Saturday, May 14, 2011

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5: Most Gruesome Children's Stories

        Everybody's heard of stories like Hansel and Gretel or Cinderella, but they usually don't know about the story's origins. Many of these were made in difficult times, and were told to children to teach them moreales about not being alone in the woods or to go out at night. Let's go over some of them.

5: Little Red Riding Hood:
        This story was retold and sanitized by the brothers Grimm. The original story goes like this: "A girl with a red hood is walking by the forest. She asks a wolf for directions to her grandmother's. The wolf lies to her and the girl ends up being eaten. The end." There was no woodsman, no grandmother, nothing. The moral was not to take advice from strangers. There are versions in which the "grandmother" prepares a meal for the little girl, which is actually her grandmother. Of course, Riding hood cannibalizes her granny without even knowing it. The Grimm were the first to actually have a woodsman save the girl and her grandmother.

4: Snow White:
        Everybody knows this one because of Disney. The way Snow White was born and named, how her stepmother tried to have her killed and how she found a house with seven dwarfs. There, she bites a poisonous apple, gets waked up by a prince and lives happily ever after. Who the hell wrote this? Again, the brothers Grimm. In the original story, the huntsman ordered to kill White brought the heart of a deer, instead of Snow's heart. The dwarfs were also thieves and robbers. In the end, Snow White marries the prince, and her stepmother went to the wedding. She was executed by being given red-hot metal shoes and being forced to dance to death.

3: Sleeping Beauty:
        A beautiful princess gets her finger pricked with an enchanted needle which makes her sleep until her true love goes to kiss her. Then she gets kissed and lives happily ever after. End. All right, so how was the middle-ages version of this one? In the original, she's put to sleep by a profecy, not a curse. A prince gets into the castle, yes, but doesn't kiss her. Wanting some, he rapes her, and nine months later, she has babies. A baby then suckles a piece of flax off her finger (which was what was keeping her asleep) and she wakes up, surprised. Also, she slept for a full century. Talk about lazy.

2: Hansel and Gretel:
        Ah, the two kids in the woods, with the bread crumb trail, and that witch that wanted to eat Hansel. A good story, with a sort of ambiguous moral. Popularized by the brothers Grimm, it tells the story of two kids who outwit a witch. Hansel was locked in a cage, and outwitted the witch by giving her a bone to touch, and as the dumb b*tch was blind, she thought it was his finger. After a while, she decides she's hungry enough to eat Hansel. In the original story, it was a devil, who builds them a sawhorse so they can bleed. The kids pretend they don't know how to get on it, so his wife demonstrates. In the end, they slice her throat and escape. There were some parallels of this story and the holocaust, though it was written in the Middle Ages. For example, the witch dies in an oven, compared to the killing of the Juden, and the parents' abandomnent of their children is compared to the Final Solution. In another version, the stepmom sends the children to her sister, Baba Yaga.

1: Cinderella:

        Of course, everybody knows this one. What you don't know is that the original one was made about 100 B.C. It's similar to the modern one, except for some parts, like where the stepsisters try the glass slippers on, they cut off parts of their own feet to get them in. Two pigeons then peck out their eyes. They end up living as blind beggars while cinderella stays with the prince. Happily ever after.

        So, we went through some of the most grotesque children's stories ever. So, the next time you tell them to your kids, tell them about the original version, and see their reaction.