Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The actual title of the collection of German fairy titles published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1812 was not Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It was Children’s and Household Tales. But, given the uber-creepy and disturbing factor in many of the tales, one contributor to the website posited that instead it should have been titled Children Should Be Traumatized.

Yes, that’s right. Hansel and Gretel wound up “lost” in the forest because their family was starving during a famine and their mother played a cruel trick on them in an attempt to have two fewer mouths to feed. Now go to sleep, little Tommy. And the evil queen asked the huntsman to bring back Snow White’s liver and lungs—as the main course for dinner. But don’t worry, the queen winds up being forced to dance to death in red hot iron shoes. Sweet dreams...

And then there are the grim Grimm tales that haven’t hit the mainstream. Like the story of the boy whose stepmother wants her daughter to inherit the family’s money instead of him. She offers the boy an apple. He reaches into a box to get it. She slams the heavy lid shut, beheading him. Bad enough? Nope. Then she ties the head to the lifeless body and tells her daughter to punch the boy if he doesn’t respond to her. He doesn’t respond, she boxes him on the ear, and the head falls off. Thus the little girl thinks she killed her brother. Whoa. That’s enough. Right? Uh-uh. The stepmother then turns the boy’s body into stew and feeds it to her husband, who suspects nothing and declares it delicious.

This charming tale has a lovely title: “The Juniper Tree.”

But a good many of the Grimms’ 200-plus fairy tales had titles that were themselves unsettling in one way or another. Here are 47 of the most disturbing:

1. Godfather Death
2. The Poor Boy in the Grave
3. The Devil’s Sooty Brother
4. Gambling Hansel
5. The Glass Coffin
6. The Jew Among the Thorns
7. The White and the Black Bride
8. One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes
9. The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids
10. Death’s Messengers
11. Lean Lisa
12. The Girl Without Hands
13. The Crumbs on the Table
14. The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
15. The Robber Bridegroom
16. The Ditmarsch Tale of Lies
17. The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces
18. The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack
19. The Singing Bone
20. The Flail From Heaven
21. Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle
22. The Nail
23. The Thief and His Master
24. Poverty and Humility Lead to Heaven
25. The Goose-Girl at the Well
26. The Grave Mound
27. The Louse and the Flea
28. Gossip Wolf and the Fox
29. The Sea-Hare
30. Death of the Little Hen

31. Doctor Know-all
32. The Three Army Surgeons
33. The Three Sluggards
34. The Ungrateful Son
35. All-Kinds-of-Fur
36. How Six Men Got On in the World
37. The Devil and His Grandmother
38. The Lord’s Animals and the Devil’s
39. The Peasant and the Devil
40. Hans My Hedgehog
41. God’s Food
42. The Sparrow and His Four Children
43. Eve’s Various Children
44. The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was
45. Iron John
46. In a Glass Grimmly
47. The Donkey Cabbages

1 comment:

  1. I think im going to have nightmares tonight! I hope so.. I wish some one would put all of these stories in a book. accompanied by appropriately gruesome illustations, of course! I would definitely be interested in buying it..