This article by Cyriaque Lamar (awesome name BTW) in Io9, 10 Creepy Details Glossed Over by Modern Versions of Fairy Tales, was delicious! Usually when people talk about "dark fairy tales" they talk about the usual bits: pushing the Witch into the oven in Hansel and Gretel, the fact that Little Red dies. These are ones not often discussed, but make you go "oooh yeah, that is pretty creepy!"
10. Rumpelstiltskin commits suicide like a deranged gymnast
It's common knowledge that after the miller's daughter-turned-queen guesses Rumpelstiltskin's true name, he's tremendously unhappy and disappears thanks to some unspoken magical restraining order. But in Margaret Hunt's 1884 translation of the Brothers Grimm, the impish gold-spinner leaves this plane of existence in a truly conversation-stopping manner:
"'The devil has told you that! the devil has told you that!' cried the little man, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so deep into the earth that his whole leg went in; and then in rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that he tore himself in two."
The story then abruptly cuts off at this point, leaving the reader wondering how the Queen cleaned a bisected dwarf out of her royal carpet.This one always bothered me (enough that I wrote a fanfic about how the sister of the bitchy princess gets the frog prince in the end):
8. The Frog King has the magic beat out of himAnd lots of people talk about how the Little Mermaid dies, but no one really touches on how sucky her life was before then:
True love's kiss doesn't always break amphibious curses. No, some earlier versions of The Frog King saw the princess chuck the needy croaker against the wall as hard as possible. Other iterations had the slippery sovereign transform after being burnt or decapitated, because nothing dispels dark magic quite like cruelty to animals.
3. The Little Mermaid is in constant pain, contemplates murder, dies
Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 original tale of The Little Mermaid was completely devoid of calypso-singing crustaceans and a conventionally happy ending.
Instead the protagonist mermaid trades her tongue (it's chopped off) and fins for human legs that feel like they're constantly being stabbed with knives.
After the prince marries another woman, the mermaid considers stabbing him to death so that his blood will magically transform her back into an icthyosapien.I shouldn't get so much glee from this, but I do. To see the rest, click here!