Disney has captivated many children across several generations with their heart-warming and value-enriched fairytales of princesses and their version of a knight in shining armor. But did you know that the original versions of these fairytales weren’t written with a happy ending?
The Brothers Grimm’s version of Cinderella had a morbid ending. Cinderella’s stepsisters mutilated their feet so they would fit the glass slipper. The prince discovered their bloody feet, and Cinderella had them blinded when she became queen.
The Cinderella Stories
Cinderella is one of the best-known fairytales of all time, but the version we all grew up with was not the original story. The earliest form of the folktale was first recorded by a Greek geographer in the first BC. Strabo documents the oral tale of Rhodophis and Her Little Gilded Sandals. (Source: Pook Press)
The story depicts a Greek slave girl who eventually marries the King of Egypt. The report has been recorded in different civilizations across history. But Disney based its depiction on Charles Perrault’s fairy tale Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de Verre which translates to The Little Glass Slipper.
There were minimal revisions to Perrault’s story. In Disney’s version, there was only one ball, while in Perrault’s version, there were two balls, and it was on the second ball where Cinderella loses her glass slipper. When Cinderella is revealed, her stepfamily asks for forgiveness, and she agrees, leading to happily ever after.
However, another version of the princess was written by German linguists and authors known as the Brothers Grimm. Their version took a rather dark and morbid turn. The brothers wrote that the two stepsisters mutilated their feet for the slipper to fit, as they desired to be with the prince. (Source: Screen Rant)
One stepsister cut off her toes while the other lashed her heel to fit into the tiny glass slipper. However, two of Cinderella’s pigeons told the prince about the blood feet of her stepsisters. The prince finally realized that the true owner of the slipper is Cinderella.
Upon realizing they would have to seek Cinderella’s forgiveness, the sisters attended her wedding. But instead of being forgiven by Cinderella, she had their eyes pecked out. (Source: Huff Post)
Other Disney Princesses’ Original Stories
Disney remade several other folktales filled with feel-good endings and often injected with moral lessons. But more often than not, the original works depicting these tales had darker plots and endings. Here are a few stories with different elements compared to its Disney versions. (Source: Huff Post)
The original story was written by the Italian author Giambattista Basile in the 1500s. Basile’s tale tells its readers that the king raped Sleeping Beauty when he found her sleeping in her castle. Sleeping Beauty gave birth to twins, and when the king found out, he went to her court, and they fell in love. The only problem is that the king is still married to the queen. The queen devised a plan to have the twins killed, cooked, and fed to the king. She also tried to burn Sleeping Beauty at the stake, but both plans didn’t work. (Source: Huff Post)
Beauty and the Beast
According to its original writer Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, the tale of Beauty and the Beast received a few changes when Disney adapted it. In the original story, Beauty had two wicked sisters. They were extremely jealous of Belle’s luxurious life with Beast. When Belle visited her family, the Beast specifically asked her to remain for a week. But upon learning that, the sisters did all they could to make Belle stay longer than a week, hoping that it would enrage Beast and eat Belle upon her return. (Source: Huff Post)