Fairy Tale Fails: Hansel and Gretel

In honor of Halloween, I’m bringing back one of my favorite types of posts: Fairy Tale Fails. The story this time? Hansel and Gretel. I figure if ever there was a story that best accompanies All Hallow’s Eve it is the one that has an actual witch in it.

Reading the Grimm’s Fairy Tale version of the classic tale, not a lot is different about the core story: two kids are idiots and try to eat a house made out of candy and a witch lures them in and tries to eat them. But there are parts of the story that I don’t remember ever reading.

In my mind, the story of Hansel and Gretel goes something like this:

One day a brother and sister were walking through the woods. They were wandering around but didn’t want to get lost so they brought a loaf of bread with them to leave crumbs on their trail so they can find their way home. Once they’re ready to turn back around they find that the crumbs are no longer there, most likely eaten by a bird. Unsure what to do, the siblings keep walking until they find a house made of gingerbread and candy. At this point they have been walking all day and are hungry (plus, candy!) so they decide to go up to the house and start picking off little pieces to eat. Hoping there is more food inside, they break into the house only to find a witch ready willing and able to lock them up and eat them. Once she prepares the oven for the kids to cook in, she lets them out and tells them to look into the oven to see if it’s hot enough. The kids somehow trick her into going over first and they lock her in the oven and leave. The end.

To this day I cannot for the life of me remember if anything happened after that point in the story. Or at least, I didn’t know until recently.

You see, I first started reading all of the original fairy tale stories several years ago. But that was always one of those stories that I honestly didn’t give a rats ass about. I never thought the story was entertaining, I thought the kids were idiots and the idea of a candy house was ludicrous – wouldn’t it melt or disintegrate??? And as for the witch, if you’re a person that genuinely wants to eat children, how did you get suckered into letting these kids run around your house with no ties or anything, and then be stupid enough to say, “you know what, maybe I should check, personally, to see if the oven is ready first. I’m sure the kids will leave me alone while I go near the place that they knew I was going to kill them in.” what??

So no, when I read the Grimm’s Fairy Tales I didn’t read the story. I skipped over the entire chapter and moved along to the next story. But as Halloween was approaching I wanted to get back into the Fairy Tale Fails swing of things and realized that it’s actually kind of the perfect story to tear apart via blog. It appeals to all the creepy things we hate: cannibalism, candy-luring creeps, kids lost in the woods, kids in general (HA! Just kidding, only some kids are creepy and I hate them). So I read the actual story. And it was weird.

The story begins with an explanation, one that I hadn’t actually thought about previously. Why were the kids wandering alone in the woods? According to the Brothers Grimm, the siblings live with their father and stepmother. When a famine strikes and everyone is starving, the stepmother (always berating the children and beating them) tells the father that she is going to take everyone on a walk in the morning and get rid of the two kids so that she and her husband can eat the extra food they’d been giving to the children. He doesn’t like this idea but she wears him down and agrees to the plan. Unbeknownst to them, Hansel has overheard their conversation and sneaks out of his room to pick up some white pebbles to leave a trail back to the house.

The next morning, the whole family goes on the excursion. The father and stepmom leave the kids, but to their surprise they’ve found their way home. Pissed that they survived and used the pebble trick against her, the stepmom talks to the father and says that the plan will work and they will do it again the next morning. In order to make sure they don’t go anywhere in the meantime to get provisions, she locks the children in their room.

On the way out the next morning Hansel grabs a slice of bread for the walk and begins leaving a trail behind. Again the parents leave the children. But when Hansel and Gretel go back to follow the bread crumbs they find that a bird has eaten them and that they are lost. This is when the story is the same:

They wander, find a gingerbread house and eat it’s roof. A witch comes out and lures them into her home with candy and the promise of comfort and sleep. She locks them away. She uses Gretel as her slave and decides to fatten up Hansel so there’s more of him to eat. When she’s finally ready to eat, she lets Hansel out and decides to kill Gretel as well. Still her slave, Gretel is told to go into the opening of the oven to see if the fire is burning well, but pretends that she doesn’t understand the command. Frustrated that the kid isn’t getting it, the witch goes to show her what she should be doing. As she leans forward, Gretel knocks her into the stove and locks it.

She and Hansel find out that theres a large pot of jewels and valuables. They take the jewels and leave. The only problem? Where are they going to go? Well, miraculously, a swan agrees to let the children ride on it’s back and swims them back to their father’s house. Going inside, they realize that the stepmom has died, and that now (with the riches they’ve acquired) they can live happily ever after as a family.

Okay. Where do I begin? Oh, right, I know: the step mom is a total dick and the dad is no better! What the fuck? I can understand the dad being lonely and getting into a relationship with a new lady. I also understand that that lady was a dick to the kids, but the dad is still lonely and maybe doesn’t care much about the kids. But what I don’t understand is how your wife can say, “I don’t want the kids anymore. I’m hungry, let’s drop them off somewhere to starve to death and we’ll live happily again.” and for the husband to say, “you know what, it’s been a tough year, I think you’re right. Let’s drop them off tomorrow.” What??

I don’t know, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I feel like the dad – the biological father – should maybe not want to give up the kids that easy? I know in the story they say that he wasn’t okay with it at first, but that begs the question, what made him change his mind? I just don’t get it.

Second, if Hansel is so smart that he knows to bring small items with him to leave a trail to get home, why is he not smart enough to know he shouldn’t eat a random house in the middle of nowhere made out of candy?

Third, and possibly most importantly, WHERE DID THIS MYSTICAL SWAN COME FROM AND HOW DOES IT KNOW THERE IS A GIANT LAKE GOING FROM THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE TO THEIR PARENTS HOUSE? AND HOW DIDN’T THE KIDS KNOW ABOUT IT? That seems like the perfect landmark to get the kids to know where they are so they don’t need stupid pebbles!

I don’t know, man. This story is just weird and gives me too many things to pick apart (and the majority of the story was the same as what I’ve grown up hearing!)  But thanks to the spirit of Halloween, I can now sleep easy knowing that I understand the original, classic tale of Hansel and Gretel and never have to read it again.

If you like Fairy Tale Fails, or if you have a story you want me to analyze or read, leave me a message in the comments to let me know or send me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. 

Happy Hall-ow-eeeeen! MANIACAL LAUGH, MANIACAL LAUGH…

Rachel

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Book vs Movie: Cinderella

“Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it’s Cinderelly….” It’s been a week and that song is still stuck in my head.

So, now comes part two of our Cinderella adventure. All week I’ve been wanting to watch the new Cinderella movie once more to be super accurate with my findings. But I’ve settled for memory and Wikipedia – and let’s be honest, Wikipedia never lies.

So let the duel begin!

I mentioned last time the difference between the original written version of Cinderella and the Disney version of Cinderella. In this one we’re discussing the combination of the original Cinderella AND the Disney version versus the live-action Disney Cinderella. So basically it’s really “Book and Movie vs Movie” – I’m sorry for totally stretching the lines of the whole book vs movie thing.

First, I’d like to mention that I actually really loved the new 2015 live-action version of Cinderella. I was worried when I heard they were making it because I had been getting more and more disenchanted with the original for many years, and heard this movie was pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of the original. However, I think this version was actually A LOT better than the original Disney version. Blasphemous, I know. But true.

Here’s my reasoning: this version, while still upholding the usual Disney Princess, classic (and literal) from rags to riches tale, gave the character so much more depth. They gave Cinderella her own mind, her own opinions, and still kept the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales edge!

The movie starts out with a young Cinderella (she goes by Ella) and her loving, devoted parents. Her mom sings her “Lavender’s Blue,” which is an old seventeenth century lullaby that I’d heard before but never knew the name until I looked it up on Wikipedia. It’s a rather beautiful song, and it fits the story very well. The song essentially is about two people who love each other and will be King and Queen one day. But not in the usual “DAMNIT, I WISH I WERE A KING!” sense. More in the, “I love you, and one day we’ll have the world together” sense. It’s very pretty.

“Lavender’s green, dilly, dilly, Lavender’s blue,

If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.

Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs play,

We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, out of harm’s way.

How sweet! But anyway, this song is engrained in Cinderella’s head forever, and she always sings it when she’s alone.

The mother gets sick and tells Ella to always be kind and be brave. This is something that’s mentioned in the original Grimm’s version as well, the mother tells Cinderella to be kind and to trust in God. In the movie, when the mother dies, father and daughter both go through a long period of time when they grieve for the mother. Eventually the father believes he has found a woman who will make him happy. Ella wants her father to be happy and gives him her blessing to marry this woman, and to take in her two daughters.

Much like the written version, the father goes on a trip and promises lavish gifts for the step-daughters, but Ella only wants whatever twig happens to hit his hat first. Once he goes away, the step mother begins to treat Ella poorly, giving her own daughters the best bedrooms in the house and moving Ella into the cold attic. Not long after, they get word that the father has died (unlike in the written story, which still bothers me). A while goes by, the step mother has designated Ella as their housekeeper and servant and begin calling her Cinderella due to the cinders on her face after sleeping near the fire to keep warm all night. Ella has no one to turn to, and believes that the mice that live in her attic understand her and help her. YES! The return of Jaq and Gus!!

This is where a lot of things change, because the movie ends up delving deeper into the prince’s side of the story with his father, whereas in every other version all we know is that the prince is having a ball and will choose a bride. In the movie they discuss the fact that princes have to marry princesses. The ball where he gets to choose a bride may seem as though he can choose any girl he pleases, but law dictates that the prince must marry someone of royalty, so royalty will attend the ball and he will choose from them.

The next part everyone knows: Cinderella wants to go to the ball, after getting dolled up and ready for the it, the step mother refuses to take her with them, and tears the dress she’s wearing to pieces. Completely devastated, Ella goes into the backyard and cries, when a fairy godmother shows up to lend her witchy hand. She gives Ella a beautiful gown, and turns the mice into horses, a pumpkin into a carriage, and a goose into the driver who says something along the lines of, “I’m a goose. I don’t think I can drive.”

She goes to the ball and the prince falls madly for her, but she has to leave by midnight, so she runs away from her love and loses her glass slipper on the steps. The prince demands that all the women in the area try on this slipper and if it fits their foot, she’s the one (still kind of backwards logic, but I’ll let it slide). The wicked step mother knows that Ella is the one he’s looking for when she finds the other glass slipper in the attic, and locks her away in there so no one will find her.

When the prince comes calling, the lady of the house has her two daughters try the shoe on, to no avail. The prince asks if there is anyone else in the house, but no one is found. Knowing that the prince is going to leave, the mice in the attic open up the window as Ella is singing “Lavender’s Blue” to herself.

The prince finds Ella, tries the shoe on her foot, and it fits! Hooray! The prince’s father has agreed to let them marry despite the fact that she is not royalty because he knows the prince loves her. Remembering the promise to her mother to be kind, Ella has forgiven her step-mother for all the cruelty throughout the years. The prince takes her away and they live happily ever after.

Honestly it’s pretty close to the first Disney movie, complete with mice. But there are some very interesting undertones that one wouldn’t assume are actually a part of the story unless you know the Grimm’s Fairy Tales version, such as the promise to her mother to be kind. That’s why I thought the movie was spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, I love the songs in the original, and I love the fact that it was a classic tale of rags-to-riches. But this version has more substance and it was researched properly.

That said, I have a bit of an issue with the book vs movie tally because while I like the original written story, the father was still alive! ARRRG! So for the first time ever I’m going to say:

The winner of the duel is: Cinderella – 2015 live-action film.

Book: 3 Movie: 3

Until next time!

If you have any fairy tales you want me to look over, or even just want to say hi, you can post a comment on here or send me an email at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. Also if you’re enjoying the blog you can now follow me via the “follow by e-mail” box on the right! Hope to hear from you soon!

Rachel

Fairy Tale Fails – Cinderella

Welcome to another exciting episode of Fairy Tale Fails! This week’s fairy tale is probably the most common of all of the tales, and has sparked many movie adaptations and even books based off the story: Cinderella. That’s why this post is going to be in two parts. One part discussing the story (that’s this post), the other discussing the book versus the most recent Disney live-action adaptation.

So let’s get started! I, for one, loved the old Disney Cinderella movie growing up. “Cinderelly! Cinderelly! Night and day it’s Cinderelly!” In fact, I’m pretty sure I sang that particular line over and over again in line to see the new Cinderella. My boyfriend must really love me to stick around after a) seeing Into the Woods and hating it, even though I loved it, b) THEN agreeing to see Cinderella in theaters even though I’m sure he was positive he’d hate it and c) standing in line for a long time before we could enter the movie with me singing an annoying line of an old Disney song in the voices of Jaq and Gus the mice.

That said though, in recent years it’s become one of my least favorite Disney Princess movies, mostly for the same reason I don’t care for Snow White – she doesn’t really have a wide range of self-anything. It’s all about waiting for a prince to come and take her away. And when she does get a prince to come and take her away, it’s like her life is just about this new prince. There’s nothing that says that she enjoys knitting, or gardening, or playing basketball. It’s all about being rescued by a prince. And in no way does the prince ever say “you know what, lady. I see that you’ve been treated poorly. I want you to know that I’d never treat you poorly, and I want to marry you.” No. Instead he says, “I’ll marry whomever this shoe fits!” and she’s all for it!

What if her feet were swollen the day he came around because she’d been dancing all night in glass shoes? Her foot wouldn’t fit the shoe, and he’d go find someone else. It seems foolish that he’d find someone who’s foot fits the shoe and doesn’t look anything like the person he met the previous night, but marry her anyway because her feet were the right size. Bizarre.

So we know the basic story, a girl is living happily with her parents when her mother dies. Her father finally gets a new wife, and that wife comes with two daughters. The father dies and the stepmother runs the house. The girls are cruel and force Cinderella to clean, cook, and take care of everything as a peasant even though she’s the rightful heir to the home. The king announces a ball in which the young prince will choose his new bride. Cinderella wants to go, but is told that she can only go if she does a whole bunch of chores and is ready on time. She does get everything done on time, but the stepmother and daughters tear her clothes to shreds and tell her she cant come.

That’s when her fairy godmother shows up and gives her a beautiful dress and shoes, and a giant carriage, complete with manservants, and goes to the ball with the condition she back at midnight. She goes, she and the prince dance, she loses track of time and as she’s running down the castle steps, one of her glass slippers falls off and she keeps running. The prince sets out to find the foot that fits the shoe, and tries the shoes on the stepdaughters to no avail, but hears Cinderella singing and demands she be brought down to him. The shoe fits and they live happily ever after.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales published their version of the story in 1812, originally told by Giambattista Basile in 1634. The original Basile version was about a girl named Zezolla. In this version, she is the daughter of prince who has married a governess. The prince goes away and meets a fairy who gives him presents for Zezolla and the governess’s two daughters, who have turned Zezolla into their servant. One of the presents the prince brings back is a seed. Zezolla plants the seed and soon a tree grows. The King hosts a ball and a fairy living in the tree dresses Zezolla beautifully to attend. The king knows instantly that he loves her, but she escapes him twice. The third time she attends the ball she accidentally leaves her shoe behind. The king hosts a feast to have all the ladies try on the shoes, and when Zezolla comes near the shoe magically leaves his hand and returns to her foot. They marry.

The 1812 version is different, much more similar to the story we know now. In Grimm’s version, Cinderella, or technically Aschenputtel, German for “Ashfool,” is the daughter a wealthy man. When her mother gets sick she tells Cinderella (NOTE: I’m saying Cinderella because I’m no Ashfool. There’s no way I’m writing that insanely long name a ton of times. It’s Cinderella) that she should be kind and trust in God. The mother dies and the father remarries to a woman with two daughters, and they force her into being their servant. Here’s the difference though – the dad doesn’t die!! The dad is still there, going about his business, not caring that his daughter is now his servant. What?! INEXCUSABLE, SIR, INEXCUSABLE.

So Cinderella lives like this for a little while with only little white birds to keep her company, and then her father goes out and asks what the girls want as a present when he returns. She says “whatever twig hits your hat first.” He obliges. When he gives her the twig, she goes to her mothers grave and puts it on top, crying on it. Her tears make the twig turn into a tree, and every time Cinderella prays to the tree, the little doves flutter around it. She takes the birds as a sign from her mother in Heaven that they will protect her.

Finally the King says that the prince will be hosting a three-day ball, after which he will choose his bride. Cinderella begs her family to let her attend but her stepmother throws a bag of lentil on the floor and says that she can go, only if she can clean up every last piece of lentil she just threw down. With the help of the doves, she manages to pick up every piece of lentil in record time. The stepmother is displeased and tells her to do it again, throwing down even more lentils than the last time. The stepmother really doesn’t want her to go with them, so she grabs the stepdaughters and they leave without her while she’s cleaning.

Upset, she goes to the graveyard to visit her mother and a dove drops down a beautiful gown and silk shoes, along with a note saying that she has to be back before midnight. She dances with the prince, but leaves before the clock strikes twelve. The next night, the doves bring Cinderella another gown and glass shoes. Once again she entrances the prince, but leaves before midnight. On the third night, the prince refuses to lose her again so he puts tar on the steps so she wont be able to leave. Her golden slipper gets caught in the tar, but she leaves it behind and runs, safe at home.

The prince wants to find this mystery woman, so he sets out to marry the woman whose foot fits the slipper. He arrives at Cinderella’s house where the prince puts the slipper on the eldest daughter. It fits, and he takes her to ride back to the castle. On the way, the dove whispers in his ear that she cut off her toes so that the shoe would fit. He checks her foot and sees the blood. The prince brings her back, asking for the youngest stepdaughter, he puts the shoe on her foot and it fits. Unbeknownst to him, she cut off part of her heel to fit into the foot. On their way back to the castle the dove intervenes again, and upon seeing the blood from the second daughter’s foot, he returns to the house once more. This time, he speaks with Cinderella’s father who tells them that they only have a maid. A maid! He doesn’t even say it’s his daughter! He just calls her the maid! What a jerk.

Anyway, the prince finds this “maid” and puts on the slipper and he knows it’s the same woman from the ball, so they go to marry. Cinderella wants to be nice though and she asks the stepdaughters to be her maids of honor. On the way over to the ceremony, though, the dove pokes one eye out of each of the daughters heads, turning them partially blind. After the ceremony, the dove plucks out the other eyes, rendering them completely blind. The end.

Here’s my issue with this – well, one issue with this – the dad is still alive and treats his daughter like absolute crap!!! I can understand in the other versions, the parents die, the stepmother never wanted the other girl in the first place so she’s a dick to Cinderella and makes her a servant. But if the dad is still alive surely he’d be nicer to his own daughter (and don’t call me Shirley). Omitting all the other faults in this story: the magic tree, the doves that act as little angels sent from her mom in Heaven, the prince and his stupidity, vanity, and just all around lameness. This one plot snag peeves me off more than anything else.

I did some research and it’s actually speculated that the dad isn’t her biological father. That the daughter was the wife’s child before marriage. Even so, at the point of the mother’s death, Cinderella is still a child which means he had Cinderella since she was a baby, you’d think that would make you feel more like a father to her and not want her to be your servant. You’d think. Granted, I don’t have kids. Maybe parents do want their kids to be servants. I’m pretty sure that’s what my parents wanted.

Alas, that concludes part one of the Cinderella edition of Fairy Tale Fails. Book vs Movie: Cinderella is up next!

Until then! Happy reading!

Rachel

email: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Fairy Tale Fail – Snow White

Hi everyone! Quick note before I begin: I’m still reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness but I have less than one hundred pages left! I’m sorry for the delay in the reviewing process. Nevertheless, here’s another Fairy Tale Fail!!

I don’t know about you guys but I’ve never been a huge fan of the much older Disney movies – not that I don’t like them, because I do. Disney movies are beyond magical! But movies like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are way too damsel-in-distress-like for me. They don’t really have anything that might make them unique or likable. Their stories are mostly about how a man saved them from near-death. I, personally, like my Disney Princesses to have charisma and charm – and their own opinions.

That said, I’ve done some more research and I’m kind of pissed at my findings. The Brother’s Grimm’s fairy tale Snow White was actually much darker than I thought it was originally (yes!), but still kinda weird. And I find Snow White to be even more of an idiot in the movie.

Much of the beginning of the story remains in both the Grimm’s version and the Disney version: a beautiful Queen is sewing one day and pricks her finger. Upon seeing the blood she wishes for a daughter who is as fair as snow, with lips red as blood, and hair black as night (ebony, in the Grimm’s version). When the Queen gets her wish, she names her daughter Snow White. But shortly after she dies of birthing complications. The King marries a new woman who happens to be a witch, both literally and metaphorically.

The Queen has a magic mirror that she talks to and asks “who is the fairest in the land?” with the answer always being “you are the fairest in the land!” But this time, the mirror tells her that she is not the fairest, that Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than she. The Queen gets pissed and sends a huntsmen to kill Snow White, rip out her heart, and bring it back as proof that she’s dead. The huntsmen doesn’t have the heart to do it (see what I did there? heh!) and tells Snow White to run as far away as she can.

This is when the similarities between the two nearly come to a halt. Because as far I know, little woodland creatures don’t usually take to one particular human, befriend that human, and lead that human to a safe-house. No, the Grimm’s version is much more realistic. So we’re gonna do a bit of a compare and contrast at this part because there are very slight but important details that I want to point out.

In the movie, she obviously is led to the dwarves house by friendly animals – isn’t that how everyone finds their home? Who uses Zillow? She then enters the house with a whole bunch of chairs and beds in it, and notices how messy it is. So she tidy’s up their home, and by the end of her cleaning she’s just pooped! Too exhausted to worry if maybe seven tiny, crazy axe-murderers live there, she plops down on three little beds and sleeps. When the dwarves come home from working in the mine, they’re taken aback, but then agree she can live there provided she clean the house, sew, knit, and cook (that last provision is also in the Grimm’s version).

Now the Grimm’s version. First, I’d just like to say that this particular story was published around 1812. This is a time when slavery still exists, when the age of consent for marriage is 10-13 years old, and when the freaken United States is only a 36 year old. THIRTY-SIX! And yet, in the Grimm’s version, Snow has more common sense and resolve than the much newer Disney version. When Snow White runs away from the huntsmen, she finds a tiny house far away from nothing and no one is home. Snow white is hungry, and tired, and sees an opportunity to steal their food, wine, and sleep in their beds before anyone comes home. A regular squatter. She completely messes up their entire home and everything is out of place. When the dwarves come back they’re pissed. But Snow White tells them all about the evil Queen and the huntsmen and they take pity on her, again as long as she can take care of the house (although, I get the feeling that in this version they’re also kind of just mad she messed up their house in the first place, and just want her to clean it up).

So here’s what I learned from that: the 1939 version (postbellum, the age of consent is 16 – as it is today, and the U.S. is 239 years old – women can vote, also) is more sexist than the original that is more than 200 years old! Snow White is the perfect woman in the 1939 version, walking in to a home and seeing a mess and thinking “by golly! I have to clean this up before anyone sees! I know I’m running for my life, but please, let me do the dishes first.” In Grimm’s version Snow is more about being unclean, a slob, and pretty much a hobo stealing their stuff. Not very ladylike, but I like it a damn sight more than the Disney version!

Anyway, the Queen learns she’s alive and in the movie she stops by as an old hag and has Snow White eat part of a poisoned apple that will put her to sleep unless “true love’s kiss” wakens her. The dwarves find out via woodland creatures that the Queen killed her and they chase after the Queen, trapping her, and she eventually falls to her death. The dwarves don’t want to bury her in the ground so instead they put her in a glass coffin above ground (because apparently they didn’t think about decomposition). After a while a prince shows up and falls in love with her, kisses her out of sadness that she’s dead, and she wakes and they live happily ever after.

In the story, it’s a bit different, though still weird that a prince loves a dead person he never met when she was alive, I’ll admit. When the Queen learns of Snow White whole still-alive-thing she comes by the dwarves house and first gives her a bodice that she laces up so tightly that Snow White can’t breathe and faints. The dwarves come home and find her just in time to unlace the bodice. The Queen then comes back with a brush, brushes Snow’s hair and Snow faints again, but the dwarves save the day (again). Lastly, the Queen shows up with a poisoned apple which Snow eats (stupid girl, you’d think she’d have learned her lesson) and chokes on a piece of apple. The Queen goes home and the mirror finally tells her she’s the fairest in the land.

The dwarves can’t figure out what happened to her, so they put her in a glass coffin. Again, after some time, a prince walks by and is enchanted by the dead girl. He convinces the dwarves to let him take the coffin and the girl with him. As his servants take the coffin, they trip over a branch and the apple is dislodged from her throat. The Prince proposes to her and she accepts.

They invite everyone to their wedding, including the Queen. The Queen wasn’t going to go until looking into her mirror, the voice back said that the new Princess is the fairest in the land. So the Queen goes to see this new woman, but Snow know’s it was the Queen all along and punishes her. She is forced to put on straight out of the fire hot iron shoes and dance in the burning shoes until she dies. The end.

So basically, what I’ve learned from all of this is that the men who wrote this back in 1812, were more in favor of women being actual humans with feelings better things to do than clean, than the men in 1939 who orchestrated the movie. I’ve also learned that I wouldn’t want to live in either time, because apparently they’re both filled with evil witches who want to rip peoples hearts out.

That’s all for now. If you want to say hi, or have a fairy tale you want me to talk about let me know in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. Until next time!

Rachel

Fairy Tale Fails – Beauty and the Beast

Well, well well… Looks who’s alive after the move! Me!! We’re loving our new place – but we don’t care for all the boxes we have to throw out. Still, I’m just so glad it’s out of the way and is one less thing to worry about. Now, on to books!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved fairy tales. I can recite every Disney Princess song forwards and backwards and in pig Latin. I love everything about the fantasy world, and ever since I got the Grimm’s Fairytales out of my grandparents bookshelf, I’ve been hooked for life.

But something happened when I read Grimm’s for the first time… I was horrified. The hard truth of the matter is that the fairy tales that have been recited to us thousands of times gloss over some of the most terrifying parts of the famous stories, and a lot of them are written by different authors! It’s like these authors just collectively said, “yeah, the 1700s are a really crappy time. Let’s just make everyone a jerk.”

I’ve always been one for Beauty and the Beast. As someone with brown hair, hazel eyes and a love of books, I’m pretty sure the story was written entirely for me. Sadly, that’s not the case, as it was published in 1756. In the original Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont version (I know, quite the name, right?!) Belle is actually the youngest of three sisters, the elder two are women who love jewels and material items, and who are really just nasty at heart. Their father was once a very wealthy merchant, but has lost all of his money so the four of them are forced to work on a small farm in France for a living.

The promise of wealth comes to him one day and he asks his daughters what they’d like as a present when he comes home. The two daughters ask for clothing and jewelry, while Belle only asks for a rose. The father leaves and gets no wealth or presents, but on his way home he gets lost in the woods and a creature that calls himself “Beast” invites him in to eat and spend the night.

In the morning, the father notices a rose garden and plucks a beautiful rose for Belle. The Beast notices his theft and tells him that he must die for stealing the rose (a little dramatic, Beast). The father comes up with a bargain – he can leave and give Belle the rose, as long as he promises to come back and he promises not to say a thing about the bargain to Belle. Belle, being awesome, gets the news out of her father when he returns home with the rose and decides to take his place instead, heading to the castle. This is really the only correlation between the two stories, and it’s really the best part. So much self-sacrifice! You go, Belle!

When Belle gets to the Beast’s castle he tells her that she is now the mistress of the castle and he is her servant. He begs her to marry him multiple times but she refuses every time. Every night that he proposes, though, she dreams of a really beautiful prince and believes that the Beast has this prince locked up somewhere in the castle, but never finds him. Eventually the Beast lets her leave to visit her family with the condition that she return in a week. She leaves with a ring and a mirror – the mirror allows her to see what is going on at the castle, and the ring allows her to return there instantly.

When she goes home she has every intention of leaving in a week, but her sisters are jealous of her lavish life at the castle and  put on a big show and make her believe that they really miss her and want her to stay – even rubbing onions in their eyes to make it look like they’re crying – while they really hope that the Beast will be angry and kill and eat her. Nice sisters! Belle decides to stay, but feels really guilty about leaving him so she looks in the mirror to see what he’s up to and sees that he’s dying from heartbreak in the rose garden. She uses the ring to go to him immediately and when she cries on him, telling him she loves him, her tears bring him back to life… as the prince in her dreams.

Now, in my opinion this is one of the most tame fairy tales. There’s no mutilation and not everyone dies. But, as this is the first of my new installment of Fairy Tale Fails, I wanted to start with the story that I feel bound to the most. Even without the magic rose, the kooky inventor father, and Gaston (noooo one fights like Gaston! Douses lights like Gaston! In a wrestling match no one bites like Gaston!) I still love this story. It has the same “magic” that Disney stories do and it even ended with a “happily ever after!” I really recommend reading this and seeing for yourself what a difference the two stories have. And can I just say, those sisters are complete assholes.

Until next time! If you have any fairy tales you want me to look up, read and compare to the family-friendly versions we all know, let me know in the comments or send me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Rachel