Education and Communications

10 Terrifying Origins Of Children’s Stories

– Children’s stories,
we were all told them when we were young, and they
were meant to teach us lessons and maybe even make us feel good, but as it turns out,
some of the most popular children’s tales have very dark origins. (thunder cracks)
(screaming) Here are 10 terrifying
origins of children’s stories. Number 10 is the Frog Prince. The Frog Prince is a
happy tale in which a kiss from a lonely princess
breaks an evil witch’s curse and transforms a frog into the prince that he’d previously been. However, this is not the original story. In the original tale, which often appears as the initial tale in the
Brothers Grimm collection, the prince, whose name
is Heinrich, is rude and uncaring and is cursed
because of his awfulness. As a frog, he takes
advantage of Princess Anika’s trusting nature and desire
to not lose the ball that she was playing with. He makes a deal to fetch her lost toy in exchange for
accommodations at her castle so that he can live lavishly
like he did before the curse. But while he’s laying
on the princess’s pillow and demanding a kiss, Anika is disgusted and tries to kill him,
throwing him at a wall, or in some versions, cutting off his head. Not exactly a tale you’d
want to tell your children. Number nine is Snow White. Snow White is already pretty dark, with an evil witch trying to
murder an innocent young girl, but the original 1812
story by the Brothers Grimm is actually even darker. Instead of an evil stepmother,
the villain is actually Snow White’s own biological mother and she intends to eat
the girl’s liver and lungs to enhance her own beauty. Disturbingly, the queen meets
her end when she’s captured, put into red hot iron shoes, and forced to dance in them
until she collapses dead, but perhaps the most disturbing
part of the original tale is the curing of the poison. Originally, the apple becomes
lodged in Snow White’s throat, choking her to death. When the prince passes
by her in her coffin, he decides he wants her, even
though she’s already dead. Necrophilia in a children’s story, not exactly for the kiddies. Number eight is Mulan. When Disney took on Mulan,
the tale of a female soldier who hides her gender
to protect her father, they crossed into some
controversial territory in many people’s eyes, but had they stayed true
to the original story, they would have done a lot more than just raise some eyebrows. In the original version, after
Mulan helps the emperor’s army become victorious, she
reveals herself to be a woman. She rides home, hoping to find her family relieved that she’s
safe, but what she finds is much darker and far from happy. She discovers that her
father is actually dead and her mother remarried. The Khan calls on her,
demanding that she become his concubine, which pushes her to realize that she’s survived impossible
odds, especially for a woman, so she decides that she’d
rather be with her father. The terrible story ends
with Mulan killing herself in order to join him in the afterlife. Number seven is Cinderella. While the modern takes on
the classic story Cinderella are closer than many other
tales, there are many dark and gory details that
are usually left out. In the Brothers Grimm original version, Cinderella visits the
palace multiple times, dancing with the prince before fleeing before midnight each time. However, tired of her
running off, the prince tries to catch her by putting tar on the steps, but winds up only catching her shoe. He goes looking for the
foot that perfectly fits inside of it and finds
Cinderella’s evil stepsisters, who actually cut off chunks
of their feet and toes to try to make the slipper fit. What’s even more disturbing
is that the enchanted birds realize what’s happened and
point out the fresh blood in both sisters’ stockings. However, the story’s not over. As punishment, the birds then
peck out both sisters’ eyes as Cinderella rides off
with her new fiance. Number six is Peter Pan. With a story so full
of magic and adventure, who would have ever though
that Peter Pan’s origins were so dark? The author of this beloved
story, J. M. Barrie, was the second youngest of 10 children and spent much of his youth
pretending to be someone else. That someone was his older brother David, who drowned after falling
through ice on a frozen pond when Barrie was just six years old. To keep David alive in the family’s minds, Barrie would often dress
in his brother’s clothes and even learned to whistle like him so his mother would see her lost son as someone who would be forever young. Later in life, Barrie
found himself wanting kids, but was trapped in a
bitter, childless marriage. So in a twisted turn of events, he began spending time with
another family’s children whom he told of the boy
who would never grow up. Number five is Pocahontas. Released by Disney in 1995,
Pocahontas presented a tale of overcoming diversity
in race and culture. However, this was far from the real story. Historically, John Smith
wasn’t nearly executed and saved by Pocahontas. In fact, the Powhatans were kind to him. At the time, the young
girl was only 10 years old, far too young to be
Smith’s romantic interest. In 1613, English colonists,
with the help of a rival tribe, captured Pocahontas and
murdered her husband, Kucoum. She was then presented
to the English public as a native princess who
converted to Christianity. This sad and true tale
of Pocahontas’s life came to an end in March of 1617 when she collapsed on
her way back to America at only 21 years old. Number four is The Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid is a fun tale about going the distance for love. However, in Hans Christian
Anderson’s original tale, everything was not so happy under the sea. The mermaid is never given a name, and while she does trade
her tongue for legs, her reason for it isn’t
just to be with the prince. It’s actually to go to heaven,
as mermaids don’t have souls. The catch, though, is if the
prince marries anyone else, she’ll die and become sea foam. Additionally, every step she takes on land is excruciatingly painful, as if knives were stabbing her feet. She dances on what feels like
knives, despite the pain, so that the prince will like her, but he goes and marries
another woman anyway. The mermaid is given a
chance to take it all back and become a mermaid again
if she kills the prince and lets his blood drip on her feet, but she can’t do it, so
she dies and becomes foam. Quite different from the original tale. Number three is The Wind in the Willows. You’d likely expect the characters in The Wind in the Willows
tales to be based on bright and fanciful individuals,
but that’s not the case. Creator Kenneth Graham
based the Mr. Toad character on his son, Alistair,
and while that may appear to be a proud father
writing of his son’s merits, Mr. Toad is actually a
flighty and petty individual who’s more focused on
having fun and wasting money than doing anything of
substance or being mature, no matter what the consequences are. The character didn’t
seem to ever care about what his father had given him,
not unlike Graham’s own son. Alistair was a nuisance, often
laying down in the street and making cars stop
suddenly when they saw him. However, the most
terrifying part of the story is that he wound up taking his own life by laying across tracks on
which a train ran him over, decapitating him instantly. Number two is Sleeping Beauty. Though elements of Sleeping
Beauty date back to the 1300s, an Italian version from 1634 was the base for the more modern iterations. The story Sun, Moon, and
Talia by Giambattista Basile tells of a young girl named Talia, the daughter of a lord who
falls under a sleeping spell from a sliver of flax
under her fingernail. She’s laid to rest on a bed
in one of the lord’s estates. That is, until a king hunting in the woods comes upon the house and, disgustingly, impregnates her before he
travels back to his kingdom. Talia manages to give birth to twins while still asleep, one of which manages to suck the flax out of her finger and break the spell, waking her up. But it gets worse,
because she then meets up with the rapist king, the queen
attempts to kill her kids, the king burns the queen to death, and all of them live happily ever after. And number one is The
Hunchback of Notre Dame. Disney’s version of The
Hunchback of Notre Dame can only be described as loosely based on Victor Hugo’s original tale. In that original version,
Quasimodo is so ugly that a group of women think he’s a demon and try to burn him alive. However, he’s saved by
Frolo, who years later begins lusting over a
15-year-old girl named Esmeralda. He has Quasimodo kidnap
her, but the hunchback is caught and publicly tortured. Then Frolo frames the young
woman for attempted murder. After Esmeralda herself is tortured, Quasimodo rescues her from the noose and then Frolo assaults
her, but she’s given back to the hangman and executed. Enraged, the hunchback throws
Frolo from Notre Dame tower and then crawls into a
crypt and wraps himself around Esmeralda’s dead
corpse, where he also dies. So, that was 10 terrifying
origins of children’s stories, and if you enjoyed this,
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