The Disturbing Origins of 7 Beloved Fairy Tales

By now, many know that fairy tales are originally much darker than their Disney movie counterparts. Some, like The Little Mermaid, are wrought with pain and sadness, and the princess does not get her prince in the end. Some are so disturbing, you don’t want the princess with the prince in the end (Talia, I’m looking at you).

And some of these tales get their darkness from the real life stories of betrayal and death on which they are based, like Snow White and the ill-fated Margarete von Waldeck. With that in mind, I’ll add an eighth tale to the above list, because to me it has the most disturbing origins of all: The Pied Piper, possibly based on a serial killing pedophile, or a devastating plague, or a period in which a town’s children all starved. Any one of those is incredibly disturbing to me.

Some of the darker theories on the Pied Piper do make me wonder: what events from today will our descendants turn into tomorrow’s “fairy tales”? Something like Black Lives Matters? Columbine? The slate of serial killers from the 70’s and on? Marilyn Monroe? What do you think?