On January 12th the Google Doodle celebrated the birthday of Charles Perrault the author of Cinderella and other fairy tales. Seeing this image I was reminded of reading the original story of The Little Mermaid last year and finding it more gruesome than the Disney classic we’ve come to know and love.
I thought I remembered someone telling me that in the original Cinderella the stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to make them fit in the glass slipper. I’ve always wondered if that was true. So I went online and reserved this copy of Perrault’s fairy tales, so I could read the originals for myself.
– The stepsisters.
– The fairy godmother, the pumpkin, the animals, the dress, and the glass slippers.
– The ball and the prince.
– Her father isn’t dead. He’s just so controlled by his new wife that he no longer thinks for himself. He isn’t really in the story at all.
– The stepmother isn’t really in the story either other than a quick mention that she makes Cinderella do all of the housework.
– When the fairy godmother appears there is no fanfare. It’s completely nonchalant. Kind of like, “Oh, and she was a fairy.” So weird.
– The fairy godmother hollows out the pumpkin first before turning it into a coach. How practical!
– The ball is 2 nights. It’s the second night that Cinderella forgets to leave before midnight.
– When the prince’s men come to have the girls try on the glass slipper, the fairy godmother returns and transforms Cinderella’s dress again. And Cinderella and the prince are married at once.
– This story was pretty much the same.
– The variances were rather insignificant.
– There are some very cryptic morals at the end of the story with some serious Christian undertones. Something about graciousness being more important than beauty. Disney kind of warped that one I guess.
Sleeping Beauty in the Woods
– The bad fairy curses the princess, but one of the good fairies changes the curse so she’ll sleep for 100 years instead of dying when she pricks her finger on the spinning wheel.
– The good fairy comes and freezes everyone, so they will still be there when Sleeping Beauty wakes up in 100 years. She sends the parents away.
– Thorns grow around the castle.
– The prince comes upon the castle covered in thorns 100 years later.
– Sleeping Beauty’s parents are away when she pricks her finger.
– There is no kiss! The prince wakes Sleeping Beauty by finding her, not by kissing her.
– The prince marries her in secret and keeps her in the castle. She bears him 2 children, while still being kept secret.
– The prince’s mother is ogress who likes to eat children! So he’s trying to protect them.
– When the king dies and the prince becomes king, he introduces his queen to the people of the land and his mother and finally brings her out of hiding.
– But then he has to go to war. The ogress takes the queen and children to a house in the woods and tries to eat them. But her man-servant tricks her into eating animals instead.
– She find out and is about to kill them for real when the king shows up. The mother (ogress) kills herself instead.
– Say what?!
– This story started off so similarly, but then it took a crazy turn. Seriously? WTF was happening in this story.
– Once again there is a moral. This time it’s about patience and waiting for marriage. Huh? Where does the ogress factor into all of that?
I also read Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood, and it was exactly the same, so I had nothing to comment about.
Have you read any original fairy tales? What did you think?