The Grimm Brothers
Yesterday I posted about my student book club, the Reading Warriors, and our newest adventure in reading. We've been looking at the real fairy tales from the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Andersen. Yesterday's post discussed The Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty. Today I have prepared Cinderella and Snow White!
Grimm's Cinderella starts out differently than Disney's in that Cinderella's father is alive throughout the story! I can't fathom why he allows the stepmother and sisters treat her so horribly - no explanation is given. Also, the ball is three nights long and each time Cinderella goes, she asks for a dress of silver and gold from the tree and birds at her mother's grave. A fairy-god mother does not appear other than the idea of the mother watching over her from above. Each night of the ball, Cinderella runs away from the prince; however, unlike the Disney version where everything will turn back into usual at midnight, Cinderella has no reason to run away. The third night is the night when she loses the gold slipper and the prince declares he will marry the lady who fits the slipper.
This is where the Grimm version gets grim. The stepsisters' feet won't quite fit, so the stepmother tells the first one to cut off her toe, she won't need it to walk as a queen anyway. The shoe then fits and the prince almost falls for it until he sees the blood flowing from the shoe. The second sister is told to cut off her heel to make the shoe fit and once again the prince catches on just in time. Like in the Disney version, Cinderella has many animal helpers in Grimm's story, mostly birds who bring the dresses and warn the prince that he has the wrong girl, making him take notice of the bloody shoes. The birds also play a part in the last scene, when Cinderella is married and the sisters walk with her during the festivities, the birds come and peck out the stepsisters' eyes, making them go blind for their wrongdoings. Seven pages makes for quick reading and it may seem morbid, but that would be a good one to watch!
Much like Sleeping Beauty in yesterday's post, Disney's version of Snow White is pretty close to the original Grimm story. One small difference is Snow White's age. In the Grimm tale she is seven, while the Disney version implies she's at least mid-teens. Another difference is that in the Grimm tale, the evil queen disguises herself three times and tries to kill Snow White: once with tightly tied lace, once with a poison comb in her hair, and last with the poison apple, which is the only one we see in Disney's version. The only big difference is the way in which Snow White awakes after the poison apple - and for some it may be a deal breaker! At seven pages, this one is also a quick read to find out the slight and yet important change at the end.
So, even the original stories have some happily ever afters...just has to be figured out the hard way. Which original fairy tales do you wonder about?