When it comes to some of the creepiest and scariest stories, it would be perfectly reasonably to start thinking about some of the legends of horror like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allen Poe… but then I got thinking about some of the creepiest tales out there which perhaps aren’t quite given the credit they deserve.
I am of course, talking about fairy tales! And no, I don’t mean your Disney girl meets prince and lives happily ever after fairy tales. I’m talking the original, gruesome tales with real villains, the stories which didn’t always have a happy ending!
So I decided to countdown the Top 8 creepiest fairy tales you don’t want to tell your kids.
8) Snow White
So the original isn’t too different from the tale we all know and love. Snow White’s evil step-mother gets jealous, Snow White runs away and meets the dwarves and ends up being poisoned by the apple and falling into a deep sleep. Her prince comes along and saves her… not so bad, right?
That is, of course, until you hear the Queen’s punishment which was being made to dance whilst wearing red-hot iron shoes until she falls down dead. Strange and gruesome, but I’m still not convinced it was exactly a punishment fitting of the crime…
7) Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty’s one of those stories which, once you hear the original, you’ll be surprised they ever made a kids film of it. And to be honest, for me this is one of the scarier ones because besides all the magic and people trying to kill other people, lets just say it deals with a lot of issues which are still scarily relevant today…
So our sleeping princess is all fast asleep and cursed and, true to the story you all know and love, our handsome prince comes charging into the castle and finds her, however he doesn’t manage to wake her with a kiss, or by any other means so Sleepy Beauty is left there unconscious completely unaware of anything that has happened. That is of course until 9 months later when she gives birth to twins which, unsurprisingly is enough to break the curse as it does wake her up!
Of course if this isn’t bad enough, when the prince finds out he promises to send for our Sleeping Beauty (and their 2 kids) so they can go live with him in their palace and at this point your thinking ‘well maybe he isn’t such a bad guy after all!’.
So off they go, little sleeping beauty and her two kids, all expecting to live happily ever after with their lovely Prince in a castle, except of course he’s failed to mention the little, tiny, insignificant detail that… HE’S ALREADY MARRIED. As each woman meets the other, the current wife plots and attempts to kill sleeping beauty and the kids but is thwarted by the Prince who then ends up marrying his victim… I mean true love… I mean I don’t know what kind of dysfunctional family that was…
6) The Girl Without Hands
This might not be the most well know tale on the list, but it’s definitely one of the goriest and strangest! After coming across an old man in the forest, a miserable miller makes a deal to swap whatever is standing behind his mill for ‘all the riches in the world!’ – great deal! Until of course the miller realised he’d accidentally just sold his daughter…
As per the terms of the deal, the old man, who it turns out is the devil, returns to claim the daughter who performs a ritual to make herself ‘too pure for the devil to touch’. At this, the devil tries all sorts to get at the girl, including demanding her father withhold water from her and cut off her hands! But the girl remains pure, the devil gets mad and gives up.
The girl, understandably pretty angry with her dad, leaves home, after a series of crazy events (including an angel draining a moat and the girl living off stolen fruit) a King sees her one night, falls completely in love and decides the way to her heart is to give her a pair of silver hands to replace her long-gone chopped-off real ones…
So the girl looks like she’s about to be happy! Except this is a fairytale so something else has to go wrong and, of course, remember the devil? Well he’s still mad! So the King goes off to war and the devil takes his chance forging a letter from him, demanding the girl with no hands (aka The Queen) be killed. Luckily the king’s mother is a pretty nice woman (what is this? A nice mother in a fairytale?!) and sends them away before she actually has to kill them.
A few years later the King returns, finds out what happened and searches for 7 years to find his wife. When he eventually does find her he barely recognises her because, as they do, her hands have grown back… Whut?
We all know the stepsisters in Cinderella aren’t very nice, but did you also know they were kind of crazy too? So after the ball and the whole ‘oops I lost a glass slipper incident’ the Prince starts going round looking for this girl he’s madly in love with. And with all people you’re madly in love with he can’t remember what she looks like so decides to marry the first person who fits the lost glass slipper… But you already know this.
You also probably know that the stepsisters are some of the first in line to try on the slipper and of course it doesn’t work… so they do as all completely insane desperate women when faced with the possibility of losing the chance of marrying the prince and they start to chops bits of their feet off.
Yes you did read that correct. In the original tale they start hacking away at their feet, chopping of toes and bits of heel trying to make them squish into that tiny little glass slipper. Of course this doesn’t work and the Prince ends up finding and marrying Cinderella anyway but all I have to say is that it’s a good job that shoe was glass and easy enough to clean because eww…
4) Hansel and Gretel
Let’s be honest, the whole witch trying took cook and eat children thing is pretty twisted and wrong, but to be fair, what’s even worse is how the children end up lost in the forest in the first place. In the original stories it’s no accident, instead with the family starving to death because of how poor they are the mother comes up with the plan to lose the kids in the forest and save themselves a little money. Mean much?
Then, at the end when the siblings finally return home to find the mother inexplicably gone, however, my personal theory for this is that that mother was the witch all along and was coming up with this plan to eat them without the husband getting too mad. However, when they killed the witch they killed their mum so you know… no more eating children!
3) The Juniper Tree
Again, this might not be a fairytale you know too well, but it’s so creepy it’s not exactly one you’re going to forget! It starts the way a lot of fairy tales do… a man with 2 kids remarries a woman who, surprise surprise, doesn’t like the youngest – a little boy. She comes up with a cunning plan to kill the kid by chopping his head off in a trunk, then balances it back on his shoulders and tricks his sister into thinking she killed him (by knocking his head off) – pretty messed up, yeah?
So after a bit of emotional blackmail the woman gets the girl to make her brother into soup and buries his bones under the juniper tree in the back garden… as you do. The father comes home, gets fed son-soup and the girl sits outside all alone crying under the juniper tree. This bird comes to her singing this beautiful song and for some reason, gives her a pair of red shoes. The father comes running outside and the bird drops this golden chain down to him. The step-mother then comes running down and the bird throws a millstone down to her – it crushes her and she dies. Then it all comes out that this bird is the boy reincarnated and it’s lovely… I think?
2) Little Red Riding Hood
There are lots of versions of Little Red Riding Hood, all varying in levels of creepiness, however the version I find the creepiest is the one in which the wolf beats Little Red to Grandma’s house and makes the grandmother into soup which he then feeds to the girl!
There’s this whole weird part about how she thinks the teeth are rice, the flesh is steak and the blood is wine… eww! She then gets eaten by the wolf. The end. Lovely!
1) The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is potentially one of the saddest stories on this list, as well as being really creepy! You all know the Disney version where a young mermaid sells her voice for legs and has to make the prince fall in love with her, which she does and they live happily every after. Which is lovely but the rational viewer will sit there thinking ‘how can a Prince fall in love with anyone who can’t speak to them?!’ and this is kind of what the original storytellers thought as well…
So in the original our little mermaid friend does indeed go to a sea-witch and trade her voice (or rather she has her tongue chopped off) for human legs, however, every steps she walks is unbelievably painful and she suffers A LOT. In order to try and win her prince, who she’s crazy in love with, she dances for him – a very, very painful dance!
However, our little Prince isn’t interested! He’s engaged to another woman so the mermaid is heartbroken, I mean she’s given up her tongue and her fin for this! However, there is a way to get her fin back if she kills the Prince before he marries the other woman and lets his blood wash over her legs – isn’t that nice?!
So the mermaid’s sisters try to back her up and they sell their hair to buy her a dagger (a fair deal?!) but at the last minute the mermaid realises she can’t do it – she still loves him too much! Silly girl… and with that she dies and dissolves into foam and floats away in the sea.
So does this mean all that foam in the sea… is just dead mermaids?!
Which is your favourite of the creepy fairy tales? Let me know down in the comments! 🙂
Enjoyed this post? Why not check out my latest blog post with 3 More Creepy Original Fairy Tales?