The Violent and Weird Side of Grimm's Fairy Tales: Part Four

By this part of my messed up Grimm's series, it is pretty well established that the fairy tales the Grimm's collected for their book were not the type of fairy tales we let children enjoy today. The morals of these stories had a lot to do with being eaten by strangers, or starved thanks to a greedy friend or foe. These were very real dangers in the cultures they came from, surely. Nowadays, people are just afraid that teaching their children these lessons will give them nightmares. I do not blame them. Here are a few more examples of frightening fairy tales.

Tom Thumb

Tom Thumb is an ordinary boy of extraordinary size. He has two normal sized parents that love him very much, though he is quite small. His size comes in handy when a few men purchase him from his father at Tom's urging. He escapes and eventually wounds up being eaten by a cow. The cow is slaughtered and Tom is eaten with the cow's intestines by a wolf. In the end, he is saved by his father, who beheads the fox and picks the boy out from among its entrails.


Rumpelstiltskin is the story of a girl and a hobgoblin. In the beginning, the maiden's father brags that she can spin gold out of straw; she cannot. She is then kidnapped by the king, who locks her up with a bunch of straw and essentially tells her to spin it to gold or die. The first night, she trades her necklace to a hobgoblin for him to spin it to gold. The second night, she gives him a ring. On the third night, she trades him her first-born child, which it presumably wants to eat.

The maiden is married by the king, who had kidnapped her, imprisoned her and threatened her life for some gold. She has a child, but decides she does not want to give it up. The hobgoblin tells her that she has three nights to guess his name or he will take the child. She guesses his name with the help of another. He flips out so bad that his foot goes through the floor. In other versions, it is he himself who goes through the floor and he tears himself apart in a rage trying to pull himself out -- literally.

Clever Gretel

Clever Gretel is not about the girl who loved and was loved by her brother Hansel. Clever Gretel was a cruel and greedy cook. She drank wine all the time and ate too much of what she cooked. One night, she ate a guest's meal and told the guest that there was no food and that her boss was going to cut his ears off. The guest ran away in a panic. The story ends with the boss thinking the guest ran off with the chickens the cook ate and chasing him with a knife, yelling that he wants only one. The guest thinks he means one ear, but he really means one chicken. Gretel is unaffected by her morbid storytelling.

The Violent and Weird Side of Grimm's Fairy Tales: Part One

The Violent and Weird Side of Grimm's Fairy Tales: Part Two

The Violent and Weird Side of Grimm's Fairy Tales: Part Three

Shelly Barclay

No comments:

Post a Comment