Parents all over the World will be putting their young ones to sleep tonight with the help of tales designed to ease us them through the darkest hours into dreamland and we have the Brothers Grimm to thanks for most of them but maybe if we used the original stories our children's sleep not be quite so restful.
The Pied Pier of Hamlin has him drowning the children of a German village when he doesn't receive payment for ridding the town of a rat infestation while in Pinocchio, Geppetto is jailed for child abuse, Pinocchio squishes the talking cricket with a hammer for preaching to him and after he runs away, he is kidnapped by bandits who, after several unsuccessful attempts to murder him, hang him from an oak tree and leave him until he dies.
Little Red Riding Hood never makes it to Grandma's House and is eaten by the wolf, Peter Pan murders any children in Neverland who break his rule of 'never growing up' and Rumpelstiltskin, so angry that the Millers daughter has guessed his name, grabs his own legs and rips himself in half.
The Princess's that Disney is so famous for do not fare any better in the original tales, Sleeping Beauty, while unconscious, is raped and impregnated by the Prince and she is awoken by the crying of the twins she gave birth to while asleep. The Prince returns, take them to the Palace where the Prince's wife tries to kill her and the twins but is banished by the King before she can do it and Sleeping Beauty marries the man who violated her while sleeping.
Cinderella kills her first stepmother, her ugly sisters cut off their toes and heels to try and make the glass slipper fit and at the wedding of Cinderella and the handsome Prince, two pigeons peck out their eyes while Snow White's evil stepmother, as punishment for trying to kill Snow White, is made to dance wearing a pair of red-hot iron shoes until she dies.
Another Disney favourite, The Little Mermaid, commits suicide after the man she left the sea to marry ran off with another woman and Rapunzel is made pregnant by the Prince who throws himself from the tower when he thinks Rapunzel is dead and lands on a bush whose branches poke out his eyes.
The original tale of Mulan sees her forced into prostitution by the Khan and taking her own life and Goldilocks, frightened by being awakened by the Three Bears, jumps out of a window and breaks her neck in the fall.
All not very pleasant but even Disney would take some doing to sanitise the Grimm Brother's 'Juniper Tree' which sees a step mother chop off her step sons head, put it back on by wrapping a handkerchief around his neck before her daughter knocks it off again while playing which results in the step mother chopping up the boys body to hide the evidence and and making him into pudding, which they feed to his poor father.
Not much singing, dancing or fairy dust in these tales but lots of murder, rape and suicide so sleep tight children and next time you have a meat pudding for tea, check where you father is first.