The Origins of These Famous Fairy Tales Might Just Ruin Your Childhood (2022)

The Origins of These Famous Fairy Tales Might Just Ruin Your Childhood (1)

Growing up, we heard of different fairy tales where we pick up important lessons from our favorite characters’ adventures: braveness, taking risks, and love. These stories are oftentimes magical and would lead to a happily ever after. However, they aren’t really as happy as we think. Check out these stories behind our favorite famous fairy tales, which will make you thankful that you didn’t have to endure them as a kid:

The Little Mermaid

The Origins of These Famous Fairy Tales Might Just Ruin Your Childhood (2)

What we know: “I want to be where the people are; I want to see ‘em dancin’ walking around on those (what do you call them?) Oh – feet…” Ariel is a mermaid who dreams of becoming human and falls in love with a handsome prince, Eric, after saving him from a shipwreck. Eric promises she’ll find the girl who sang to her. She makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula to turn her fins into human legs and feet, even if it means she’ll lose her voice. The sea witch gives Ariel 3 days to get a true love’s kiss from Prince Eric for her to permanently become human. After different trials and defeating Ursula, Ariel still became permanently human, thanks to her father’s approval of their marriage.

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The real story: Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the same name pretty much has the same premise, but the mermaid loses more than just her voice in her deal with the sea witch. In Andersen’s tale, every step the mermaid takes with her human feet felt like walking on shattered glass, and if she doesn’t get true love’s kiss by a certain time, she would die. And she doesn’t end up with the prince — he ends up marrying someone else. The sea witch tells her that she can turn back into a mermaid again if she kills him. But she doesn’t have the heart to stab the prince and his sleeping wife and instead, throws the knife and herself into the sea. She turns into sea foam and becomes a spirit of the air.

Sleeping Beauty

What we know: In the Disney film, we know Aurora as a beautiful princess who was cursed by evil fairy Maleficent. According to the curse, she will prick her finger on the spindle on her 16th birthday and die. Afraid of the curse, Aurora’s parents send her off to live with her three fairy godmothers. However, the curse still unfolded itself and Aurora falls into a deep slumber, only to be awakened by the prince’s kiss.

The real story: Sleeping Beauty, originally known as Sleeping Beauty in the Woods, is a 17th-century Italian tale about a princess named Talia. Like the Disney version, the original has a tragic prophecy as well. But the rest of the story is truly horrifying. It’s not a prince that “rescues” her but a king. While in her deep sleep, Talia is raped, gets pregnant, and gives birth to twins. She only wakes up after one of the twins sucks the splinter from her finger. She falls in love with the married king and in anger, the queen asks for the twins to be kidnapped, cooked, and fed to their clueless father.

The Origins of These Famous Fairy Tales Might Just Ruin Your Childhood (3)


Cinderella

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What we know: After the death of her father, Cinderella is left with her stepmother and two stepsisters who made her their maid. With the help of her fairy godmother, Cinderella is able to attend their kingdom’s ball where she wears the most beautiful gown and glass slippers. However, the magic only lasts until midnight and she’s forced to leave in a hurry, leaving one of her glass slippers behind. The prince then searches the whole kingdom, asking every woman to fit the glass slipper and they finally found Cinderella.

The real story: In the Grimm Brothers version, Cinderella doesn’t have a fairy godmother, but a magical tree by her mother’s grave where she prays every day. She didn’t lose one of her slippers because she was in a rush — it was all the prince’s doing. The ball wasn’t a one-night event, but a three-day affair. On the last day, the prince has the stairs covered in pitch to make Cinderella stick to it when she tries to run away. Then it gets gruesome. Determined to marry the prince, Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off their toes and heels, to squeeze their feet into the slipper. The doves notify the prince of the blood-covered slippers, leading him to Cinderella. The stepsisters try to befriend her, but ended up having their eyes pecked out by the same birds.

Snow White

What we know: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Snow White is the kingdom’s fairest lady, so the jealous queen asks for Snow White to be killed in the forest and have her heart taken as proof. But the huntsman fails to do it and Snow White ends up fleeing to the woods, where she befriends and lives with seven dwarves. Disguised as an old lady, the queen tricks her into eating an apple that sends her into a deep slumber. It was only a prince’s kiss that broke the curse.

The real story: The Grimm Brothers version pretty much has the same story but the queen asks for Snow White’s lungs and liver. Since the huntsman failed to kill Snow White, he brought a boar’s lungs and liver instead and the Queen ate them, thinking they’re the princess’ organs. It took the Queen three attempts to kill Snow White with the same poisoned apple and she’s placed in a glass coffin. The prince insists on taking Snow White and while transporting her, one of the carriers trips and dislodges the apple in Snow White’s throat. On the day of their marriage, they invited the queen and forced her to dance in burning-hot iron shoes until she died. In other versions of the tale, Snow White was enslaved and abused by the dwarves.

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Pinocchio

What we know: Pinocchio all taught us one big lesson: never lie unless you want your nose to grow longer. He is a wooden puppet that was brought life by a fairy. He believed that he can become a real boy if he proves himself to be unselfish and brave. However, he falls into a series of mischievous adventures and ends up joining a puppet show. Pinocchio falls into gambling, drinking, and gets trapped in an island. He still ends up being a real boy though, after he changed his behavior with the help of Jiminy Cricket who acted as his conscience.

The real story: Pinocchio is based on Carlo Collodi’s novel, The Misadventures of Pinocchio. Collodi wanted to teach kids the consequences of their bad behavior and portrayed Pinocchio as a mischievous and cruel kid. In the book, he ends up killing Jiminy Cricket with a mallet after he’s given good advice. As punishment, he was tortured in different ways.

Beauty and the Beast

What we know: Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a cursed prince who turned into a Beast and Belle, a beautiful maiden who was imprisoned in his castle. To break the spell, the Beast — who has grown distant and temperamental over the years — must learn how to love before the last petal of an enchanted rose falls. We were enchanted by singing household items that turned out to be the Beast’s servants and the important lesson that love conquers all.

The real story: Beauty and the Beast is based on the story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. There are no singing household items in the original and Belle has two older sisters. As a prisoner in the castle, Belle is only allowed to visit home once a week. But her sisters grew envious of her luxurious of Belle’s life in the castle. As a way to break them apart, the sisters came up with ways to make Belle stay longer at home to upset the Beast.

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Little Red Riding Hood

What we know: A girl wearing a red cloak travels to the woods to bring food to her sick grandmother. Along the way, she meets a wolf who distracts her by asking her to pick flowers. The wolf then rushes to the grandmother’s house, eats her, and dresses up as her just in time of the girl’s arrival.

The real story: The Grimm Brothers story has the same premise but the grandmother and girl live after being rescued by a hunter. He cuts the wolf’s belly open the women emerge unscathed. In other versions of the story, Red Riding Hood allows the wolf to eat her grandmother so she can have her properties. Another version also suggests that Red Riding Hood slept with the wolf in exchange for having her life spared.

Rapunzel

What we know: In Disney’s movie Tangled (2010) Rapunzel is a princess with long golden hair. She’s trapped in a tower by an evil witch who uses the magic from her hair to keep her youth. Rapunzel is rescued by a prince who climbed the tower using her long locks. She cuts her hair short that killed the witch and they lived happily ever after.

The real story: The prince encountered more hardships in the Grimm Brothers story. The prince impregnates Rapunzel and in anger, the witch cuts her long hair and leaves her in the desert. When the prince returned to the castle, he’s met by the witch who told him he’ll never see the princess again. In despair, the prince jumps out of the tower and pierces his eyes in the thorns, making him blind. For the next years, he wanders the streets as a poor blind man until he met Rapunzel again, who gave birth to twins. Fortunately, her tears have healing powers; the prince was able to see again and they return to his kingdom.

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What were your favorite fairy tales growing up? Tell us below!

Related Topics
  • Disney Films
  • Fairy tales

FAQs

What is the origin of fairy tales? ›

Roots of the genre come from different oral stories passed down in European cultures. The genre was first marked out by writers of the Renaissance, such as Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, and stabilized through the works of later collectors such as Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm.

Why are fairy tales important to childhood? ›

Based on the Jungian interpretation, fairy tales teach children how to deal with basic human conflicts, desires, and relationships in a healthy way; acquiring these skills can ultimately impact a child's health, quality of life, or even influence its values and beliefs in the future.

What is the true meaning of fairy tales? ›

Some fairy tales are based on legends that incorporated a spiritual belief of the culture in which they originated and were meant to imitate truth. However, many fairy tales and the legends behind them are actually the diluted version of uncomfortable and gruesome historical events.

What kind of story is a fairy tale? ›

A fairytale is a Genre of magical story, usually originating in folklore. Typically in European fairy tales, a poor, brave, and resourceful hero or heroine goes through testing adventures to eventual good fortune.

What are the top 20 fairy tales? ›

Here are the top 20 stories parents change:
  • Little Red Riding Hood.
  • The Three Little Pigs.
  • The Gingerbread Man.
  • Hansel and Gretel.
  • The Ugly Duckling.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • Beauty and the Beast.
  • Cinderella.
15 May 2018

Is fairy tale one word? ›

When used as a noun, fairy tale is two words without a hyphen. Example: Mom told me a fairy tale about a princess who turned into a fairy. However, when it is used as an adjective to describe a noun, it has a hyphen and looks like this: fairy-tale. Example: Her fairy-tale wedding must have cost a fortune.

What is the first fairy tale? ›

Danish experts believe they have found the first fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). Titled "Tællelyset" (The Tallow Candle), the ink-written manuscript was found by local historian Esben Brage at the bottom of an archive box.

Are fairytales good for children? ›

Fairytales help children to understand the world around them. They come to know what virtue is and what vices are. Preschool experts say that fairy tales are important because they allow children to experience things in their minds before they experience them in the real world.

What can you learn from reading fairy tales? ›

Fairy tales teach children about story structure

Understanding how stories work is important to developing reading comprehension. Fairy tales follow a clear beginning (once upon a time…), middle (problem) and an end (and they lived happily ever after).

Why do we love fairy tales? ›

Fairy tales help us break boundaries of time and culture. And fairy tales feed our imaginations. The wondrous is matter of fact in these tales, so we are encouraged to look for wonder in our own lives. We are given permission to see the world as one of possibility.

Do fairy tales affect children's perception of reality essay? ›

Yes. A child's experience of reality combined with fantastic phenomena in fairy tales leads to many reflections and conceptions about reality. Every fairy tale has a lesson about how life works.

How do fairy tales influence society? ›

With the use of both traditional and modern day texts, it becomes evident that fairy tales have an overwhelming impact on readers. Their themes, settings, characters, and plots promote relevant expectations and ideals society expects individuals to maintain throughout their life.

Do fairy tales have truth? ›

Your story is make-believe and unreliable. It has nothing to do with reality and experience. Fairy tale is thus turned into some kind of trivial story – silly, infantile, not to be believed. Moreover, fairy tales are allegedly for children, amusing stories to pass the time away and to be dismissed.

Are fairies in real life? ›

Fairies are tiny, often beautiful human-like creatures (sometimes with wings) that appear in legends and folklore around the world. Fairies likely began as versions of pagan nature gods and goddesses, and thus they are often associated with the outdoors (especially forests), as well as magic and journeys.

Are fairy tale stories real? ›

Fairy tales are stories that have been passed down through generations, many of which have inspired some of the most beloved movies of all time. However, some of these magical stories might not have come out of nowhere — many have some relation to real historical figures and events.

How old are fairytales? ›

If the analysis is correct, it would mean the oldest fairy tales still in circulation today are between 2500 and 6000 years old. Other stories seem to be much younger, appearing for the first time in more modern branches of the language tree.

What is Title in story? ›

A title is a story's first impression. People make a first impression with appearance, wardrobe and body language. Stories do it with a title. So I think titles are extremely important. A title creates anticipation and expectation or, perhaps, disinterest.

What is the message of the story or poem? ›

The term theme can be defined as the underlying meaning of a story. It is the message the writer is trying to convey through the story. Often the theme of a story is a broad message about life. The theme of a story is important because a story's theme is part of the reason why the author wrote the story.

Who is the most famous fairy? ›

1. The Fairy Godmother (Cinderella) Cinderella is allegedly the world's favourite fairy tale, with hundreds of versions around the globe. Not all feature the fairy godmother, but she is in the version most of us know best and remember from our earliest days, whether from books, film, pantomime or ballet.

What is your Favourite fairy tale? ›

My favourite fairy tale is cinderella. She is very beautifull and hardworking . She lived with her step mom who was very cruel and two step sisters. They all were vary mean to cinderella but Cinderella was very kind and all animals loved her.

What is a fairy tale example? ›

A fairy tale is a magical story for children, like "Cinderella" or "Rumpelstiltskin." If you read a story that begins, "Once upon a time," chances are it's a fairy tale. A story doesn't have to include any fairies at all to be considered a fairy tale.

How do fairy tales end? ›

How do you end a fairy tale? Classic fairy tales end traditionally in the standard fairy tale ending phrase, “happily ever after” or “and they lived happily ever after”. However, there are many fairy tales that only had this ending added later or lacked it at all.

What are the 5 elements of a fairy tale? ›

Fairy Tales
  • THE MORAL LESSON.
  • CHARACTERS.
  • MAGIC.
  • OBSTACLES OR TASKS.
  • HAPPILY EVER AFTER...
4 days ago

Why are fairy tales written? ›

Like all stories, fairy tales are meant to entertain, but that's secondary. Unlike today's novels, their main purpose is to give a moral in a way the audience will remember. They exist to teach a clear lesson.

What is the most famous fairy tale story? ›

5 WORLD-FAVORITE FAIRY TALES
  • Cinderella. Cinderella is a young woman who lives with her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. ...
  • Beauty and the Beast. Like many other fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast contains characters of royalty. ...
  • Hansel and Gretel. ...
  • The Emperor's New Clothes. ...
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

What is the greatest fairy tale of all time? ›

10 of the Best Fairy Tales Everyone Should Read
  • The greatest fairy stories – selected by Dr Oliver Tearle.
  • 'Puss in Boots'. ...
  • 'Rumpelstiltskin'. ...
  • 'Rapunzel'. ...
  • 'The Frog Prince'. ...
  • 'The Snow Queen'. ...
  • 'Sleeping Beauty'. ...
  • 'Cinderella'.

Do all fairy tales have happy endings? ›

Most fairy tales are full of darkness and violence, and as often as not do not end happily. “The good end happily, the bad unhappily, that is what fiction means,” as Oscar Wilde put it. Almost all of his own fairytales have miserable endings.

Why fairy tales are important for adults? ›

They convey messages of overcoming adversity, rising from rags to riches, and the benefits of courage. Fairy tales are also extremely moral in their demarcation between good and evil, right and wrong. Their justice references the ancient tradition of an eye for an eye, and their punishments are ruthless and complete.

What message do fairy tales send? ›

Fairy tales and fables teach us about society, class, relationships, emotions, values, vices, and sure: good and evil. Animated movies or live action remakes still draw many people to the big screen, and for good reason.

Why are fairy tales still relevant today? ›

Through fairy tales, children are given opportunities to imagine and think creatively. Imagination fosters social-emotional development, which in turn develops critical thinking in children and cultivates creative problem-solving abilities.

What is a good name for a fairy? ›

Enchanted Fairy Names for Girls
ChepiFairy (Algonquin)Native American
ElveniaElf or magical being, friendEnglish
EnsleySolitary clearingScottish
FayettaLittle fairyFrench
FayetteLittle fairyFrench
10 more rows

Do fairy tales have morals? ›

What are some morals in fairy tales? All fairy tales attempt to help people know how to be good people. This can be cautionary like "do not judge a book by its cover" or prescriptive like "be kind to others regardless of who they are."

What makes a fairy tale different from other stories? ›

While a folk tale derives its story from real-life phenomena, fairytales are made up. Simply put, a folk tale is a story with a basis in events that are true-to-life, while fairytales are works of fiction. Both fairytales and folk tales are instructive; they leave the reader or listener with a few lessons.

What was the very first fairy tale? ›

Danish experts believe they have found the first fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). Titled "Tællelyset" (The Tallow Candle), the ink-written manuscript was found by local historian Esben Brage at the bottom of an archive box.

What is the oldest fairytale? ›

What is the oldest fairy tale? "Rumpelstiltskin" and "Beauty and the Beast" are two of the oldest. They're said to be around 4,000 years old.

Who are fairy tales written for? ›

A fairy tale is a story, often intended for children, that features fanciful and wondrous characters such as elves, goblins, wizards, and even, but not necessarily, fairies.

How old is a fairy? ›

If you want to count Fairy years by when a Fairy's age is equivalent to a human's, multiply X number of human years by 11,250. That's about 12,000 Fairy years to 12 human months. You can also divide a Fairy's age by 11,250 to translate their age into human years.

Is fairy tale one word? ›

When used as a noun, fairy tale is two words without a hyphen. Example: Mom told me a fairy tale about a princess who turned into a fairy. However, when it is used as an adjective to describe a noun, it has a hyphen and looks like this: fairy-tale. Example: Her fairy-tale wedding must have cost a fortune.

What are the 5 elements of a fairy tale? ›

Fairy Tales
  • THE MORAL LESSON.
  • CHARACTERS.
  • MAGIC.
  • OBSTACLES OR TASKS.
  • HAPPILY EVER AFTER...
4 days ago

What is the saddest fairy tale? ›

The Story of a Mother

This fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen is one of the saddest of his fairy tales and explains the lengths a mother goes for the life of her child. The tale was first published December 1847.

What is the most famous fairy tale story? ›

5 WORLD-FAVORITE FAIRY TALES
  • Cinderella. Cinderella is a young woman who lives with her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. ...
  • Beauty and the Beast. Like many other fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast contains characters of royalty. ...
  • Hansel and Gretel. ...
  • The Emperor's New Clothes. ...
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

What is a good name for a fairy? ›

Enchanted Fairy Names for Girls
ChepiFairy (Algonquin)Native American
ElveniaElf or magical being, friendEnglish
EnsleySolitary clearingScottish
FayettaLittle fairyFrench
FayetteLittle fairyFrench
10 more rows

Are fairy tales good? ›

These stories are more than just happily ever after, they portray real moral lessons thru characters and virtue shown in the stories. They do not only captivate the imagination of young minds, but also enhances their creativity and reasoning skills. A child learns a lot by simply listening to these amazing stories.

How do fairy tales end? ›

How do you end a fairy tale? Classic fairy tales end traditionally in the standard fairy tale ending phrase, “happily ever after” or “and they lived happily ever after”. However, there are many fairy tales that only had this ending added later or lacked it at all.

When did Fairy Tail end? ›

Fairy Tail ended back in 2019, with over 300 episodes to its name. However, in 2018 creator Mashima and artist Atsuo Ueda continued the story in the form of a sequel called Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest.

How long is Fairy Tail? ›

Fairy Tail is a rarity in the JRPG scene in that the game doesn't take eons to finish. You're looking at 20-25 hours for the main story. Koei Tecmo's recently released Fairy Tail is a JRPG developed by Gust Co. LTD, known for the Atelier Ryza series.

How old are the Fairy Tail characters? ›

13/13 Fairy Tail Character Chart
Character NameAgeBirthday
Natsu Dragneel18-19 (400+ chronologically)January 16 X765 (July 7, X300)
Lucy Heartfilia17July 1, X767
Happy6June 20, X778
Gray Fullbuster18February 13, X766
8 more rows
26 Oct 2021

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