Cinderella. Little Red Riding Hood. Jack and the Beanstalk. We all know the names and the stories, right?
But how well do most of us really know these beloved fairy tales? Today, we present ten things you might not know about the Brothers Grimm and some of the most beloved tales of all time.
2. Contrary to popular belief, the brothers didn’t wander the country, collecting the stories. Most of their sources (the majority were middle-class women) visited the brothers’ home to tell the tales.
3. Once German Popular Stories, an English translation of Grimms’ collected stories, became popular in England, the brothers edited the stories for family reading (often removing references to sex.) Hans Dumm, for example, was a story about a man who could make women pregnant by wishing it so. This story was removed entirely.
4. The “wicked stepmother” is a popular element in many fairy tales. However, in the original versions of both Snow White and Hansel and Gretel, it was the characters’ natural mother that was wicked.
5. A version of Cinderella appears in almost every language, and hundreds of different versions of the story exist.
6. Early versions of Jack the Giant Killer don’t feature a beanstalk. Many people of the time believed giants lived among them, and no beanstalk was necessary to find them.
7. In the Brothers Grimm’s version of Little Red Riding Hood, both she and her grandmother are devoured by the wolf. They’re rescued by a hunter that disembowels the wolf and replaces them with rocks in its belly.
8. In early versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (called simply The Three Bears), Goldilocks is replaced by a mean, old woman.
9. Kiss that frog? Not so fast… in some versions of The Frog Prince, the frog changes to a human when the princess hurls him against the wall.
10. Remember how Cinderella’s cruel sisters cram their feet into the glass slipper in attempt to fool the prince into marrying them? In early versions of the story, they actually chop off their heels and toes to fit into the slipper.
We’ll present more fairy tale “scandals” in a future post!