I've been giving this subject a lot of thought, since I do quite a bit of research on the subject.
For example, I found that Cinderella never had a Fairy Godmother, or that Red Riding Hood was actually instructed to walk alone into the woods.
So how about I demystify some of the more common myths:
- Grimm's Fairy Tales as a whole - are modern popular versions of much older tales that existed in folklore, sometimes for thousands of years. Also, there is more than one version of the Grimm.
- Cinderella - had no Fairy Godmother! Cinderella asks her father to bring her "The first sprig that rubs against your hat on your way home." She then plants it and every time she needs help, she comes back to that tree, and says, "Shake, shake, hazel-tree, gold and silver over me!" and the birds bring her what she needs. Also, her slippers are made of gold and not glass.
- Snow White - was not woken up by a kiss! After eating the poisoned apple, Snow White collapsed and the dwarfs assumed her to be dead, so they put her in a glass coffin. They eventually gave it to the prince, and when he moved it the piece of apple fell out of Snow White's mouth and she woke up.
- Red Riding Hood - was told to walk alone into the woods. In fact, her mother was only concerned about the wine she was carrying, "Do not run off the path, or you may fall and break the bottle". There are two wolves, the first is killed by the hunter, and the second by Red Riding and her grandmother.
- Hansel and Gretel - were sent to the woods by their own mother. There is more than one version of Grimm's fairy tales and in one of them Hansel and Gretel are sent to the woods by their stepmother, in another by their own mother.
- Rapuzel - was fourteen when she married the prince. She was shut in the tower at the age of twelve and met the prince two years later, agreeing to be his wife immediately. Love at first sight?
- Frog Prince - was not changed by a kiss, but by being thrown at a wall by the princess when he asked her to take him to her bed because he was tired. Frustrated by the whole deal she made with him, the princess tossed him at the wall, trying to dumb him and he turned into a prince and married her. Tough love.
- Sleeping beauty - was not saved by a kiss. When the prince entered the castle the curse was exactly running out, since 100 years had passed on that day. When the prince kissed her, Sleeping Beauty, or Briar Rose, was just waking up.
There are plenty more examples of course, and I do believe the versions we have today are somewhat nicer and more romantic. But it's nice to know where they came from, right?
Author of Funny Fairy Tales
"Fairy Tale Origins Thousands of Years Old, Researchers Say." BBC News. BBC, 20 Jan. 2016. Web. 01 June 2017.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. "The Project Gutenberg EBook of Grimms' Fairy Tales, by The Brothers Grimm." The Project Gutenberg EBook of Grimms' Fairy Tales, by The Brothers Grimm. Trans. Edgar Taylor and Marian Edwardes. N.p., 14 Dec. 2008. Web.