Saturday, January 27

On stories Grimm


Then he looked at her foot and saw how the blood was trickling from it. He turned his horse round and took the false bride home again, and said she was not the true one, and that the other sister was to put the shoe on. Then this one went into her chamber and got her toes safely into the shoe, but her heel was too large. So her mother gave her a knife and said, cut a bit off your heel, when you are queen you will have no more need to go on foot. The maiden cut a bit off her heel, forced her foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the king's son.

And so goes the story of Cinderella, not the sanitized, expurgated versions that our children have been exposed to, but the raw, undiluted versions that were intended for the masses, not necessarily for the tender ears of children.

The Grimm fairytales were much darker than the family friendly renditions that came later. They were full of blood and mutilation, torture and torment. No dancing dwarves, no fairy Godmothers.

As punishment for her wicked ways, a pair of heated iron shoes were brought forth with tongs and placed before the Queen. She was then forced to step into the red-hot shoes and dance until she fell down dead. Snow White

Enough to give a child nightmares. I had forgotten how dark the Grimm stories were. Strange to re-read these stories, so beloved in youth, and realize that they were so dark and nightmarish that I would be doubtful to let young children read them.

Yet they were moral stories and powerful in their convictions.

I wonder if we are not doing our children a disservice by feeding them the watered down versions. After all, we loved them. We learned so much from them. Why should we fear to expose our children to them?

This has been just another drop in the ocean of useless knowledge.

Snow, Glass, Apples:
the story of Snow White


Pyrhonik said...

Cuz there is no meaner animal on this planet than the human. Awareness of cruelty is what steals innocence and we usually try very hard to preserve that in our children. Cuz few make it to the teen years with it still intact and that is the doing of society without help from us and the Brothers Grimm.

Great post :)

Pyrhonik said...

I just realized that you switched over to the beta. I hope it was painless other than losing halo. Still think you should have gone wordpress. But either way it is sweet to know ya :)

Tricia said...

P, were you ever a child?
Children can be much crueler than any other creature. At least as I recall. Best they learn the lessons of the virtues of kindness and honesty early don't you think? That you cannot judge anyone by their looks and that jealousy and vanity are not traits to be desired.

However the stories are so much darker than I recall from reading them as a child. Funny how the mind absorbed the lesson but rejected the brutality.

And I didn't switch to beta, I simply found a temporary way around the switch.

I boggled Blogger, but I'm sure it will only be temporary.

You are thoroughly thrashing me in Scrabble. Damn it man! You are truly a word slut! I may have to show you my pimp hand soon.

Pyrhonik said...


Pyrhonik said...

Perhaps as children, our innocent minds prevent us from grasping the brutality. If true, then the stories told at a young enough or innocent enough age will be effective without damaging.

Tricia said...

You used all of your letters in the first round!

Complete total fucker!

For that you'll be walking my plank!

Pyrhonik said...

I am most fond of this avatar!

Tricia said...

Looks like by hook or by crook to me. That's what I get for playing scrabble with a pirate.

Pyrhonik said...

I've just been unusually lucky so far :)

Anonymous said...

pyrhonik... I'm actually reading Alice Miller about education we provide to our child... and preserving them from cruelty isn't what I see in that... I thik our cruelty is so engraved into us that we don't see it anymore... It is scary... ;-(

Pyrhonik said...

There is certainly evidence that we have become complacent with an ever increasing amount of accepted brutality in general life. The filters for public mediums has changed tremendously in the last twenty years. I think society has begun to reflect the ramifications of this complacency. I'm not trying to put a large problem in a nutshell here, just shining light on what I think is a significant contribution to the overall issues of child education today. This is a very big topic that will chew up Tricia's comment space unnecessarily. But thanks for the point.