Some of the most iconic stories come from the Grimm brothers, Wilhelm and Jacob. The ones that most people have heard of include “Cinderella,” “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Little Briar-Rose (Sleeping Beauty),” “Rumplestiltskin” and “Snow White.”
What most people don’t realize is that there is so much dark imagery in the tales that is lost in Disney and other renditions. In Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel,” the kids are abandoned in the woods by their abusive stepmother. Did anyone else not know that or is it just me? I always saw the version where the kids just walked into the woods for some random reason and were leaving breadcrumbs, but they still got lost anyway. In the end, the kids outsmart the witch and push her into the oven, where she dies a painful death. The kids then find the witches gems and treasure, which they take with them and live richly with their father. So, in essence, Hansel and Gretel are some of the first young murderers and robbers, but it’s still considered a children’s story.
One story that I’m surprised hasn’t been adapted or more widely told is “Snow-White and Rose-Red.” The Snow White in this story is supposedly an entirely different person than the one we know in Disney, however there are some similarities. The two sisters, Snow White and Rose Red, live with their mother in a cottage. One night, they provide shelter for a bear that needs to get out of the winter cold. The girls become friends with the bear, and every night, the bear comes back to warm himself. When summer comes, the bear must leave to protect his treasure from a dwarf. While walking through the forest in the summer, the girls run into the dwarf several times and must save him from some peril each time, being ungrateful for their help each time. The dwarf runs into the girls again, being chased by the bear that the girls had previously helped. The dwarf pleads with the bear to eat the girls instead, but the bear kills the dwarf and turns into a prince, the dwarf’s curse had lifted. Snow White ends up marrying him and Rose Red marries the prince’s brother.
I feel like this story could be adapted so well and that it could take on so many new dimensions. But it does pretty much seem like the message is “be a good person and be nice to everyone, and you will be rewarded in return in large ways.” I really like the interesting feel of the classic tales in respect to how they’re known today. These tales are definitely recommended to everyone. Until next time, happy reading!
-Lauren Pirc, Assistant Blog Editor