|My copies of Grimm's and Andersen's fairy tales.|
I am home on a snow day once again. In fact, my entire family is home on snow day, even my husband who is neither a teacher nor a student and does not work in a school. Winter has been more winter than usual this year. We haven't attended a full week of school since before Christmas! (That's including two hour delays.)
Between snow days and other events at my school, we've not had a normal Wednesday schedule for the entire month of January. This stands out to me because there is a 22 minute "activity period" on Wednesday mornings when my student book club, Reading Warriors, meets. We haven't met since two weeks before Christmas! However, it looks like despite not having school today, our administration is going to have activity period in tomorrow's schedule.
What will we be discussing? Fairy tales. The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White to be exact. I know, I know. The first thing that pops into your mind is the pretty Disney Princess motif. Yea, well, ain't nobody got time for that! (Except for The Little Mermaid - I love the songs in that one!) Our fairy tale reads are the real thing. Ummm...well, let's say, they're closer to the original fairy tales. Fairy tales in general have been around for so long that there are multiple versions based on different cultures and it may be that we don't know which versions are the originals, but it should be clear that Disney is not the original. My students and I are reading Andersen and Grimm's fairy tales, some written and some simply compiled by these men in the 1800s.
|Illustration of the sea witch and|
little mermaid in the Andersen collection
There are a few other interesting pieces that Disney changed, and for good reason since their intended audience is small children. The sea witch cuts out the mermaid's tongue to take her voice and she suffers horrendous pain with every movement on her new legs. But it's all for love. And is that the moral of the story? You'll have to read the end, where the little mermaid can choose her life back by sacrificing that of the prince. Let's just say Disney has been giving us happily ever afters that weren't originally imagined. The whole story is only about 20 pages long, so check it out!
On the other hand, if you liked Disney's Sleeping Beauty, then you should thank Disney because they spiced it up, making it a bit more exciting than the original Grimm story. In the original story there are 12 wise women who play the part of the three fairies and Maleficent in Disney's version. And in the original story, Rosamund (aka Rose) is never taken to live in the secluded woods. Everyone lives in the castle as always, Rosamund is tricked into pricking her finger, the entire kingdom falls asleep, and thorns grow up everywhere. Some kings' sons die in the thorns trying to break in over the years. And when 100 years of sleep is up, one king's son walks right in and wakes her with a kiss. They live happily ever after. I'd say Disney improved this one with a dragon battle - make that prince work for his love! Three pages for this one, so at least it wasn't time consuming.
Stay tuned tomorrow, where I'll pick up with Cinderella and Snow White, both of which promise a twist or two from the Disney versions! Are you a fan of Disney or the original fairy tales?