Monstrosity and Morality: Controversial Evolution of 35 Fairy Tales

1Fiery Iron Shoes

Fiery Iron Shoes

In the original German ending of the fairy tale "Snow White," the evil queen is compelled to wear red-hot iron shoes and dance until she succumbs to death.

2. Beauty and the Beast was written in 1740 as a critique of the prevalent practice of forced marriages between young girls, aged 13 to 15, and adult men during that time. Subsequent versions shifted the focus to teaching young girls "good manners and how to navigate the idea of marrying young and being in an arranged marriage."

3. In Basile's rendition of the ancient fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty," a wandering king discovers Sleeping Beauty asleep in her castle and engages in a sexual encounter with her. He then leaves her behind, and she later gives birth to twins while still asleep. Only upon waking does she realize that she has become a mother.

4. One of the earliest versions of the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood" initially depicted the Big Bad Wolf and the title character devouring her grandmother together. The wolf then coerces Little Red Riding Hood to undress and lie naked beside him.

5. Prior to Disney's adaptation of "Cinderella," the Brothers Grimm version of the story featured the stepsisters mutilating their own feet to fit into the slipper. They manage to fool the prince momentarily, but two magical doves reveal their bloody feet to him. Later, when Cinderella becomes queen, she has the doves blind both stepsisters.

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6Frog's Forceful Break

Frog's Forceful Break

In the original version of "The Princess and the Frog" by the Brothers Grimm, the princess doesn't kiss the frog to transform it into a prince. Instead, she hurls the frog against a wall with great force, breaking the curse and restoring the frog to its princely form.

7. In the original "Little Mermaid" novel, the mermaid experiences constant excruciating pain, feeling as if she is walking on sharp knives with her newly acquired legs. The prince, for whom she dances despite the agony, eventually marries someone else, leading the mermaid to take her own life.

8. In the original 1812 version of "Rapunzel," Gothel discovers Rapunzel's visitor in the tower because Rapunzel's pregnancy is causing her clothes to become tighter. This element was deemed inappropriate for children and subsequently removed from later editions.

9. The original ending of "Pinocchio" was intended as a cautionary tale, with the young puppet facing execution by hanging from a tree for his misdeeds. Additionally, in the original novel, Pinocchio spends several months as a donkey, performing in a circus until he breaks his leg, gets sold, and ultimately drowns in the ocean. However, the puppet inside survives, trapped in the form of a dead donkey, until a school of fish devours the decaying flesh.

10. In the original story of "Peter Pan," the Lost Boys do age, even in Neverland. The reason the group always consists of children is because, if they don't die by other means (which is common), Peter "thins them out." The author never clarifies whether this implies execution or banishment.