Disney films are magical fairy tales that make you feel all warm and bubbly inside – well most of the time – but did you know these stories are based on fairy tales that often tell a very different story? Here are 15 true stories behind Disney fairy tales:
Tangled was lovely little story wasn’t it? Rapunzel met Flynn and they lived happily ever after! In the original tale though, Rapunzel did live in a tower but this time a prince happened upon the tower and fell in love with Rapunzel. He continued to return to the tower, where Rapunzel would let down her hair as a signal for her prince to come in. However Dame Gothel found out and cut off Rapunzel’s hair in order to dangle it for the prince. When he entered the tower and saw Dame Gothel he jumped from the tower and was blinded by thorns.
The Fox and the Hound
The Disney tale of the Fox and the Hound was pretty harrowing but the original by Daniel P. Mannix was even worse. In his story Tod the fox is the cause of the Hunter’s favourite dog’s death. So the Hunter trains his other dog, Copper, to ignore all foxes but Tod, however despite this the dog kills two of Tods mates and his babies but Tod always escaped.
Enraged, the Hunter makes Copper chase Tod without mercy until the fox collapses and dies. The Hunter even shoots Copper dead when he has to go to a nursing home. Eek.
The Snow White story is more or less the same as the Brothers Grimm version except for one rather large detail. In the Grimm story the Evil Queen arrives at Prince Charming and Snow White’s wedding only to be punished by Snow White in the most horrific way.
Snow White makes the Evil Queen wear shoes made of hot iron and dance until she dies… Not very nice, Snow White.
The Jungle Book
Unlike the Disney version, in Rudyard Kipling’s original short story Mowgli was not welcomed into human society. Instead the village banished him back to the jungle and tortured the one family that was nice to him.
Mowgli returns to the jungle and speaks to Hathi the Elephant (who in the story was a bloodthirsty old elephant who hated humans). So Mowgli, Hathi, Bagheera and a pack of wolves decide to attack the village and destroy everything.
This Disney film was actually based on a true story – it just didn’t really stick to it. What really happened is that John Smith returned to England but Pocahontas was kidnapped and converted to Christianity. She was married to a John Rolfe and was taken to London years later to be paraded around as a ‘tame’ Native American. She died before she could return to her home.
The Little Mermaid
In Hans Christian Anderson’s version of The Little Mermaid, Ariel does indeed receive legs but she is washed ashore in pure agony with them. The Prince finds her and thinks she’s amusing and takes Ariel back to his palace where he gets her to dance for him (which she does despite being in intense pain).
Ariel discovers that the prince is set to marry another girl, and if he does she will turn to sea foam. She can’t convince him to marry her as she has no voice. Her only option to survive, according to the Sea Witch, is to murder the Prince and let his blood fall over her feet. Ariel refuses to do this and turns into foam.
Like the Disney tale, Mulan does go to war dressed as a man but the original, based on a ballad called Hua Mulan, differs on her return. When Mulan returns to her family she finds that they have fallen apart and her only way to survive would be to be become a concubine. Instead Mulan commits suicide.
In the Grimm fairy tale, the Ugly Sisters actually cut off their toes and parts of their feet in order to try and fit into the glass slipper. It didn’t work though, Cinderella still got her Prince. However, at their wedding, Cinderella called down birds to peck out her sister’s eyes as revenge for how they treated her…
The Princess and the Frog
The Princess and the Frog was based on a fairy tale called The Frog Prince. In this tale the frog asks a Princess for help to be turned back into a human. However the Princess is disgusted and throws him at a wall – which coincidentally is enough to turn him back into a human. Albeit a rather beat up Prince.
The Pinocchio is the original fairy tale was NOT a good boy. In this tale Pinocchio gets Gepetto arrested for child abuse. He then goes on to kill a talking cricket – this cricket’s ghost comes back to advise Pinocchio to be good and have Gepetto released. Pinocchio ignores him and continues his rebellious ways and he still gets made into a real boy!
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
When Quasimodo learns that Esmerelda doesn’t love him in return, he becomes angry and betrays him to Frollo who has her hung in the streets. Quasimodo feels guilty about her death so he throws Frollo off the top of the cathedral and then enters Esmerelda’s grave where he starves himself to death beside her.
The true story of Hercules is based on the Greek legend of Heracles. Heracles was indeed the son of Zeus, however, he was not Hera’s child as he was born through Zeus’s infidelity. Because of this Hera hated Heracles and dedicated her life to making him miserable.
She drove Heracles so mad that he murdered the Princess Megara (his wife) and all their children.
Aladdin and the King of Thieves
In the original tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Cassim isn’t Aladdin’s dad or even a king of thieves. He’s just a greedy man who was trapped in a treasure trove. When he is discovered the thieves dismember him to ward off others from doing the same.
Cassim’s brother collects him (or all the parts of him) to return to his family. He employs a skilled tailor to stitch his brother together so the rest of his family think he died naturally.
Although Disney’s Peter Pan stays pretty faith to the original tale by J.M. Barrie there are some key differences. Firstly when Wendy returned to London she brought the Lost Boys with her to live with the Darlings. She even visited Peter every Spring until she was too old to return to Neverland.
The biggest difference, however, is the fact that when the Lost Boys were too old to live in Neverland – he would murder them!
Beauty and the Beast
In the original tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont is very similar to the Disney version. One key difference is that in the original Belle had too very jealous sisters who didn’t like the life Belle was living with the Beast. When Belle was allowed to return home for a week they tried to make her stay longer in the hope if he returned late the Beast would eat her alive. Nasty!