Friday, December 16, 2011

Fairy Tale Friday #10: Cannibalism

In my previous Fairy Tale Friday post about Creepy Villains, I wrote about the witch who likes to eat children in "Hansel and Gretel." That led me to thinking about cannibalism as a separate topic. Since I have talked about the witch in "Hansel and Gretel" and my theories of her cannibalistic ways, I won't talk about her character again. If you want, you may read what I wrote here: http://chenyanchang.blogspot.com/2011/12/fairy-tale-friday-9-creepy-villains.html.

I will discuss cannibalism in other fairy tales.

First of all, Cannibalism is so wrong. People eating people. It's psychotic. Mad, even. Anyone remember the "Don't Come Around Here No More" music video by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers? The whole tea party, hosted by the Mad Hatter, eats Alice like a piece of cake!




This music video creeped me out when I was younger! A tea party supposed to be a delightful event. Instead of being a guest, Alice becomes the dessert!

When people think about cannibalism in fairy tales, the Evil Queen in "Snow White" comes up.


"Snow White"



In the story, the Evil Queen wants Snow White killed because of her stepdaughter's beauty. She orders the Huntsman to bring back Snow White's heart. (In another version, the lungs and liver.) Instead of killing the girl, the Huntsman kills the boar. The Evil Queen eats what she believes to be Snow White's heart.

The queen is evil AND cannibalistic. Why would she eat a human heart? It's possible that she's eating Snow White's life, taking it for her own. Or she's eating Snow White's beauty, also taking it for her own.

(Heart represents life and love.)
(Lungs represents breath of life.)
(Liver represents love in the medieval times.)

In my Creepy Villains post in regards to the witch, I did mention Countess Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed, the woman who was accused of killing hundreds of girls and bathing in their blood. The legend has it that she's soaking in their blood to retain her youth and beauty. I can imagine the Evil Queen in this position, wanting to kill any girl more beautiful than her and bathe in their blood.

Ooh, that's creepy!
I'm really creeping myself out!


"Sun, Moon, and Talia"



In Giambattista Basile's version of "Sleeping Beauty," the king's wife is not a cannibal but she tries to make her husband one. The wife finds out that the king is having an affair with Talia (Sleeping Beauty). This affair produces two children: Sun and Moon. So the wife orders her cook to kill the children and serve them to the king. The cook serves lambs instead. The wife is all giddy as she watches her husband eat what she believes to be the bastard children.

Why does the wife want her husband to eat his children? They aren't the wife's children with the king. She doesn't want them around obviously. Maybe she doesn't want them to inherit anything. And why must she feed them to the king? Maybe she wants the children to go back into him since he's the one to produce them.

This event reminds me of the Greek myth where Kronos eats his children as soon as they are born so they won't overthrow him as the king. Maybe the wife in "Sun, Moon, and Talia" doesn't want the bastard children to become the future leaders because she wants her own children to be the next in line. (In the story, she doesn't have any children yet.)


"The Juniper Tree"



The new wife doesn't want her stepson to inherit everything. She wants her own daughter to. So she beheads her stepson and tricks her daughter into thinking that she killed him herself. Then the wife turns the stepson into stew (or blood pudding) and serves it to her husband. The husband actually eats his son.

In this tale, the wife, once again, tries to feed the husband's birth child to him. Here, she doesn't want the stepson to inherit everything. To prevent that, the child is killed and eaten. Kronos reminder again.

7 comments:

Burgandy Ice said...

Ugh!! I thought you were going to find happier themes for the Christmas Season!!! Lol. This is creepy, alright, and amazing how many references you found. Double-ugh!!

primrose said...

The music video creeped me out too. We have another fairy tale in my country where the stepmom turned her husband's old wife into a fish and then cook her. Yikes!

Kulsuma said...

No one likes to think about it, but cannibalism was a big part of society in olden times. But yes, this is unappetising!

FairyWhispers said...

sigh, most faerie tales are disgustingly dark no matter what.

LisaILJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LisaILJ said...

what a happy x-mas post. I noticed Hansel and Gretel in your into post. One of the more "fun" cannibalism stories of course is our favorite Demon Barber of Fleet Street and his BFF.

I never minded the TP video. I don't know what that says about me.

leyser73 at yahoo dot com

Sophia Rose said...

Oh, my tummy was churning just reading about such atrocities even if they are stories.

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