Blood, Death and Princesses

untitledPut your hands up if all three little pigs made it through the story alive. This is apparently the most popular outcome of the classic tale. It seems that in most versions the wolf blows down the straw house and the pig inside runs to the stick house. When the stick house goes down they both run the brick one. I was told a different story. When the wolf blows down the straw house the pig inside is violently ripped apart and eaten by the wolf. These were my fairy tales. They were violent, deadly and vicious. These are the true tales that were told for centuries before Disney got his grubby paws on them and made them nice.

Some of you may be wondering how a fairy tale can be violent. Well, let’s look at a few examples. The evil queen in Snow White is eventually captured. At Snow’s wedding the queen is forced into a pair of metal shoes that are heated until they’re red hot and the guests laugh and clap as she dances till she dies. The step sisters in Cinderella cut of their toes and chunks of their heels to fit into the glass slippers and at Cinderella’s wedding they have their eyes pecked out by birds. Sleeping beauty doesn’t get woken by a kiss. She get’s raped by the king and has two children while still asleep. One of the babies sucks the finger that touched the spindle and she wakes up. Still want to read your kids fairy stories?

These stories are there to teach children that they should be afraid of the dark and at the time, they absolutely should have been! In the dark ages when these tales were written there was a lot more to be worried about. Don’t stray from the path my dear… 4g won’t be invented for 600 years and your iPhone isn’t traceable. Don’t go into strangers houses my dear… As there’s no real justice system and if they kill you for trespassing it will start a blood feud. Don’t talk to wolves my dear…. well that’s ones just bloody obvious. Fairy tales are the ultimate survival guide as well as a way to scare kids silly. The characters in them become examples of what happens if you break the rules. Snow white doesn’t just fall for the Queens trick once, but three times. It drills in the message that you really shouldn’t invite strangers into your house. Especially if someone’s already trying to kill you and knows magic!

By now you’ve probably ripped up every children’s book in the house and are about to set fire to the Disney collection. Well don’t! the moral messages in these stories are fantastic. How many times do we tell our children not to talk to strangers, that they should be kind and generous, that they shouldn’t take what’s not theirs. Fairy tales embed these messages further. If you stick to the Disney versions and watch everyone have a happy ending after acting like fools then it doesn’t work. People get punished for stupidity and cruelty in the same way they do in the real world. Stick to the classic tales from time to time. Your kids will love the violence and learn a thing or two at the same time.

The best ones to look for are The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and Charles Perrault. These three authors worked magic in their stories. If you want specific reads then look for the Bird, the Mouse and the Sausage by the Grimm’s. The Tinderbox by Anderson and Sleeping Beauty by Perrault. Maybe have a read through them before reading them to your kids. I was read them as a child though and I turned out fine. Right?….Right?

 

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