Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fairy Tale Friday #4: Amputation

Oops. Not Friday anymore, but close enough :P

Since it's Halloween weekend, I'm going to have a fairy tale post about the darker parts of fairy tales, specifically amputation! Fairy tales were originally intended for adults, not children. There was sex, violence, incest, murder, etc. Of course, nowadays, those fairy tales had been cleaned up for the children. (Look at all those Disney movies.)

In "Cinderella," remember how Cinderella's stepsisters try on the glass slipper so they can marry the prince?

The Grimm Brothers version: The stepsisters obviously can't fit into the glass slipper so they cut off parts of their feet to do so. On the first day, one sister cut off her heel. The next day, the other sister cut off a toe. And it becomes a very bloody mess just to bag a prince. It's kinda stupid of the prince to not notice the bloody foot each time when he rides away with one of them. A bird has to tell him.

Let's move on to "The Red Shoes" by Hans Christian Andersen. There's a girl who always wears her red shoes. She's a mean and unappreciative girl who pissed off a lot of people. One day, she can't stop dancing and she can't take off her red shoes. It's punishment for her appalling behavior. It comes to  a point where she asks someone to chop off her feet. Chop. Chop. Chop. And she finally stops dancing...although the red shoes continue to dance with her amputated feet.

Now let's talk about a gory fairy tale called "The Girl Without Hands" by the Grimm Brothers. A devil offers a poor miller wealth for whatever's behind a mill. Thinking it's just a tree, the miller agrees. But no! It's his daughter! But since she's kept herself sinless and her hands clean, the devil can't take her. Instead, the devil threatens to take her father if he doesn't chop off her hands. So she lets him chop off her hands. Oh, what an awesome daughter!

So what's with all these chopped off body parts?

1. The stepsisters did it to get the prince. (Greed)
2. The girl with the red shoes did it to stop dancing. (Punishment)
3. The miller's daughter did it to save her father. (Sacrifice)

In these three different tales, amputation is used in different ways to affect an outcome. All girls in real life will come to a point where they make important decisions in their lives and live with those decisions. In these fairy tales, these girls make their decisions whether it's selfish or not. How they perform their lives after those decisions becomes important.

1. The stepsisters don't learn their lesson so they are blinded by the birds.
2. The girl with the red shoes wants to change and asks for mercy. In the end, she goes to heaven.
3. The miller's daughter is rewarded for her sacrifice by marrying a king and giving birth to a son, and by the end of the story, God gives back her natural hands.


Burgandy Ice said...

hahaha This is so GROSS!! I recently read The Stepsister Scheme where Cinderella's sisters did cut off their heels and were attacked by birds. I hadn't realized those were parts of the original stories! Sleeping Beauty was more correct, too, having been raped and awoke giving birth. Have you read Jim C Hines' books? Here the link to my review w/ some of their info.

If it's ok, I'd like to post about your blog on mine as my "fav new find". It would be really cool if you could tell me about what you're writing and how you know all this gritty stuff about fairy tales... and anything else you like!! My email's burgandyice at live dot com

I found your site b/c you entered my Giveaway - which, thx, btw!!

Munnaza said...

I've always been generally aware of the actaul versions of the fairy tales, but I think my mind has just grown SO accustomed to Disney that it tends to erase those bits every time I hear about them again.

I think it's hilarious (and so strange)that the Prince in Cinderella never really noticed that people with bloody feet were claiming the shoe actually fit. (also, eeeeeeep, that must be so painful!)

Red Shoes and The Girl Without Hands sound way too gruesome for my taste. Haha, yeah, I think I'll stick to my cleaned off Disney versions. XD

Though I love (in that I think it's so weird) how extreme these actions are for the outcomes the characters wanted to attain. Cutting off your feet to stop dancing? O__O

I guess that's how the original tales intended to teach lessons.

I still find it extreme, but interesting.

Kulsuma said...

I have read this version of Cinderella, of course I was filled with disgust! I wonder if there is still a proper adult collection of these fairy tales in all their gory glory!

FairyWhispers said...

omigosh, the posters are good!


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