How Grimm Can It Get?

By Tammy Trail

Fairytales. A staple of most childhoods are stories read at bedtime to inspire magic and sweet dreams. But I have researched some of my favorite ones only to find that they did not all have happily-ever-after endings.

The story of Sleeping Beauty is not one that inspires sleeping very soundly at all. It is a romantic tale of magical enchantments given to a child, in addition to a terrible curse hanging over her head. It’s a perfect example of suspense found in the life of a girl who is caught up in a whirlwind of good versus evil. (But let’s not forget the handsome prince who saves the day on his dashing steed.)

Fairytales are first and foremost entertainment. They are also used to teach the listener a lesson or to encourage good behavior. These stories and many others were passed down through generations as folktales told while sitting around a fire, or at bedtime.

Sleeping-Beauty-FeaturedThe original story of Cinderella also has an interesting turn of events. In 1697,  a Frenchman named Charles Perrault wrote down the first tale of Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper for publication. One hundred years later, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm happened upon these old stories and published a collection of tales. However, these German gentlemen didn’t just copy Charles Perrault word for word, but they asked storytellers like nursemaids and nannies to share what they recited before bedtime. These oratory versions would become part of the famous Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

One of my personal favorites is Hans Christian Anderson, born in Denmark in 1805. He started out writing plays, poetry, travelogues, and autobiographies. His fairytales finally got some notice in 1845 when they were translated into English. That’s when the British fell in love with his stories, prompting his friendship with Charles Dickens. Later, he also influenced A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter in their writing endeavors.

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In my opinion, I like Mr. Anderson the best, and I have several favorites by this author. The Princess and the Pea and The Snow Queen were my favorites growing up. (Speaking of The Snow Queen, that story has become very popular in recent years–now known as Frozen.)

As you know, Walt Disney has a way with these stories like no one else. His company has continually turned out versions of these tales, which I think their authors would be proud to see have come to life. Generations of children now learn these stories, along with songs to memorize and enjoy.

One of my favorite television shows to watch when I have the time is “Once Upon a Time.” I love its entertaining plots, twist and turns, and characterizations. I think it has become another example of our beloved fairytales, given new exposure and updates in contemporary dialect.

For me, fairytales were my first introduction to romance. Who could resist a damsel in distress, or the handsome hero who comes to her rescue? I think writing a good romance is a bit like writing your own fairytale, and the best part is that you have control over writing the ending.

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Writing Prompt: Enter for a chance to win in our June Blogaversary!

Which Disney character is your favorite?

photos courtesy of google images

3 thoughts on “How Grimm Can It Get?

  1. I think it’s interesting how drastically Disney usually changes the stories. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but you have to squint pretty hard to see the connection between Frozen and the Snow Queen. 😉 And I doubt the movie would have gone over so well if they’d stuck to the original ending of The Little Mermaid. But that makes me have to be specific when it comes to favorites. See, my favorite Disney character is Belle from Beauty & the Beast. But the original fairly tale? I don’t know… it’s okay and yet I’ve always had a squirmy feeling about it that makes me not like it much. But the Disney version – her love of books, her backbone to stand up for herself and others, her ability to see below the surface not just with the Beast but with the other enchanted castle tenants – I like her a lot.

    • I agree with you about Belle! Did you know it was written by a French woman? I didn’t know that until I had done a bit of research on fairytales. I didn’t much care or the original ending of The Little Mermaid! The original Sleeping Beauty would give on nightmare! Some changes are for the good.

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