Sunday, April 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen!

In honor of Andersen's birthday on April 2nd I got involved in 'Fairy Tale Facts Day' on Twitter and offered little known story details from the earlier, grittier version in 140 characters.

Please note: RT means 'retweet' and means I'm re-posting what someone else wrote. @ is used to reply to people for conversations.

Here's the 'transcript' of fairy tale related tweets from the day:
  • Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen! (b. 1805) And now some Fairy Tale facts for you in the next few tweets...
  • Before 'Disney-fication' fairy tales were often brutal & happy endings weren't guaranteed. They were legends, lessons, warnings & much more.
  • Figuring out Red Riding Hood wasn't originally a 'kiddie' story doesn't take a big leap. Originally Gran eaten-Red eaten-The End. No hunter.
  • In an early Frog Prince he returns to human form, not after a kiss but after being thrown at a wall by a horrible,spoiled & selfish princess
  • RT @JoshDrescher In original "Rapunzel" the Prince only comes back for Rapunzel at the end because he's gotten her pregnant & feels guilty.
  • The earliest known version of Cinderella (actual name Rhodopis) comes from Egypt in the 1st century BC. (thanks @JoshDrescher )
  • RT @JoshDrescher Original Sleeping Beauty: she's not woken with a kiss, but is actually impregnated by a prince/king who then abandons her.
  • RT @JoshDrescher She gives birth & only wakes when 1 of starving newborns sucks on her finger, removing flax that caused her to fall asleep.
  • RT @JoshDrescher There is an awesome Albanian version of Snow White where she lives with 40 dragons instead of 7 Dwarfs
  • Remember the zombie Snow White I mentioned earlier? In an early Snow White, she is not woken with a kiss. The Prince steals her corpse..!
  • RT @JoshDrescher While transporting coffin, the Prince's servants trip & drop it. This dislodges poisoned apple chunk & Snow White wakes up.
  • RT @JoshDrescher Assume necrophiliac Prince was disappointed to find he suddenly had live girl on his hands, thus ruining his weekend plans.
  • @PiaVeleno Cinderella 1 stepsister cuts off toes Yes. The other cuts off heels. And now women have surgery to fit into their Mahnolos..!
  • Yay for Twitter Search! Lots of people talking about fairy tales today - the REAL ones, not the happily-ever-after type. Gritty goodness!
  • @ChrisTomalty Do you have an online link for the Pinocchio was a Psychopath discussion? Interested. :)
  • RT @ireadkidsbooks Little Red Riding Hood by Beni Montresor- an extremely dark version of fairy tale. Not for kids!
  • RT @ireadkidsbooks The final three wordless pages where Little Red Riding Hood floats inside wolf's swollen stomach are disturbing to me.
  • (Need I say that Little Red Riding Hood by Beni Montresor is now on my wishlist? Delicious!)
  • And because it's fairy tale day here's that cool info graphics interpretation of Red Riding Hood:
  • Back to Fairy Tale Facts: Early Rumplestiltskin - dwarf grabs his own feet & rips himself in half after losing his bargain with the queen.
  • RT @JoshDrescher In the original version of "The Little Mermaid", she doesn't get the Prince AND winds up committing suicide.
  • RT @JoshDrescher Hans Christian Andersen eventually changed ending: She STILL doesn't get the Prince, but winds up going to Mermaid Heaven.
  • Most of the evil stepmothers were originally the real mother. Grimms changed it because they thought it threatened the family unit.
  • RT @JoshDrescher Original Jack & Beanstalk J is a murderous burglar. Giant isn't evil. J sneaks into castle, tricks wife, robs & murders G.
  • RT @JoshDrescher Wasn't till much later the giant was turned into a villain in order to provide Jack with heroic justification to kill him.
  • RT @JoshDrescher The original Princess and the Pea was full of bawdy double entendres.
  • RT @JoshDrescher After sleeping on pile of mattresses she complains to Prince "something hard" kept her up all night, to amusement of all.
  • The evil queen gets brutally punished in the 'original' Snow White by being forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes till she falls down dead.
  • In a very old version of Cinderella, C actually KILLS her 1st stepmother to get her father to marry the housekeeper instead.
  • The Three Little Pigs: Wolf eats the first two then climbs down the chimney of the 3rd, only to end up being boiled alive in a big pot.
  • Early Beauty & the Beast: the Beast had a snake-like appearance. He was transformed into a beast because he seduced an orphan (a kid).
  • Hans Christian Andersen's were often tragic & filled with religious (Christian) symbolism. Happy birthday HCA!
  • ...and some of them lived happily, some did not. The End.
  • Another Fairy Tale Fact by request of @filboidstudge (& Mary). "What info do you have on Donkeyskin?" This may take a couple of tweets :)
  • Donkeyskin is, even watered down, clearly about issues of incest. The 'adopted' part of the daughter was added. Originally she was pursued..
  • ... by her actual father. the act of her donning a donkeyskin to escape is doubly interesting. Skins, especially animal represent carnality.
  • The girl in Donkeyskin is wearing the disguise of the very thing she's trying to escape, outwardly wearing 'evidence' of her violations.
  • The donkey at beginning with gold 'tumbling out its ears' originally had gold feces. A little jibe on how the king made his wealth perhaps:)
(Here is the book mentioned in the tweets above. Though not a story by Andersen it still worth a mention!)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Once Upon A Blog...

Once upon a time, a girl who loved fairy tales decided to put together a blog to collect and share all the wonderful fairy tale related news and things she came across in her wanderings around the world (wide web) and on her walks through the woods (and suburbs).

She determinedly put her writer-hat aside, saving it for her two 'official' writing blogs, and firmly slapped on her I-just-love-fairy-tales-hat. This blog, she decided, would be full of wonderful things and signposts (links) to point blog-travelers to the source of fairy tale nuggets (sites) and magic (people), handed to those who linger (you).

Here there will be no tests of wit (complicated instructions) and no riddles (lengthy commentary) to unravel - just enticements (short posts) for what lies beyond (images and brief descriptions) and directions (links and information) of how to get there.

Should your appetite for fairy tale discoveries be hungry for more, there is a list to the right (blogroll) of recommended ways through the wood (sites to visit). Should you take to wandering, never fear, this blog will remain upon this once (at


A confession: I uploaded a number of entries before making this public so there'd be plenty of content to start and back-dated this little introduction so it would appear at the beginning. As I was setting up my posts I found SurLaLune had just started a blog too so I will attempt not to overlap her content (very much - unless something is so super-cool I simply must include it, or didn't see she already had an entry on it). Enjoy them all!