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!)

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