As part of our nightly ritual, my 2-year-old daughter and I read books together. A couple weeks ago, Rumpelstiltskin made its way into our reads for the night. I’ve heard the story a hundred times, but this time around, I was creeped out more than usual by this story—maybe because I have a child now and could sympathize with the miller’s daughter. If I lived in a mythical fairy land, the thought of having a little imp-man take my child away would pretty much be one of my biggest nightmares.
Well, Rumpelstiltskin sparked my interest and lead me to do a little research on it. On my search I found out that in the 1857 Brothers Grimm edition of the story, when the miller’s daughter/queen reveals Rumpelstiltskin’s name, he goes all crazy and the story tells that he got so mad that he “drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two”(source). Yikes!
After reading this gruesome version, I decided to look into original/alternate versions of other fairy tales and came across an interesting article that talked about these stories. From reading this article, here are a few stories that I will never look at the same again:
- Cinderella: The stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to fit into the glass slipper. Then, at Cinderella’s wedding, they get their eyes pecked out by birds.
- Snow White: When the evil queen sends the hunter to kill Snow White, the hunter brings back a boar’s heart and liver since he couldn’t kill Snow White. The queen then eats the heart and liver thinking they belonged to Snow White.
- Sleeping Beauty: The original version of the story tells how she is raped by a king while she is sleeping and gives birth to twins. One of the twins sucks out the flax from her finger which is causing her to sleep. Yeah…no charming prince in this story.
Although these stories seem pretty fascinating, I think I will wait a little while before introducing these crazy versions to my daughter. As for Rumpelstiltskin, with or without tearing himself in half, I still think it is a creepy story.