Day 363: Once Upon a Time, Before Disney

Nowadays we often tell our kids the sanitized, easy, version of fairy tales. We don’t tell them that Sleeping Beauty was raped while she slept and woke up to find herself the mother of twins or that Cinderella’s step-sisters cut off their heel and toe (one each) to try and fit into the glass slipper.  We certainly don’t tell them that birds came down to peck their eyes out at the wedding reception. We don’t want the stories we tell at bed time to cause nightmares, I get it. I wonder though if we aren’t doing kids a disservice by not introducing them to the grittier stories at a later point. I love Disney but I grew up knowing that Snow White and  Sleeping Beauty and all the rest of the Disney Princesses were not technically created by Disney.  Whenever she could she read or told my sister and I  the earlier stories as well. In several of them, consequences for the villain are far more severe than being left to seethe with jealousy while the good person they hurt finally gets everything they deserve. Sometimes happily ever after doesn’t happen. Ever heard of The Little Match Girl? It’s one of the lesser known Grimm fairy tales, she freezes to death. As I mentioned earlier, Sleeping Beauty does awake and is forced to marry the prince who raped her, hearing the older stories cured what tiny desire I might have had to grow up to be one, princesses had it rough! Fairy tales were meant to be cautionary because as every pagan worth their salt, casting circle, or crystals will tell you, there is a light and dark to everything, even fairies.

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