We all remember fairy tales from our childhood. They were sweet and cute, had a princess and a prince, a frog and a witch, and they all lived happily ever after. The bad guys always got what was coming to them in the end, but it was never a thing to dwell on. We don't want to sully the happiness by thinking too much about what befell them.
When I was little, I really loved Sleeping Beauty. To be totally honest, it was always Maleficent I really loved and now, as an adult with many tattoos, her likeness can be found on the flesh of my left lower leg. The animated Disney film was all sweetness and light for it's mostly child-filled audience, but even as a small one, it was the darker side I enjoyed much more than anything. I liked her cloak and magical staff and I wanted a pet crow. What am I saying? Wanted? I still do want a pet crow.
When I got a little older, I found out about the origins of those lovely children's films and books, the more dark and creepy versions that the cute stuff was based on. Many of them are based on the Grimm Brothers stories, which are so dark that they can't even be changed into anything fit for kids. One story I have read is called The Death of The Little Hen. This story involves plenty of animals, but they don't sing, dance, or tidy your house. The hen dies by choking to death. The other animals decide to hold a funeral and march her coffin along a road and over a river. Along the way, the funeral party keep dying until there is only the cock left to bury the hen. He does so and then dies, too. Such a happy day.
However, Sleeping Beauty was not actually based on a Grimm story to start with. The earliest version of Sleeping Beauty is actually called Sun, Moon, and Talia (Sole, Luna, e Talia) and is an Italian literary fairy tale written by Giambattista Basile in 1634. The story contains some pretty graphic details that, not surprisingly, didn't make it to the animators studio.
Talia does become unconscious due to a curse and a spindle and is left in the castle. She is found by the prince, who isn't coming to rescue her, and he rapes her and leaves her there. She is pregnant with twins and small, magical creatures help her give birth and nurse while still sleeping. She wakes because of one of the babies, nothing to do with a kiss, and when the prince one day returns to see what became of her, they fall in love (like you do with your rapist) even though he is already married. She basically becomes his bit on the side and then all manor of Jeremy Kyle shit goes down, including murder plots, forced cannibalism, and burning people alive.
I recorded a reading of this wonderfully horrific story and am quite surprised to find it's the most watched video I have by far on my small horror story channel. It seems people out there really do love an old scare as much as I do. There are a good few of these old originals out there to find, but so far this has to be, hands down, the most messed up one I have found so far. I can only imagine what the early beginnings of Hansel and Gretel were like.
So, if you are ever in the mood for a fairy tale before bed, better keep to the Disney version, because the originals will give you nightmares.