Wednesday 29 August 2012

born stubborn....

I think I've talked about this before, but I love the Grimm fairy tales.  The original, unadulterated ones, that is.  Forget the saccharine rubbish pedalled by Disney, with their ludicrous fantasy castles and a world filled with beautiful princesses, fairy godmothers and frogs that turn into prince charmings.... life is nasty, brutish and short, and you might as well learn that in your bedside stories.

Mind you, even by the standards of the Grimms, the tale of the Willful Child is an absolute belter (even better than the unfortunate story of the foolish mouse who thought it might be a good idea to share a house with a cat...).

Here is the tale of the Wilful Child, in its entirety:

"Once upon a time there was a child who was willful and did not do what his mother wanted. For this reason God was displeased with him and caused him to become ill, and no doctor could help him, and in a short time he lay on his deathbed.
He was lowered into a grave and covered with earth, but his little arm suddenly came forth and reached up, and it didn't help when they put it back in and put fresh earth over it, for the little arm always came out again. So the mother herself had to go to the grave and beat the little arm with a switch, and as soon as she had done that, it withdrew, and the child finally came to rest beneath the earth".

Outstanding!  Short and not in the least bit sweet, eh?  I very much look forward to any potential Disney adaptation.

For some reason, I am reminded of this:

"....I'm getting better"
"No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment"

Ah.  They don't make fairy stories like this any more.  If they did, Bella wouldn't have made it past the first book.  If she did survive, she certainly wouldn't have kept her virtue intact....


  1. A lot of people vaguely remember the step-sisters in Cinderella hacked at their feet to try and get the glass slipper to fit.

    But many are not aware that the step-mother and the evil witch in Hansel and Gretal are one and the same. The Step-Mother convinces the father to take them to the forest and leave them there. Once the witch is baked in her own oven, and the children make it home, the step-mother is... nowhere to be found?

    Or perhaps thats just my rendition of it.

  2. Funny you should mention that, actually. Apparently, in its original version, the Grimms actually made the woman their biological mother, but got cold feet and found it easier to deal with a step mother, as the idea that the woman who gave birth to those kids would be capable of that kind of thing was abhorrent (even more so!).
    I'm pretty sure that you're right about the insinuation too.
    Great stories, eh?