Modern Fairy tales are tame compared to the originals

The iconic fairytale is seen as problematic in regard to what it says about sexual consent. Photo credit: Disney

A mother is urging primary schools in the UK to remove the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty?from their curriculum because she wants them to avoid teaching inappropriate lessons on sexual consent.

The ironic thing, of course, is that all of the fairy stories that Walt Disney brought to the big screen were sanitised to make them suitable for children.

Fairy tales of the past were often full of macabre and gruesome twists and endings. These days, companies like Disney have sanitized them for a modern audience that is clearly deemed unable to cope, and so we see happy endings everywhere. […]

When we think of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ these days we think of her being woken by true love?s kiss. She may not have given consent to the kiss but a chaste peck on the lips is not considered sexual in this day and age. The mother’s reaction is over the top. If schools were teaching the original versions of fairy tales then she might have something reasonable to complain about.

Sleeping Beauty

[…] But alas, the original tale is not so sweet (in fact, you have to read this to believe it.) In the original, the young woman is put to sleep because of a prophesy, rather than a curse. And it isn?t the kiss of a prince which wakes her up: the king seeing her asleep, and rather fancying having a bit, rapes her. After nine months she gives birth to two children (while she is still asleep). One of the children sucks her finger which removes the piece of flax which was keeping her asleep. She wakes up to find herself raped and the mother of two kids.


[…] The fairy tale has its origins way back in the 1st century BC where Strabo?s heroine was actually called Rhodopis, not Cinderella. The story was very similar to the modern one with the exception of the glass slippers and pumpkin coach. But, lurking behind the pretty tale is a more sinister variation by the Grimm brothers: in this version, the nasty step-sisters cut off parts of their own feet in order to fit them into the glass slipper ? hoping to fool the prince. The prince is alerted to the trickery by two pigeons who peck out the step sister?s eyes. They end up spending the rest of their lives as blind beggars while Cinderella gets to lounge about in luxury at the prince?s castle.

Hansel and Gretel

[…] In an earlier French version of this tale (called The Lost Children), instead of a witch we have a devil. Now the wicked old devil is tricked by the children (in much the same way as Hansel and Gretel) but he works it out and puts together a sawhorse to put one of the children on to bleed (that isn?t an error ? he really does). The children pretend not to know how to get on the sawhorse so the devil?s wife demonstrates. While she is lying down the kids slash her throat and escape.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

[…] The original tale (which actually only dates to 1837) has two possible variations. In the first, the bears find Goldilocks and rip her apart and eat her. In the second, Goldilocks is actually an old hag who (like the sanitized version) jumps out of a window when the bears wake her up. The story ends by telling us that she either broke her neck in the fall, or was arrested for vagrancy and sent to the ?House of Correction?.

The Little Mermaid

The 1989 version of the Little Mermaid might be better known as ?The big whopper!? In the Disney version, the film ends with Ariel the mermaid being changed into a human so she can marry Eric. They marry in a wonderful wedding attended by humans and merpeople. But, in the very first version by Hans Christian Andersen, the mermaid sees the Prince marry a princess and she despairs. She is offered a knife with which to stab the prince to death, but rather than do that she jumps into the sea and dies by turning to froth. Hans Christian Andersen modified the ending slightly to make it more pleasant. In his new ending, instead of dying when turned to froth, she becomes a ?daughter of the air? waiting to go to heaven ? so, frankly, she is still dead for all intents and purposes.

Little Red Riding Hood

The version of this tale that most of us are familiar with ends with Riding Hood being saved by the woodsman who kills the wicked wolf. But in fact, the original French version (by Charles Perrault) of the tale was not quite so nice. In this version, the little girl is a well bred young lady who is given false instructions by the wolf when she asks the way to her grandmothers. Foolishly riding hood takes the advice of the wolf and ends up being eaten. And here the story ends. There is no woodsman ? no grandmother ? just a fat wolf and a dead Red Riding Hood. The moral to this story is to not take advice from strangers.