From Cinderella to the Little Mermaid, the origins behind our favourite Disney princesses are more shocking and violent than we know. Here are some of the original story lines of Disney classics.
The Disney version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a fairly faithful retelling of the original fairy tale that appears in the Brothers Grimm collection, with one exception. The original story sees the evil queen attends the subsequent wedding where she is recognised by the prince and is made to dance in a pair of red-hot iron slippers until she dies.
The tale of Sleeping Beauty is also adopted from the Brothers Grimm's collection, which in turn was based on French author Charles Perrault's version. In the original story, a king comes to the princess' "rescue", not a prince. The king abuses the sleeping princess, leaving her unconscious and pregnant with twins. Later, the sleeping princess gives birth. The king's wife orders the twins to be kidnapped, cooked, and fed to the unknowing king. But luckily, she fails in her vile attempt.
In the Brothers Grimm version, Cinderella still gets her happily ever after, but her evil stepsisters get a much gorier fate. The two sisters cut off different parts of their feet in an attempt to fit into the slipper. At the end of the story, the stepsisters attend Cinderella's wedding, only to have their eyes pecked out by pigeons.
The Little Mermaid
In Hans Christian Andersen's original story of the Little Mermaid, things do not have such a rosy ending. In fact, the story is tragic throughout, with Ariel's transformation to a human putting her in constant agony, before her heart is broken when her prince marries someone else. The Sea Witch informs her that if she kills the prince she will turn back into a mermaid and live, but Ariel chooses to sacrifice herself, throwing herself into the sea and turning into sea foam.
In the original Brothers Grimm's story of Rapunzel, she has an even tougher time than in the later version. The witch holding her captive learns that a prince has been visiting her nightly. When the prince visits again, the witch pushes him from the tower. He is blinded in the fall, and wanders the wilderness until he is reunited with Rapunzel and the twins she has given birth to. Rapunzel's tears of happiness restore the prince's eyesight.