The curse results in the princess to fall into a deep slumber (not like roofies or anything, mind you) for a 100 years when she pricks her thumb.

How it really went down:
The original version of the story mentions a piece of flax which gets lodged under the princess’s nail, causing her to fall into comatose. Now get this, the prince waves his magic wand (if you know what I mean), gets her pregnant and she delivers twins all while she’s asleep. Kind of like The Bride in Kill Bill. But then one of the kids sucks on the mother’s thumb, pulling out the flax and waking up a very, very confused Sleeping Beauty.

 

When initially released in the 1800’s, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which were written with the intent of ‘reflecting Germany’s folklore and beliefs’, were to be interpreted as ‘’warning tales’’ for children during a time when discipline relied on fear- Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel, for example; they were bad, bad children. They were also used as propaganda by Hitler during the Third Reich to foster nationalism. Moral of the story? Don’t believe in fairy tales-of any kind. No really, don’t.

Nabeela Shaikh

Enamoured by Humbert Humbert and Holden Caulfield. Swears by glitter. And nicotine.

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