The Oddity Of Fairy Tales

Lately, I was invited to dinner at a friends’ house. Dinner was at 8 pm, and before dinner, she made sure her kids were in bed. She’s an amazing mother and told me, after their good night story they fell asleep quite quickly.

When I hear “good night story,” all alarms are ringing and shrilling in my head, remembering the stories I heard when I was a kid. So I asked her if she tells her kids Grimm’s fairy tales. Her facial expression was priceless. She swallowed her food and asked back: “Do I look sadistic?” I had to laugh… To us, this subject was over and out.

But in my head, I tried to recap what I remember from the fairy tales our parents read to us when we were little.

**********************************

 

The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

The wolf not only threatens the seven little goats but also eats six of them alive since the youngest could get away and tell their mother what happened. The mother grieved but then got the wolf who was too full to do much. While he was sleeping she cut his stomach open and let her six kids out (who were alive!), filled his belly with stones, stitched him up and he drowned when he wanted to drink. – What a happy end.

Holy Smokes: One wolf, swallowing six young goats – whole?

He doesn’t wake up when he’s cut open? And wolves are dangerous. I know, it’s a fairy tale and no reality show.

But hell we were scared to death from wolves. (And for some reason I don’t like goats either – I think they’re kind of dumb, standing there in a row waiting until the wolf swallowed the brother is a little weird). I can’t help myself, to me this doesn’t make sense.

 

**********************************

 

Little Red Riding Hood

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

The girl’s grandmother lives in the woods, right? And she’s sick. What daughter leaves her sick mother in some wooden box out in the forest? And not only that: She sends her young daughter all by herself to visit her grandmother and bring her food! And a wolf eats an entire grandmother. Hungry Beast.
A mother who knows this is a deep dark forest, and there are all kinds of animals and seriously? You are sending your kid out there, all by yourself?

Are you out of your mind?

Worse is that there are mothers telling their kids this fairy tale. Why? In preparation of sending them around, all by themselves? GREAT!

 

**********************************

Hansel and Gretel

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

Dear parents, think about it – do you ever want to tell your kids that you could be too poor to feed them? With this fairy tale, you more or less inform them that, in case money gets rare it could happen you’ll take them into the deepest forest and leave them there!

Additionally, you do tell them that there are really, REALLY ugly old women practicing black magic and threaten to stuff them in preparation to enjoy them as a meal! (I wonder why only the boys, but that’s a detail).

Be prepared that kids think about all kinds of things and the thought will occur that you might not wait until money is rare but try to get rid of them the next chance.

What should I say? At least this time there’s no wolf involved.

**********************************

Little Brother and Little Sister

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

This is probably one of the weirdest fairy tales existing. Siblings who escape from their stepmother and ugly step-sister because they are fed poorly. They run away and go into hiding. Unfortunately, the stepmother has overheard their plans of running away and, being a witch, has bewitched all water holes in the forest. Soon the brother drinks from one and turns into a deer. You get the feeling they’re like six and seven years old when they take off.

But with what happens then I have to admit, I must have been wrong.

The king goes hunting and when the deer/brother hears that he wants to go out. (why in all the world is this dummy going outside in hunting season?) – However, the third day the wounded brother runs back to the hut they’re hiding, followed by the king, who sees the sister, falls in love within a Nano-second and gets married to her.

And then, two sentences later she all of a sudden becomes a mother, then ill, and then stepmother and stepsister become involved again somehow – until the happy end.

Which means, when the siblings took off, they must have been far over 17. And they can’t feed themselves? In the woods, they live off nuts and berries, and there it works? And she says yes to a man who just walked in the door for the first time? She must have been really hungry.

I wouldn’t want to tell this fairy tale to a child. It’s odd and confusing and doesn’t make the slightest sense.

But again: At least this time there’s no wolf involved.

 

**********************************

Sleeping Beauty

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

A young princess who had a bad fairy wishing her that she’d die when turning sixteen, by stinging herself on a golden spindle. Three other fairies, the good ones, can turn death into a 100-year-sleep. That spell can only be broken by either the 100 years or a kiss of true love.

So far so good.

Now: be realistic, a spindle belongs to a spinning wheel. When in all the world does a princess EVER get close to a spinning wheel? She’s a princess; she’s got nothing to do there. For a while I considered my mother planned to sell me as a slave to a wool company. But at the time I grew up machines had largely replaced the common spinning wheel I doubt I was in real danger.

I was told that this poor girl, turning sixteen, fell asleep for – forever. And the castle was closed down and locked in by thorn bushes. Many men have cut and stung themselves to death by trying to get through and to the princess.

No wonder I’m completely screwed up when it comes to men! When hearing this fairy tale, I must have gotten the impression a man would give his life to get to a woman. I could think a guy would really fighting his way through thorn bushes but losing his life trying. And then I thought a man is walking into a room seeing a woman sleeping there and kissing her awake could really offer her a kiss of true love!? No wonder I got a completely surrealistic ‘enemy-image.’

**********************************

Cinderella

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

Even when I was little, I had problems to believe parts of that story. A fairy? Birds? Doves? A tree? Gold and silver? And how on Earth can anyone walk in a glass shoe?

To match the shoe, both stepsisters cut parts of their feet off. I mean: can anyone really be this hell-bent on getting a prince? (Let’s say: remember Prince Charles? Thinking about him really make me feel the need of cutting of something – but I guarantee, that aren’t parts of me.) And how can any mother tell her little daughter that there are women cutting parts of their own body off to get married? Would I consider this teaching your little girl the total self-abandonment?

I’m not really sure where this story came from, but it seemed around the time brothers Grimm were alive, women did whatever necessary to lay hands on a man.

A very similar fairy tale exists in the Czech Republic, Tři oříšky pro Popelku (Three hazelnuts for Cinderella), written originally by Božena Němcová. In the 70s this fairy tale was turned into a movie, and I like it by far better than the Grimm-version. And just in case you’re curious: It does exist in English and does not scare children to death. Just click here

 

**********************************

Snow White

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

A poor princess girl, treated badly? – Check. A bad, horrible stepmother being a terrible witch and queen? – Check. Magic? – Check. A prince trying to save the princess? – Check. All there for a horribly great fairy tale. I just think there are a few odd things in this story. Let’s start with the name of the main character. Who in all the world names her daughter “Snow White”? That’s not a name; it’s a color.

Second: The description of the princess: skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony, lips as red as rose. This description scared me as a child already! It’s unnatural. Nowadays I suspect the girl must have been a vampire. But that’s only a detail. (The story does not say she sparkled in the sun though.)
Third: You tell your kid about that poisonous fruit, and you guarantee your daughter or son are making sure they steer clear of apples from that moment on. – Hey – you never know, right?

And last but not least: Are you going to tell your child it’s not only ‘okay’ to run off from home, but then you move in with seven single guys? Nice role model, I have to say.

 

**********************************

 

I know there are so many more fairy tales. But I figure I just picked the best known here not to end up writing a 6 feet blog post.

Are there any oddities in fairy tales you know – or heard as a child? Please, share them with us.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “The Oddity Of Fairy Tales

  1. As World War 11 was raging when I was little, I was evacuated. Dad was serving in France and Mum was working away in the munitions factory. My lovely aunt was too busy. So – aged seven -. I joined the local library in Wales and read every book I could lay my hands and eyes on, including all the Brothers Grimm stories, etc.,Many nights I had nightmares but seem to have grown up and survived OK!! (I think…) We do seem to enjoy being frightened! Just think what horrors are on the market today, including DVDs that are gross…Hey ho. (Thanks for that anyway.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aurora, did you know that Grimmes Fairytales were not actually written for children but were very adult in their nature with details that would have had an R rating if written today, or made into a movie. And the rhymes that we all grew up with, like Humpty Dumpty, Little Jack Horner, Little Miss Muffet, etc., were all satirically written about actual people (mostly nobility). When my sons were in Boy Scouts, I had to do a study of these for one of their projects and found out. The origin of holidays is another study I did that was a real eye opener.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon – I had written a couple more blog posts here about Grimms’ Fairy Tales. I know these facts. And that’s not what I’m ‘complaining’ about. I’m more surprised that our parents really felt it was okay reading these stories to us?!
      I always thought parents try to protect their children, not scare them to f*&%$ing death…

      Like

  3. I had found out similar information that Sharon had too. It is rather mind boggling how desensitizing has gone on for eons. (That’s my take on it.) We keep pushing the limits, strange people that we are. But you know what I remember most? The artwork. The stories were usually so beautifully drawn. I have one book to this day, Dean’s Gift Book of Fairy Tales, that is gorgeous. I think that’s where my love of illustrating came to life. Thanks for the read, it was most enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, a lot of those older tales in their ‘original’ form are pretty damn dark. Luckily I was born warped and have never been straightened out by anyone. Thanks for reminding me to go back an enjoy my twisted childhood all over again. Wheeeee…. (pls note: all this was said sarcastically, and now I’m going to hide under the bed for a week due to childhood flashbacks).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this and it is so true. I’m not advertising here promise, but I wrote Unhappily Ever After as spoof on the age old fairy tales, telling what happened after that ball – life as it really was. But how we ever got to tell these stories to little children I shall never know!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I don’t think we should. Children will discover early enough how reality looks like.
      Even though I didn’t find too good words about Cinderella, I still think it’s one of the harmless ones, if censored a bit, tickling a girl’s fantasy and why shouldn’t she dream?

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s