1. Sleeping Beauty - In Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, the princess is put to sleep when she pricks her finger on a spindle. She sleeps for one hundred years when a prince finally arrives, kisses her, and awakens her. They fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after. In the original, the young woman is put to sleep because of a prophecy, rather than a curse. And it isn’t the kiss of a prince which wakes her up: the king sees her asleep, so he rapes her. After nine months she gives birth to two children (while she is still asleep). One of the children sucks her finger which removes the piece of flax which was keeping her asleep. She wakes up to find herself raped and the mother of two kids.
2. Little Red Riding Hood - The version of this tale that most of us are familiar with ends with Riding Hood being saved by the woodsman who kills the wicked wolf. But in fact, the original French version, there is no woodsman to save her, she ends up being eaten by the wolf.
3. The Little Mermaid - In the Disney version, the film ends with Ariel being changed into a human so she can marry Eric. But, in the very first version by Hans Christian Andersen, the mermaid sees the Prince marry a princess and she despairs. She is offered a knife with which to stab the prince to death, but rather than do that she jumps into the sea and dies by turning to froth.
4. Snow White - In the tale of Snow White that we are all familiar with, the Queen asks a huntsman to kill her and bring her heart back as proof. Instead, the huntsman can’t bring himself to do it and returns with the heart of a boar. In the original tale, the Queen actually asks for Snow White’s liver and lungs – which are to be served for dinner that night. Also in the original, Snow White wakes up when she is jostled by the prince’s horse as he carries her back to his castle – not from a magical kiss. The prince was planning to have sex with the dead body of Snow White.
5. Goldilocks - In this tale, pretty little Goldilocks finds the house of the three bears. She sneaks inside and eats their food, sits in their chairs, and finally falls asleep on the bed of the smallest bear. When the bears return home they find her asleep – she awakens and escapes out the window in terror. The original tale has two possible variations. In the first, the bears find Goldilocks and rip her apart and eat her. In the second, Goldilocks is actually an old hag who (like the sanitized version) jumps out of a window when the bears wake her up. The story ends by telling us that she either broke her neck in the fall, or was arrested for vagrancy and sent to the “House of Correction”.
6. Cinderella - In the modern Cinderella fairy tale we have the beautiful Cinderella swept off her feet by the prince and her wicked step sisters marrying two lords – with everyone living happily ever after. But, lurking behind the pretty tale is a more sinister variation by the Grimm brothers: in this version, the nasty step-sisters cut off parts of their own feet in order to fit them into the glass slipper – hoping to fool the prince. The prince is alerted to the trickery by two pigeons who peck out the step sister’s eyes. They end up spending the rest of their lives as blind beggars while Cinderella gets to lounge about in luxury at the prince’s castle.