Tuesday, January 31, 2012

...And The Wicked Step-Sisters Had Their Eyes Pecked Out, But Everyone Else Lived Happily Ever After

I don't read a whole lot of magazines, particularly women's magazines.  I get tired of reading article after article about losing ten pounds while organizing your spice cupboard.  Thanks, but no thanks.

Every so often, though, I'll come across an interesting piece.  When Adelaide was a baby, I remember reading an article arguing that we should be reading traditional fairy tales to our children.  I really don't recall many specifics; something about good and bad archetypes and making your children smarter and... stuff.

Since reading that article, I've harbored the vague idea that I should read fairy tales to our kiddos at some point- and none of that namby pamby Disney stuff, I mean the originals from the likes of the brothers Grimm and Aesop.

I did have a few small reservations.  I have a very clear memory of checking out "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen from my elementary school library.  Somehow I missed the part in the Disney version where every step she takes with her new human legs feels like she's being stabbed with knives, and the part where she dies in the end and washes ashore as seafoam, because evidently that's what happens when merfolk die- they disintegrate into seafoam.  Good news, though!  Although dying here on earth, she does manage to earn an eternal soul.

It was with this in mind that I agreed to read a few stories to Adelaide from our copy of "Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales" recently.  We had read a few stories from it before, but never anything with which she was already familiar.  What she actually requested was to read it herself, but I was a little afraid of what she might come across, and wanted to reserve the right to censor as I saw fit (I know, I know, censorship is evil and blah, blah, blah).

I skimmed Cinderella, saw that it looked relatively close to her beloved Disney version, and decided we'd try it.

It was really pretty similar to the animated version with which we're so familiar, with a few distinctions, like Cinderella crying over her mother's grave, which causes a tree to grow, where a gift-giving bird lives, and the part where the two wicked step-sisters cut off parts of their feet to make them fit into the (gold, not glass) slipper.  Also the part where birds come and peck out the eyes of the sisters at Cinderella's wedding to the prince.

Sorry for ruining the ending for you.

Adelaide seemed to take this slightly less saccharine version in stride.  We both agreed it was a lot less traumatizing than treasures like "The Robber Bridegroom."

Even that one has it's merits, though- our daughter can now accurately define cannibalism!


  1. Gee...I am gonna have to read that next time I visit.

  2. I think Hansel and Gretel was probably the worst for me. I sat in the oral surgeon's office (waiting on Aaron getting his wisdom teeth removed) fuming about what a terrible father those kids had. I had to restrain myself from having a little outburst of, "HE'S ABANDONING THEM IN THE FOREST?! AGAIN!?!"

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  4. Becky- It will be waiting. (And I mean that in the least creepy and non-menacing way possible.)

    Kelli- Oh, yeah, worst father ever. You could turn that into a kind of twisted parenting technique to make yourself look really good to your kids, though, right?


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