How Disney Sanitized Fairy Tales That Were Originally Horror Stories

As kids we listen to fairytales and those
stories stay with us for the rest of our lives. In any given year movies are made about these
stories, and while they can get a bit dark they are usually very child-friendly. But what if we told you that the origins of
these stories are brutal? What if you learned that your favorite fairy
tale was based on something absolutely horrific? Well, that’s often the truth. Little Red Riding Hood
So, we all know the story about the girl who is fooled by a wolf. It’s rather grim, but as kids we get through
it. In a book called “Sons of Cain” about
serial killers penned by Peter Vronsky he writes about how crazed killers in the past
were sometimes accused of being werewolves. These were especially brutal murders so society
at times said a monster of a man must be behind them. Werewolves were taken seriously, and quite
a few people were convicted of being one. Many people back then just couldn’t see
how anything but a monster could do such terrible things. What we are saying is that this story could
have been based on crazed maniacs. Little Red Riding was written shortly Europe’s
werewolf epidemic from 1450 to 1650. We saw the first printed version in 1697,
although there would be many versions. In this first version the girl is seduced
by the wolf, takes off all her clothes, and is basically savaged by the wolf and dies. Vronsky calls it a “dark and vile horror
story.” In other versions the girl is likely based
on a person who sells her own body. Some scholars believe that the moral of the
story is don’t do this or you will get ripped apart by a wolf. It’s a dark cautionary tale. While in other versions the grandmother is
cut up into small pieces, her blood is drained and turned into a kind of wine, and the girl
is tricked into eating and drinking her and so becomes a cannibal. The language is so strong in that version
that we won’t utter it today. In yet another versions the girl plays along
with the wolf and let’s just say the story has a very sexual slant. She actually does a striptease for the wolf
in one of the stories. She also goes to bed with the wolf and before
she is brutally killed by him, he has his wicked way with her. Vronsky writes that over the years we had
to sanitize the story because the depravity of Little Red Riding Hood just didn’t sit
well with more modern folks. As you will see, we cleaned up a lot of fairytales. Sleeping Beauty
The 17th century version of this story has been called by some people “deeply disturbing.” You all know the version which involves a
curse sending a woman into an eternal sleep and a handsome prince coming to her aid. Well, the original is slightly more horrific. In a 17th century version written by a famous
fairytale writer called Charles Perrault, the beautiful woman is pretty much attacked
in her sleep. The man has her way with her. In another version the same happens to the
unfortunate woman, and these are some of the lines:
“Crying aloud, the king beheld her charms and felt his blood course hotly through his
veins. He lifted her in his arms, and carried her
to a bed, where he gathered the first fruits of love.” We think you can understand what actually
happened in that scene, and it’s not something you’ll see in a Disney movie. In that same version she falls pregnant and
has two kids in her sleep. The babies then suck on Sleeping Beauty’s
fingers to try and wake her, and when she does wake from her coma she has more trouble. The king then comes back and he wants the
kids he helped make. He is married, though, to an evil woman. She doesn’t much like the fact her cheating
husband goes to get these kids, at least in one version, and she orders that the kids
be killed and then fed to her wretched husband. She does this, and all the while the king
does not know what he is eating. As he chomps down on the food the queen tells
him, “Eat, eat, you are eating of your own.” Lots more happens that you just couldn’t’
show to kids today, such as the Queen trying to burn Sleeping Beauty to death, or Sleeping
Beauty taking off all her clothes. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
We hate to burst your bubble, but this story also has some pretty dark origins. It’s likely based on the life of a Bavarian
noblewoman in the 16th century called Margarete von Waldeck. She was famed for her beauty and at a young
age was sought after by many noblemen. But the story takes shape, according to some
scholars, because of child labor. Let us explain. Her father owned a copper mine and in that
mine little children were sent to work. They were the only ones small enough to do
the job. The labor was very hard and it’s said this
deformed some of those kids. So, we have a beautiful woman and a load of
deformed little kids doing hard labor. All these kids lived in one house and they
often wore bright hoods. Some of them understandably didn’t like
the dangerous work, and it’s said that if any of them got on the wrong side of their
employers they would be poisoned with nightshade. That’s where the poisoned apple comes from. Margarete died at age 21, and it is suspected
that she was poisoned. It’s said her father, who was the King of
Spain, opposed her love affair and so he sent assassins to kill her. But even the Brothers Grimm version of this
story is really dark. Here is some text from that:
“Finally she summoned a huntsman and said to him, ‘Take Snow White out into the woods
to a remote spot, and stab her to death. As proof that she is dead bring her lungs
and her liver back to me. I shall cook them with salt and eat them.” This gives an entirely new meaning to evil
queen. Snow White gets her revenge on the evil queen,
though, and this is how she did it: “They put a pair of iron shoes into the
fire until they glowed, and she had to put them on and dance in them. Her feet were terribly burned, and she could
not stop until she had danced herself to death.” Pinocchio
The original version of Pinocchio was written by a man called Carlo Collodi. He never had kids and it’s said that he
hated them. In his version all the kids in the story and
terrible, greedy, the worst things on Earth except for the naughty protagonist Pinocchio. Experts say the bad behavior of the puppet
and all the other kids in the story is not supposed to be endearing. It is a warning that kids are little devils,
which at this time in history a lot of people really believed. In one version he wrote the puppet is strung
up and hanged on a tree. You can see just how much this man hated children. This is some text from the hanging of Pinocchio:
“A tempestuous northerly wind began to blow and roar angrily, and it beat the poor puppet
from side to side, making him swing violently, like the clatter of a bell ringing for a wedding. And the swinging gave him atrocious spasms.” Yep, that’s not exactly child-friendly. The moral of the story is that if you are
naughty you will be tortured and then murdered, so this is quite extreme reading. Pinocchio is just not nice at all. He is a proper little rascal, and he kills
the talking cricket with a hammer. He often gets beat for his naughtiness, with
the writer saying after one transgression the puppet is tortured and is “so giddy
with pain that stars of every color danced before his eyes.” In other scenes he is humiliated and faces
greater pains. It reads like the Marquis de Sade but for
children. This is basically a very extreme cautionary
tale and it is no doubt a story of sadism. They didn’t have PTSD back then, well, at
least they didn’t have a term for it, but we imagine after reading this story a lot
of kids suffered from it. You might have seen some of our other shows
in which we referenced author Steven Pinker’s book on historical violence called, “The
Better Angels of our Nature.” Pinker details how before we had children’s
rights the “little devils” grew up amid a lot of violence. The story of Pinocchio stands as a testament
to that. Little Jack Horner
This is such a nice nursery rhyme. Here it is:
“Little Jack Horner Sat in the corner,
Eating his Christmas pie; He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum, And said, “What a good boy am I!” What could possibly be dark about that? Well, some people think it was based on a
guy called Thomas Horner. He was the steward of a man who was the last
abbot of Glastonbury before King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in England. The abbot’s name was Richard Whiting. As the story goes, Whiting sent Horner to
London to meet the king. With him was a great big pie and hidden in
the pie were the deeds to lots of country manors. Whiting didn’t want the king to nationalize
the church lands. The gift was supposed to impress Henry so
he wouldn’t do that. It’s said little Horner actually put his
hands in the pie and took one of the manors for himself. As for Mr. Whiting, he was later hanged, drawn
and quartered, and his head was removed and stuck on a gate. Cinderella
In the 17th century version of this tale written by Italian writer Giambattista Basile, Cinderella
is basically a contract killer. She is told by a governess to kill her own
mother, which she does. In the writer’s words, “she snaps her
step-mother’s neck with the lid of a dressing trunk.” The governess then marries the father and
Cinderella is sent to work in the kitchens. This version then goes like the story we know. She loses a slipper and meets a dashing prince. But there is an earlier version written in
Scotland and that was called “Rashin Coatie.” In that story the stepmother cuts off little
bits of Cinderella’s feet so they’ll be too deformed to fit the slipper. In yet another version, the evil sisters mutilate
themselves and birds peck out their eyes. Pied Piper of Hamelin
This is the story you all know of the guy that played a pipe and lured rats away from
the town of Hamelin. The towns folks, though, didn’t actually
pay him and so he lured the children away, too. In some versions he brings the children back
when the money has been paid, but in other versions he kills most of the kids by drowning
them. It’s actually written that this town in
the 14th century did have a lot of kids that suddenly went missing. They might have simply starved to death, but
some theories suggest the kids were lured away by pagans to perform ritual dancing. They were then danced to death. Other theories say the kids were forced to
emigrate en-masse. Life was tough back then and there is evidence
of something called “dancing mania” happening around Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. Basically, a number of people would just start
dancing really erratically. This is sometimes called “mass psychogenic
illness” and involves lots of people coming down with the same malady at the same time. It’s literally collective madness. In this case people would dance until they
collapsed from exhaustion. It was kind of a crazy rave for the hysterical. We don’t know if this is what happened to
the missing kids of Hamelin, but you can be sure that the Pied Piper story has some dark
origins. Just out of interest we tried to find modern
examples of mass hysteria and we didn’t come up empty handed. The Guardian reported in 2015 that it happened
at a school in the UK. One day girls at that school just started
fainting. One of the students said people were just
falling like dominos, but the police and fire department could find no reason for this. It turned out it was mass psychogenic illness. The Guardian interviewed a psychiatrist who
said that it was actually quite common, and schools are where it seems to happen a lot. We found cases in countries around the world
where this occurred, and it seems to happen to females more than males. Sometimes food or drink is at first blamed,
but that wasn’t the case at all. In one of the stranger cases a bunch of girls
in the school in New York in 2011 developed facial tics, but it was just hysteria, not
a medical problem. So, which of these tales so you think is the
most horrific? Do you think Hollywood should try and recreate
the originals? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
Why Life During The Dark Ages Sucked. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

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