THE UNTOLD STORIES BEHIND OUR FAVOURITE FAIRYTALES
(By:Okorite Joy Harry)
Hello folks!, sorry but our childhood memories are about to be ‘ruined’!
So we know of the children the piper lured,Rapunzel’s long hair and the rest of our favourite fairy tales!.Unknown to many however is the sinister origin of them as most writers and producers had to water the stories down as they contained what is perceived as gruesome and horrific which would ruin a child’s mind.
Check out the untold stories of five out of these!
1.Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The fairy tale is based on the tragic life of Margarete von Waldeck, a 16th century Bavarian noblewoman. Margarete grew up in Bad Wildungen, where her brother used small children to work his copper mine. Severely deformed because of the physical labor mining required, they were despairingly referred to as dwarfs. The poison apple is also rooted in fact; an old man would offer tainted fruits to the workers, and other children he believed stole from him.
Margarete’s stepmother, despising her, sent the beauty, to the Brussels court to get rid of her. There Prince Philip II of Spain became her steamy lover. His father, the king of Spain, opposing the romance, dispatched Spanish agents to murder Margarete. They surreptitiously poisoned her.
Rapunzel draws upon an early Christian story. In the third century A.D. a prosperous pagan merchant, living in Asia Minor, so adored his beautiful daughter he forbade her to have suitors. Accordingly he locked her in a tower when he traveled. There is no mention how hair became important, but she converted to Christianity, praying so loudly when the merchant left, her devotions reverberated throughout town. The merchant, informed of her actions, dragged her before the Roman pro-consul who insisted the father behead her or forfeit his fortune if she should refuse to give up her newfound religion. The father decapitated her but was killed by a lightning strike soon after. She became the martyr, Saint Barbara, revered by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Perrault wove his story around Conomor the Cursed, the Breton chief who had been forewarned he would be slain by his own son. As soon as one of his wives became pregnant, he murdered her. But Perrault was more fascinated by Gilles de Rais, a wealthy 15th century nobleman, a hero of the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc’s protector on the battlefield. After he left the military he became a notorious serial killer of children. He was given the nickname, Bluebeard, because his horse’s sleek fur looked blue in the daylight. At his shocking trial, he described in detail how he had preyed upon and tortured innocent children. Perrault drew upon these facts to conjure up his own nightmarish character.
4.Hansel and Gretel
The tale of Hansel and Gretel could have been told to keep children from wandering off. But during the great famine of 1315-1317 A. D. that crushed most of continental Europe and England, disease, mass death, infanticide and cannibalism increased exponentially. Seeking relief, some desperate parents deserted their children and slaughtered their draft animals.
Or Hansel and Gretel might have stumbled upon the home of the successful baker, Katharina Schraderin. In the 1600s, she concocted such a scrumptious ginger bread cookie that a jealous male baker accused her of being a witch. After being driven from town, a posse of angry neighbors hunted her down, brought her back to her home, and burned her to death in her own oven.
5.The Pied Piper of Hamelin
In 1264, a pied piper had offered to get rid of the numerous rats in the Germanic village of Hamelin, as long as the town elders gave him a considerable amount of money upon the completion of this task. After he disposed of the rats, the elders reneged on their promise. Furious, the piper enticed the children of the village to follow him. They never returned.
Some believe the Piper led the innocents to the Mediterranean to join the Children’s Crusade leaving for the Holy Land. Presumably children would peacefully convert Moslems to Christianity after the Mediterranean rolled back, allowing their safe passage to Jerusalem. The Sea did not oblige, and many children starved to death waiting for the miracle to occur.
There you go, hope we did not ruin much memories, we are just as curious as you!