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Top Nine Fairy Tales That are Secretly Badass

by DannyGallagher   July 14, 2011 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 9,055
Anyone with kids knows the visceral pain of having to sit through another reading of a fairy tale. If you focus on the actual origins for some of the world's most familiar bedtime stories, the kids might have to sleep on rubber sheets for a month, but at least the parents would be entertained.

9. Hansel and Gretel

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It's not hard to realize just how dark and gory the original of this children-eating classic could be since the story is about an evil witch who fattens up little kids to eat them and ends up being burned to a crisp in her own oven. It's actually much, much darker than you could imagine.

An early French version of the classic tale called "The Lost Children" features two children who get kidnapped by the Devil and his wife and fattened up for a big banquet. The wife tries to kill the little girl by tying her to a sawhorse, but the girl tricks her by pretending she doesn't know how to sit on one and when the wife shows her, the little girl ties her to it and slits her neck open with a large knife. The little boy and girl make their escape but the Devil chases after them and drowns after falling in a river.

8. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

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Every child above the age of four has heard the innocent-sounding tale of the little girl who broke into a bear family's home, ate up all their food, and slept in their beds without their consent. But even this story of felony breaking and entering and misdemeanor theft had a much darker beginning.

It has long been believed that the original tale we know today was written in the 1830s by British poet Robert Southey who originally wrote the character of Goldilocks as an angry, old, homeless hag. However, another version surfaced just a few years before Southey's that also featured an old woman being caught in the bears' bed, except when they caught her, they tried to burn and drown her. Eventually, the old woman escaped by jumping out of a window and died after being impaled on a church steeple.

7. The Little Mermaid

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One of Disney's happiest animated tales is of this singing half-fish, half-redhead hottie trying to win the heart of her true human love, even though they are from completely different worlds. The original version, however, not only has a bigger downer of an ending, but it would make every audience cry for all of the wrong reasons.

Hans Christian Andersen's original tale featured the title character trading her fins for humans legs with an evil sea witch but instead of giving away her voice, the twist is that walking on her human legs will make her feel as if she were being stabbed with swords with each painful step. And not only does she not win the heart of her beloved, she kills herself and her body disappears into the ocean into a mist of sea foam.

6. Rumpelstiltskin

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The story of an angry midget hellbent on kidnapping babies sounds like something parents would want to keep away from their children, but the original version sounds like something that might make parents permanently blind their children to make sure they never see it as long as they live.

This fairy tale actually originated in Germany (which should tell you a lot right there) before the Brothers Grimm included it in their original book of fairy tales. The story is the same for the most part except for the end when the angry troll is outsmarted by the miller's daughter and gets so mad that he stamps his foot down and gets it stuck in the ground. When he tries to pull it up, he rips himself clean in half and falls to the floor in a bloody mess times two.

5. Rapunzel

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Being a helpless princess in distress and rescued by a knight in shining armor sounds like something out of every little girl's dream diary. The original sounds like the kind of diary entry they write once a month after they turn 13.

This timeless fairy tale was actually inspired by several stories, the oldest of which dates back to the third century in Asia Minor about a wealthy merchant who locks her daughter, known as Saint Barbara, in a tower and decides to become a Christian during her imprisonment. When the daughter refuses to renounce her beliefs, she's beheaded upon the order of a judge by her own father who died after the execution when he was struck by lightning.