Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Ten of the bloodiest bedtime stories

Little Red Riding Hood
'Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a village near the forest. Whenever she went out, the little girl wore a red riding cloak, so everyone in the village called her Little Red Riding Hood...' is the rather innocuous beginning to one of the most twisted bedtime stories there is. The sweet little girl in question secures a rather grisly fate for her poor defenceless grandmother when she blabs to a scary wolf she meets in the forest, telling him her grandmother's address and that she's not very well. The wolf knocks on grandma's door and impersonates Little Red Riding Hood's voice in order to get in, before gobbling grandma up in one go. Not content with his meal, he then takes up cross-dressing, adorning grandma's nightie, mob cap and glasses to await the arrival of her tasty young granddaughter before swallowing her in one go as well. Most modern versions would have you believe that a passing woodcutter heard the little girl's cries and slashed open the wolf with his axe to reveal the unharmed Little Red Riding Hood and granny. But the earliest known version by Charles Perrault (before Brothers Grimm) has no happy ending or retribution apart, perhaps, from a severe case of indigestion for the wolf.
The Three Little Pigs
The Wolf: "Little pig, little pig, let me come in!" Pigs: "Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!" refrain is so well recognised, I defy anyone not to be mentally squaring up for the wolf's "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down!" riposte. The Three Little Pigs is a classic, if animalistic, tale of what happens when children are cast out by their parents to seek their independence. The three brother set off into the woods to build their houses and the first builds a house out of straw, the second builds a house out of sticks, and the third builds a house out of bricks. It was all going rather well until a nasty wolf decided he fancied sausages for dinner and went after each of the three little pigs. He huffed and puffed and blew the straw house down, gobbling up its occupant. He then huffed and puffed and blew the stick house down and had seconds. But, still not full he went after the lone surviving pig in the brick house, but couldn't blow it down because it was too sturdy. Furiously the wolf clambered onto the roof and endeavoured to climb down the chimney in order to eat the pig. But the clever pig had placed a vat of boiling water on the fire ready for the wolf to descend into. He popped a lid over the wolf and ate him (and presumably the remnants of his devoured brothers) for his tea.
The story goes that a local farmer tried to impress the king by boasting that his daughter was capable of spinning straw into gold. To test his claim the king summoned the farmer's daughter and imprisoned her in a tower with straw and a spinning wheel, giving her three nights to prove her talent or face execution. She sat by the spinning wheel sobbing in despair until a strange dwarfish creature appeared out of nowhere. He made a bargain with her to spin the straw into gold in exchange for her necklace the first night, in exchange for her ring the second night. On the third night the girl had no trinkets left to exchange, so the creature spun the straw into gold for her in exchange for a promise that she would give him her first born child. The king was so impressed with the gold spinning farmer's daughter that he married her. When their first child was born the creature appeared and demanded his prize. She pleaded with him not to take the child and he toyed with her again saying that if she could guess his name she wouldn't have to give up her infant. Unbeknown to Rumplestiltskin one of the girl's servants overhears him boasting: "To-day do I bake, to-morrow I brew/ The day after that the queen's child comes in /And oh! I am glad that nobody knew/ That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!" When the girl guesses correctly Rumplestiltskin is so mad that he seizes his left foot with his hands and tears himself in two.

Remember the cosy nights of your childhood tucked up in bed as mummy or daddy read you softly to sleep?

Well have a read of this lot and you may discover that the tales you remember fondly are actually pretty gruesome.

From the Little Mermaid’s suicide to Geppetto the child hating carpenter in Pinocchio, the shine applied to the Disney adaptation wears off upon closer inspection.

Tales of fathers selling daughters, matricide, serial wife killing and cannibalism. Sleep well children...

>>Click on the image for ten bloody bedtime stories

Source: Independent

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