Sunday, October 04, 2009

The ten bloodiest bedtime stories

At the Independent, Matilda Battersby compiled a list of the ten bloodiest bedtime stories. She cautions:
[T]he tales you remember fondly are actually pretty gruesome.

From the Little Mermaid’s suicide to Geppetto the child hating carpenter in Pinocchio, the sheen applied to the Disney versions soon wears away upon closer inspection.

The horrors include fathers selling daughters, matricide, serial wife killing and cannibalism. Sleep well...
One title on the list:
The Little Mermaid

Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid is much darker than the Disney cartoon would have you believe. A young mermaid, who is entranced by humans living on the shore, makes a deal with a sea witch to change her fish tail for human legs. The witch gives the Little Mermaid a magical potion to drink in exchange for her voice, leaving her mute. As a condition of the magic the Little Mermaid will be capable of dancing beautifully but it will feel as though swords are constantly passing through her feet. Once on land the Little Mermaid is discovered by a prince who immediately falls in love with her. She dances for him despite her pain, but is unable to explain her condition as she has no voice. The prince's father has arranged for him to marry a neighbouring princess and despite his protests the marriage goes ahead, breaking the Little Mermaid's heart. She despairs but her sisters bring her a knife procured from the sea witch in exchange for their long hair. They tell her to stab the prince to death and let his blood drip on her feet so that her mermaid?s tail can reform and she can return to the sea. But the Little Mermaid cannot bring herself to kill the prince whom she loves so she hurls herself back into the sea and dies, her body dissolving into foam on the waves.
Read about another bloody bedtime story.

--Marshal Zeringue