A dear friend ask me the other day how I had the ability to find darkness in a fairytale and employ it in my own writing.
I had to laugh at her comment and enlightened her to the mysterious workings my ever curious mind, not an easy feat to accomplish. **grin**
I grew up in Germany, as many of you know, long before the Berlin Wall tumbled down. I lived in a small town called Schweinfurt before migrating down the road to a lovely little spot called Wuerzburg. My entire childhood was rife with real castles, walled in cities, and steeped in centuries old legend.
When one has the ability to walk the cobbled streets of Kitzengen and Rothenburg, or see the torture chambers (complete with Iron Maiden, I might add) in Coburg, the Brothers Grimm become a whole different set of literary wonders than most.
That said, I asked my friend to toss out a familiar fairy tale, one we all know. She did so readily enough, and had to hold her laughter as we begin to mull over the deviousness of each tale.
See if you can help me out with these:
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD:
We enchant our children with a story, of a spoiled little girl that has everything she could ever want or need . Granted, she does have a good heart, but she’s so stuck on herself and that little red coat she insists on wearing. Off to Grandma’s house she goes, granted, with a good deed in her heart.
Now, dear readers, pause and wonder.
She meets a wolf in the woods, one she knows not to talk to. She’s been warned by everyone in town, and her parents, that the wolf is a major item to avoid. Does she listen? No. He speaks to her, drawing her into his charming web of deceit and hunger.
Ask yourself this—do wolves talk? Not by my knowledge.
Werewolves? A more probable solution, isn’t it?
Cannibalism, murder, and mayhem ensue before the end of the tale.
Poor Darling! A child of royalty, relegated to a common maid. She scrubs and toils, her stepmother (the queen) a vain woman that can’t abide a child’s innocence and beauty. A magical mirror that foretells the future, and the stepmother hones her skills in the dark arts, poison, and death.
Did anyone ever consider that our heroine was living with seven little men and talking to the animals…..
Ok, I’ll leave that one right at that spot.
Abused step-daughter, forced to become a maid (there seems to be a pattern here), a fairy godmother (i.e. witch) who grants wishes (I need her the next time my DH says we’re going out and I can’t find anything to wear!), livestock that magically transforms into humans and horses, shoes made of glass before glass was used for more than windows.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Really, I shouldn’t have to explain this tale. It says enough in the title. I think it’s illegal and immoral, but it made a great story.
HANSEL AND GRETEL
My all time favorite.
Overworked husband, children suffering from the neglect of an evil step mother, a witch with a house made of sweets (as delicious as it sounds, it just wouldn’t work. Humidity, ants, rats…)
The old witch cages and eats children! Ensuing drama is Gretel shoves the woman in the oven and kills her.
Again, abuse, neglect, slavery, cannibalism, murder, mayhem
So, the next time you sit down and read one of those delightful fairy tales we all grew up with, sit back. Really read it. You’ll see how dark the tales truly are.
These are just a few of my favorite things that say, welcome to the dark side…
The Brothers Grimm were darling little authors of the paranormal,
Long before the term was deemed acceptable…