Hello fellow booklovers!
We all know the classic Disney tales right? Cinderella’s fairy God-mother helps her go to the ball. Snow White is awaken by true loves kiss. And Ariel lives happily ever after with her prince. Well what if I were to tell you that the classic tales you know and love are all a lie?
That’s right ladies and gentlemen! Many of the original versions are quite twisted and dark compared to their Disney counterparts. I don’t know about you but I love a good twisted tale! The more messed up it is, the better.
Sit back and relax as I change the way you’ll see your favorite Disney tales forever (or if you already know it, come reminisce with me!).
The Little Mermaid
The original story starts off similar to the Disney version. The Little Mermaid does see the prince from a ship, madly falls in love with him, and saves him from drowning. She also visits the sea witch and obtains human legs in exchange for her tongue and beautiful voice. However, what the Disney movie failed to mention is she will constantly feel as if she is walking on sharp knives and if she doesn’t marry the prince, she will die and turn into sea foam.
However, the prince ends up falling in love with another, believing she is the one who rescued him. On the day of the wedding, the Little Mermaid’s sisters surface with a dagger given to them by the sea witch in exchange for their beautiful hair. If she kills the prince before dawn, then she will turn back into a mermaid. She couldn’t kill the man she loves so she dives into the sea and turns into sea foam. Instead of ceasing to exist, she turns into a daughter of the air. She is given the chance to earn her own soul by doing good deeds to mankind for 300 years and will one day rise up into the Kingdom of God.
Not exactly like the Disney version is it?
The Disney version is completely different from the Greek tale of Hercules. Hercules was a demi-god, half god and half man. He was the illegitimate child of Zeus and a mortal woman. In Greek Mythology, Hera tormented all of Zeus’s mortal offsprings for revenge for being unfaithful. That’s right, Hades isn’t the villain in this tale, it’s Hera.
As an adult, Hercules marries Megera (but her friends call her Meg, at least they would if she had any friends). In a fit of madness, created by Hera (this is that pink lady we are talking about), Hercules kills Megera and their children. After his madness was cured, Hercules went to the Oracle of Delphi and was directed to serve King Eurystheus. Unbeknownst to him, the Oracle was guided by Hera.
During his servitude to the King, Hercules performed every task that was given to him, which were called the Twelve Labors of Hercules. Most of his labors are shown during the “Zero to Hero” musical number.
The labors included: slay the Nemean Lion, slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra, capture the Golden Hind of Artemis, Capture the Erymanthian Boar, clean the Augean stables in a single day, slay the Stymphalian Birds, capture the Cretan Bull, steal the Mares of Diomedes, obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon, steal the apples of the Hesperides, and capture and bring back Cerberus.
There literally never was a time when Hercules had to fight the Titans or take a dive in the pool of souls to save Megera or had a trainer named Phil.
Note: there is more to his tale but I’ll just say this snippet because that’s kind of what the movie covered.
The Princess and the Frog
Even though the Disney movie is loosely based on the original, I still wanted to tell you guys the original because it’s kind of messed up.
In the tale, the princess reluctantly makes a deal with the frog that he would retrieve her ball from the pond, if she takes him home and lets him eat from her plate and sleep on her bed. However, after getting the ball she leaves him at the pond and goes back to her castle, completely disregarding the bet. While eating dinner, the frog turns up at the castle and tells the King their deal.
The King forces the princess to let him eat from her plate and ordered her to take him to her bed. In the original Grimm version, instead of kissing the frog, the princess grows furious and throws him against the wall!! After that, the frog turns into a prince and marries the princess.
Thankfully, there are multiple versions of this tale with different endings. I guess people decided to rewrite the ending since it was so bizarre. I mean, why would the prince marry that spoiled princess? She threw him against a wall! Why would throwing him against a wall change him back to begin with?
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Honestly, this is one of my favorite Disney movies! It can also be said that this is the darkest movie Disney as ever done. While the movie does touch on themes of sexuality, power and identity, overall the Disney movie is still much lighter and less morally gray than Hugo’s original.
In the book, Quasimodo kidnaps Esmeralda by orders of Claude Frollo. He is caught and punished with flogging and public humiliation. Esmeralda takes mercy on him and gives him water, this opens Quasimodo’s bitter heart. Later on, Esmeralda meets Phoebus in a romantic rendezvous but is stabbed by a jealous, stalking Frollo. Frollo then blames Esmeralda for killing Phoebus and sentence her to hang.
However, Phoebus doesn’t die. Deciding that she’s too much to handle and that there many similar women around town, Phoebus never reveals to Esmeralda that he lives and simply decides to stay away.
Quasimodo then saves Esmeralda from the gallows yelling “sanctuary!” as he swings down from the belltower. He shelters her in Notre Dame, but she is afraid of him and longs for Phoebus. Frollo tells Clopin (the leader of the gypsies) that he will remove Esmeralda’s right for sanctuary. She is rescued by a disguised Frollo and her phony husband, until he eventually leaves her alone with Frollo.
After his failed attempt to win her love, Frollo betrays Esmeralda and hands her to the troops to be hanged, while he watches and laughs from the heights of Notre Dame. Quasimodo then pushes Frollo to his death and then disappears. Years later, a gravedigger finds Quasimodo’s bones wrapped around Esmeralda’s. When he tries to move them their bones crumble in a touching ending.
I think there’s something wrong with me because I kind of like this version better.
And at last you’ll see the truth!!! Sorry bad attempt at a pun. I know Tangled is a loose adaption to the story but I’ll still use it either way.
The Grimm adaption of Rapunzel starts off with a lonely couple who live next to a walled garden belonging to an evil witch named Dame Gothel. One day, the wife starts experiencing a craving for rapunzel (rampion in English). She longs for it desperately to the point of death (dramatic much?). Her husband breaks into the garden of the witch and steals some rapunzel. He eventually gets caught by the witch and gives his baby girl to Gothel in exchange for his life.
Gothel decides to look her up in a tower with no doors or windows. One day a prince wondering about hears Rapunzel singing and instantly falls in love. He returns often until he sees Mother Gothel give the famous “Rapunzel, Rapunzel” line. He waits until the witch leaves and climbs up Rapunzel’s hair. They meet and eventually the prince ask her to marry him and she agrees.
They make a plan to escape but before that plan goes underway, she gives the prince away. In the first edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Rapunzel innocently says that her dress is getting tight around the waist (indicating pregnancy) and in the second edition Rapunzel accidentally asks Gothel why it is easier to bring the prince up than her.
Furious, Mother Gothel cuts Rapunzel’s hair and cast her into the wilderness. She then tricks the prince into climbing up the tower where she tells him that he will never see Rapunzel again. Consumed with grief, the prince jumps from the tower and lands on some thorns which blinds him. For months, the prince wonders around the forest until he hears Rapunzel singing and stumbles upon Rapunzel and the twins she gave birth to. When they fall into each others arms, her tears immediately restore his sight (so yay for that, I guess).
Completely different from Tangled but I can see some similarities other than the whole tower and long hair thing, like Rapunzel’s tears healing the prince.
This tale is admittedly very enchanting but the original version is not.
In this tale, after the birth of a great lord’s daughter it has been said that Sleeping Beauty will be endangered by a splinter of flax. To protect his daughter, the lord demands that no flax be brought into his home. One day, Sleeping Beauty sees an old woman spinning flax and tries to spin it herself, that is until a splinter of flax pricks her and she falls to the ground seemingly dead. Unable to bury her, the King leaves her in one of his country estates.
Later on, a traveling King finds Sleeping Beauty and overcome by her beauty he “lifted her in his arms, and carried her to a bed, where he gathered the first fruits of love”. That’s right, he raped her. Man of the year, everyone! Afterwards, the rapist goes back to his kingdom leaving her unknowingly pregnant. Time passes and Sleeping Beauty gives birth to twins while she’s still unconscious. One of the babies looking for her mothers breast, sucked on the same finger the splinter was and sucked it out. She immediately woke up.
The King returns and she falls in love with him. However, the Queen finds out and kidnaps the children and orders the cook to kill and serve them to the King. As any normal human, the cook couldn’t bring himself to do it so he substituted the kids for lamb. When the King finds out, he sentences the Queen to be burned alive after finding out she wanted to burn his beloved Sleeping Beauty. The cook explains how he had saved the children and was given the title of royal chamberlain as a reward.
So no Maleficent, no fairies and definitely no magic. Just rape and cannibalism, how lovely!
And they all live happily ever after?
Disney has made a lot of movies with old, twisted tales and Disney-fying it to make it more children friendly. Some people like the Disney version while others like the original better. I love them both! Twisted tales are my guilty pleasure but I can’t lie and say that I don’t enjoy the occasional “happy ever after”.
Do you guys enjoy Disney’s version of these tales better? Why or why not? Have you heard of these shocking truths? Which tale shocked you the most (doesn’t have to be from this list)? Comment with your answers! Until next time!
-Janeli (The Underground Bookdom)