Do not write on!!! Class set! Differences Between Grimm’s and Modern Versions

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Differences Between Grimm’s and Modern Versions

Snow White (Grimm Brothers)

  • The Queen requests the lungs and liver (as well as the heart) of Snow White to eat for dinner that night.

  • Snow White is not awakened by a kiss from the prince (like the Disney version) - she is awakened when she is jostled by the horse on which her coffin is being carried by the prince.

  • The tale ends with the Queen being forced to dance to death in red hot iron shoes

Cinderella (Grimm Brothers)

  • The oldest versions of the story, the slightly more sinister Cinderella actually kills her first stepmother so her father will marry the housekeeper instead

  • The housekeeper's has six daughters not two step-sisters like the movie

  • The step-sisters of Cinderella try to cut off different parts of their feet to make them fit into the glass slippers. Including their toes & parts of their heels

  • The Prince is alerted of the step-sisters by two carrier pigeons who then peck out the step-sisters eyes. 

  • The step-sisters live as blind beggars for the rest of their lives.

The Pied Piper (Grimm Brothers)

In the tale of the Pied Piper, we have a village overrun with rats. A man arrives dressed in clothes of pied (a patchwork of colors) and offers to rid the town of the vermin. The villagers agree to pay a vast sum of money if the piper can do it – and he does. He plays music on his pipe which draws all the rats out of the town. When he returns for payment – the villagers won’t cough up so the Pied Piper decides to rid the town of children too! In most modern variants, the piper draws the children to a cave out of the town and when the townsfolk finally agree to pay up, he sends them back. In the darker original, the piper leads the children to a river where they all drown (except a lame boy who couldn’t keep up).

Rumpelstiltskin (Grimm Brothers)

This fairy tale is a little different from the others because rather than sanitizing the original, it was modified by the original author to make it more gruesome. In the original tale, Rumpelstiltskin spins straw into gold for a young girl who faces death unless she is able to perform the feat. In return, he asks for her first born child. She agrees – but when the day comes to hand over the kid, she can’t do it. Rumpelstiltskin tells her that he will let her off the bargain if she can guess his name. She overhears him singing his name by a fire and so she guesses it correctly. Rumpelstiltskin, furious, runs away, never to be seen again. But in the updated version, things are a little messier. Rumpelstiltskin is so angry that he drives his right foot deep into the ground. He then grabs his left leg and rips himself in half. Needless to say this kills him.

Hansel and Gretel (Grimm Brothers)

In the widely known version of Hansel and Gretel, we hear of two little children who become lost in the forest, eventually finding their way to a gingerbread house which belongs to a wicked witch. The children end up enslaved for a time as the witch prepares them for eating. They figure their way out and throw the witch in a fire and escape.

In an earlier French version of this tale (called The Lost Children), instead of a witch we have a devil. Now the wicked old devil is tricked by the children (in much the same way as Hansel and Gretel) but he works it out and puts together a sawhorse to put one of the children on to bleed (that isn’t an error – he really does). The children pretend not to know how to get on the sawhorse so the devil’s wife demonstrates. While she is lying down the kids slash her throat and escape.

Rapunzel (Disney’s Tangled)- (Grimm Brothers)

A pregnant woman sends her husband to a witch's garden to pick up some rapunzel (a lettuce like vegetable) since she's craving it, and tells him she'll die without it. The witch catches the husband stealing from her garden, and tells him he can take some (since he loves his wife so much,) but she gets the baby when it's born. The husband agrees, brings it back to his wife.

The baby is born; the witch takes the girl, raises her and has her hair grow very long. When the girl is old enough, the witch locks her in a tower with no exit, and only a window. The only way to get in is by having the girl, Rapunzel; throw down her hair so that the witch can climb it.

One day, a prince comes by and sees the witch climbing the hair into the tower, and after the witch leaves, he calls out, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair." She lowers her hair, he climbs up, they have an epic love story -- the prince gets the girl pregnant. Then the witch finds out about the girl’s love affair.

The witch cuts off the girl's hair, and sends her into the wild and then ties the hair up from the tower, she waits for the prince, and when he's climbing up (thinking it's his lover), she drops the hair -- and the prince. The prince is blinded in the fall, and roams the land in search of Rapunzel.

Eventually, he finds her, and she cries into his eyes. The tears cure him of his blindness. They have twins, and return to his kingdom to live happily ever after.

Sleeping Beauty (Grimm Brothers)

In the original version of the tale, it's not the kiss of a handsome prince that wakes Sleeping Beauty, but the nudging of her newborn twins. That's right. While unconscious, the princess is impregnated by a monarch and wakes up to find out she's a mom twice over. Then, Sleeping Beauty's "baby's daddy" triumphantly returns and promises to send for her and the kids later, conveniently forgetting to mention that he's married. When the trio is eventually brought to the palace, his wife tries to kill them all, but is thwarted by the king. In the end, Sleeping Beauty gets to marry the guy who violated her, and they all live happily ever after.
The Little Mermaid (written by Hans Christian Andersen)

  • In the original version, the Little Mermaid feels an indescribable amount of pain every time she takes a step - due to a curse the witch put on her after turning her into a human

  • The Little Mermaid has a mother in the original - her mother is dead in the Disney version.

  • The Captain that the mermaid falls in love with marries another woman (whom he had been in love with in the first place) - in the Disney version the Little Mermaid gets the prince!

  • The Little Mermaid's sisters offer her a knife to kill the prince so she can return to the sea in the original.

    • In the original if the prince dies she can return home unharmed

  • The Little Mermaid dies at the end (turns into sea foam) - she kinds of commits suicide - because she cannot bare to see the prince with someone else.

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