There are so many renditions of Cinderella out there that you'd be surprised to learn that the original stories are not quite like any of them. In fact, some of them shouldn't have been told to children, which is probably why the fairy tale has changed so much over the years.
Perhaps the most popular Cinderella story is portrayed in Disney's 1950 animated version of Cinderella.
The film's plot is based on Charles Perrault's 1697 rendition of the fairy tale. The movie became the greatest commercial hit for the studio, and is still considered one of the best American animated films.
Although Perrault grew up in a time where stories seemed to be fabricated out of thin air, he was largely inspired by old folk tales that were passed down from one generation to another. That's really what fairy tales are. They originated at a time where stories weren't read, but shared by word of mouth. He was largely inspired by Cinderella stories based on ancient Greek, Chinese, and European fairy tales.
When you think of the beloved princess, what are the first few things that come to mind? Most likely you're thinking of the princess's fairy godmother, wicked stepsisters, Prince Charming, and the famous glass slipper.
This rags to riches story is supposed to be happy, right? Well, it was actually much darker, and way too graphic for the mind of a child.
For example, we all wanted something horrible to happen to the stepmother and stepsisters, but maybe things went too far in one of the original tales...
The Brothers Grimm's Cinderella (Aschenputtel)
Remember the time you cringed when watching the evil stepsisters try on Cinderella's glass slipper? Their large feet looked so uncomfortable as they squeezed them into the delicate shoe.
In the German version, the evil stepmother orders one of her daughters to cut off her toes, and the other to cut off their heel, so their large feet can fit into the tiny slipper. If that wasn't bad enough, pigeons started pecking at their eyes during the wedding as the story's form of punishment for their wickedness.
Grim for sure.
In this fairy tale, Cinderella doesn't even have a fairy godmother to guide her. Instead she plants a tree close to her mother's grave and prays under it every day. That's also the place where she finds her dress. Although she doesn't have any mice helpers, she does have her enchanted birds. If you put two and two together, it's clear that our helpless, sweet girl is actually a very talented witch!
I think what's most shocking is the handsome prince. He doesn't sound charming at all, rather he's a bit creepy. Cinderella doesn't lose her slipper because she's in a rush, the prince covers the steps in a sticky substance so that she can't leave. She still manages to only lose a shoe in the process. Keep in mind, the shoe wasn't even glass, it was made of gold.