Last time I did Little Red Riding Hood, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Puss in Boots, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Little Mermaid, and the Girl Without Hands. Of course, these aren’t the only tales we know but I have a few more to go over in this one. Still, many people would say that fairy tales are merely stories for children and are rather G rated. Yet, what most parents don’t realize is that many of them contain a lot of family unfriendly material like sex, violence, and creepy features. So without further adieu, here are even more familiar fairy tales with their original versions.
How You Know It: Toymaker makes wooden puppet boy who comes to life and would be a real boy if he is good. Unfortunately, Pinocchio is kind of mischievous and gets into all sorts of trouble but his nose grows when lies while he sees bad boys being turned into donkeys and sold to the circus. After saving Geppetto from a fish, he shapes up and becomes a real boy.
The Original Version: Based on the 1883 book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Italian Carol Collodi. While Pinocchio was mischievous in the movie, he’s far so in the source material where he runs away as soon as he could walk. He’s found by police who put Geppetto in prison on suspicion on abuse. Oh, and the talking cricket who warns him of the dangers on hedonistic pleasures and obedience, Pinocchio kills him (sorry, Jiminy). When Geppetto is released, he insists Pinocchio go to school but the living puppet sells his schoolbooks for a ticket to a puppet show where he encounters a fox and a cat who steal his money and try to rob him.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
How You Know It: Fashion obsessed Emperor is swindled by two “weavers” (con artists) who offer to make him a set of new clothes with a special material that would only be invisible to complete idiots. Emperor thinks this would help him find out who in his court is unworthy for their position and gives them permission. Nobody makes a fuss regardless of whether they believe those two crooks until the Emperor decides to parade in his new “outfit” in which a child points out that he is naked.
The Original Version: Written by Hans Christian Andersen but while illustrated adaptations usually have the Emperor in his underwear, the original version makes it clear he was probably completely nude. Oh, and he still goes on with the procession even the kid speaks about the Emperor not having any clothes on. Still, this may be based on an old Spanish tale from the Middle Ages yet the king is cheated by “weavers” who claim to make clothes that would be invisible to anyone who’s not a son of the guy’s presumed father.
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
How You Know It: Kids receive a toy nutcracker for Christmas by their godfather Drosselmeier. One of the kids breaks but is later repaired with the young girl swearing to be its nurse before going to bed. That night the nutcracker comes alive and thanks to the girl, is able to overcome his foes (such as the mouse royal family) and eventually kills them before transforming into a handsome prince. He then takes her to show his doll kingdom.
The Original Version: It’s an 1816 German tale by author E.T. A. Hoffman and his version is much creepier than the one you’d see at the ballet around Christmas time. In this tale, the girl is named Marie who’s seven and the nutcracker is actually Drosselmeier’s nephew transformed by an evil mouse queen’s curse for 7 years. And he’s at least in his early teens. Also, the sadistic Mouse King has seven heads, visits her three times, eats sugar dolls, and makes Marie surrender all her candy and toys to him or else he’ll destroy the nutcracker. Then there’s the mice biting a princess and turns her into a monster but, too. Oh, and after the tour Marie wakes up in her own bed and tells her parents of the whole thing the next day who don’t believe her and forbid her to speak about it again (even though she has the Mouse Kings 7 crowns to show for it). Yet, Marie goes to the nutcracker and vows that she’d love him if he was real, even if he was ugly which breaks the curse and he asks her to marry him. She accepts and after a year, the nutcracker prince/king takes her to the doll kingdom where she is crowned queen.
The Princess and the Pea
How You Know It: A prince wants to marry a real princess and tries to find one to no avail. One night, a young woman claiming to be a real princess seeks shelter from a storm. The queen suggest she test her by placing a pea on a bedstead and piling 20 mattresses and feather beds on top of it. There the young woman spends the night. The next morning she tells her hosts she endured a sleepless night being kept awake by something hard on her bed. The prince rejoices since the young woman was found to be a princess. They marry and live happily ever after.
The Original Version: Written by Hans Christen Andersen who claimed to have heard it as a child but it has never been a traditional tale in Denmark. It might’ve been in Sweden but that version used seven peas. Also, in Andersen’s version, the pea was said to have bruised the princess.
How You Know It: Rich widower asks young woman to marry him. After the wedding, he gives her a set of keys to every room in the mansion with the stipulation that she never ever use to golden key to open a certain room in the house. While her husband is on a business trip, the woman naturally gets bored and increasingly curious about this particular room that she does. And to her shock, she finds the blood spattered bodies of all Bluebeard’s former wives he murdered for money as well as a basin full of blood. She flees in horror but when her husband returns, he finds out one way or the other, and threatens to kill her, too. Woman gets saved at last minute (whether by her family or the authorities).
The Original Version: The most familiar version is from the 17th century author Charles Perrault which is based on an old French folk tale which may have been inspired by a true story relating to a friend of Joan of Arc (yes, that Joan) named Giles de Rais who was also a famous 15th century serial killer (yet he killed children just for the heck of it not wives for money). Still, in the Perrault version, the woman actually escapes and ends marrying a better guy. Though the author tried to make the Bluebeard story about how curiosity is a flaw as well as could ruin a perfectly good marriage if a wife sticks her nose in her husband’s affairs, he kind of failed miserably considering that Bluebeard’s dark secret consisted of brutally murdered wives in a torture cellar.
There’s an English version called “Mr. Fox” that was cited in a play by William Shakespeare. This one has the heroine actually witness the villain murdering his previous bride and confronting him at the pre-wedding breakfast with the severed hand of that unfortunate lady and is saved by her relatives and suitors. There’s also a second Grimm Brothers variant in called “Fitcher’s Bird that says that the heroine was only wrong in that she got caught. Of course, she also finds her sisters’ bodies in a way her husband can’t detect and ultimately comes out on top.
The Tortoise and the Hare
How You Know It: Hare ridicules tortoise that he can outrun him in any race chiefly due to obvious biological differences. The tortoise challenges to a race to prove it. The next day, the hare is so confident in his natural ability that he shows off by messing around the entire race. Finds out later that the tortoise ended up ahead of him and wins.
The Original Version: This is one of Aesop’s fables from Ancient Greece, which had the hare actually take a nap halfway through before realizing that the tortoise had beat him. Still, there’s a version by the Grimm Brothers that replaces the tortoise with a hedgehog who has a bet with the hare that whoever wins gets a bottle of brandy and a gold coin. Oh, and the hedgehog cheats by having his wife dress up as him and hide at the finish line only to come up before the hare just crosses it. Being a sore loser, the hare challenges the hedgehog again and they start at the finish line. The hedgehogs pull the same trick. The hare keeps challenging the hedgehog more than 70 times (with the hedgehogs winning through the same trick each time). That is, until the 74th time when a blood vessel bursts in the hare’s throat and he collapses at the middle of the racetrack, gurgling his last confused breaths while drowning in his own blood.
The Red Shoes
How You Know It: Girl gets a red pair of shoes, can’t stop dancing to take them off, and dies.
The Original Version: Based on a story by Hans Christen Andersen. Still, she’s brought in by a rich lady who gives her a pair of shoes. Yet, being the materialistic brat she is, she remains obsessed with the shoes. Yet, of course when she starts dancing at a party (when her adoptive mom is ill) she just can’t stop as if the shoes have a life of their own. Of course, this really has a negative effect of her life that she can’t attend her adoptive mother’s funeral. Oh, and there’s an angel that condemns her to dance even after she dies as a warning to kids everywhere. The girl begs for mercy but the red shoes take her away before the angel could say anything else. She then has an executioner cut of her feet, yet that doesn’t do the trick for the shoes continue to dance before her. Eventually the angel gives the girl mercy she asked for and her heart bursts so she’s taken up to heaven.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
How You Know It: Kid magician apprentices for a sorcerer but he’s stuck with mopping the floor instead using no magic. When his master’s away, the boy enchants a broom to do the work for him (using magic in which he’s not fully trained). The floor is soon covered in water and the apprentice realizes he can’t stop the broom because he doesn’t know how. He splits the broom with an ax but new brooms form from the pieces and each take a pail fetching water at twice the speed. Sorcerer comes back at the last minute to save the day.
The Original Version: Though remembered as a Disney sequence from Fantasia, it’s from an 18th century poem by Goethe, but the sorcerer isn’t as angry in that. Also, there’s an Ancient Roman version to this as well by Lucian from 150 AD. Yet, the master is actually an Egyptian priest called Pancrates and the role in the apprentice is the guy’s friend Eucrates who thinks he could cause some magic after just eavesdropping on his companion. Yet, the implement here is a pestle.
The Snow Queen
How You Know It: Magical winter queen kidnaps young boy named Kai and takes him to her castle and makes him forget about his home. Girl named Gerda makes long hard journey to save him, with the help of a robber girl and her animal friends, a princess, a couple old ladies, and others.
The Original Version: Written by Hans Christian Andersen. Sure people think Frozen is based on this but it’s a bit of a stretch (it was originally going to be an adaptation but it didn’t work out that way). Still, the Snow Queen in the Hans Christian Andersen tale bears more resemblance to the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia series with the exception that she’s not an evil person. Besides, Kai willingly stays with her and she’s willing to let him leave if he once though he has to accomplish an almost impossible task. Also, the story has a prequel with an evil troll (who’s actually Satan) makes a magic mirror of cynicism, it slips from his grasp and shatters into a billion pieces. One of those hits Kai in the heart and eye (before the Snow Queen kidnaps him though even with a frozen heart, he still lives but it takes Gerda’s tears to thaw him). Not to mention, there’s a lot of Christian subtext in this story which many adaptations leave out.