15 Classic Princess Fairytales That Are Way More Hardcore Than Their Disney Counterparts | 22 Words

Disney loves a princess.

From the ultra-girly Cinderella to the more rough-and-tumble Merida, Disney princesses are easily recognizable to almost anyone in the world. Every five year old in America can tell you who Snow White's sidekicks are, what Rapunzel is famous for, and probably even what Ariel thinks a fork is called.

But do you know the original fairy tales that inspired the Disney princess movies? Disney loves to make things clean and shiny, but the fairy tales that inspired their movies usually take some disturbing twists and turns that Disney conveniently left out of their films.

Ariel had it much worse in the original fairy tale.

The Disney version of The Little Mermaid is the charming (and slightly terrifying) tale of Ariel, a mermaid who longs to know what it's like to be a human. In the Disney story, Ariel makes a deal with Ursula, a sea witch, that she will give Ursula her voice in exchange for getting to go up on land to meet Prince Eric. Prince Eric, for an animated man, is very hot and has a huge fluffy dog so let's be honest, I'd make this deal too. She has to get Eric to kiss her, or she will become Ursula's slave. That's already pretty dark for a children's movie, but the original version is even darker. The mermaid (who is not named Ariel in the original) has to get Eric to marry her or she will die. Also, instead of being a hot prince with floppy hair and an Old English Sheepdog, he's a jerk who makes Ariel sleep at the foot of his bed and then he doesn't even end up marrying her. Oh, and the mermaid's sidekicks in the original version? Not a delightful talking seagull and a Caribbean crab, but eight oysters growing on her body that she can't get off.

The original fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast is pretty similar to the original, except for a few large details.

In Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast, Belle is an only child and lives with her father Maurice, who is captured by the Beast. In exchange for his freedom, Belle takes his place in the Beast's castle where she meets a bunch of animate objects that used to be people. This is pretty similar to La Belle et la Bête, the French fairy tale that inspired the Disney movie. Except in the original version, Belle isn't an only child. She has siblings, and they are super jealous of how beautiful and nice and well-read she is. When her father takes a rose from the Beast's castle, he is told he must send one of his daughters to live there or die. He sends Belle, who eventually falls for the Beast. There are no talking pieces of furniture in the original, though. Instead, Belle's jealous sisters try to keep her from marrying the Beast when they find out he's a nice rich guy who just has a problem with body hair, and they get turned into statues that live outside the castle for the rest of eternity.

In the real story of Mulan, she is actually ten times more badass.

In the Disney version of Mulan, Mulan goes to war in place of her father dressed as a man since women aren't allowed to fight. The real story of Mulan, a Chinese legend from some time around the year 500, may or may not actually be a true story. (It happened 1500 years ago, so Mulan didn't exactly have a Facebook to brag about her accomplishments on). In the legend, Mulan dressed as a man to fight in place of her father just like in the movie. But she doesn't just go off to war for a few months like in the movie. She goes off to war for twelve years. And she's already a trained fighter before she leaves. Badass.

Disney left out the part of Sleeping Beauty where an ogre tries to prepare her children in a mustard-based sauce.

There are a few different versions of Sleeping Beauty, but in one version written in 1697, things get very dark. In this story, Sleeping Beauty is cursed to sleep until a prince wakes her with a kiss after pricking her finger with a spinning wheel, just like in the Disney version, but how it happens is a little different. Instead of an evil witch casting the spell on her, Sleeping Beauty is actually cursed by a fairy who attends a party celebrating her birth. This fairy, clearly done with the people in this kingdom and their bullshit, has been hanging out in a tower by herself for the last few years. She's planning on making a grand appearance at the party, but it turns out everyone assumed she was already dead and nobody really cares that she's been alive the whole time. So in a rage, she curses the princess. Eventually, just like the Disney movie, a prince kisses her and wakes her up and they end up getting married and having two kids. But it turns out the prince's mom is actually an ogre and she tries to cook the kids in a Sauce Robert, a hearty French sauce, and eat them. She doesn't succeed, but they were pretty close to being a Julia Child recipe.

In the original version, Nala wouldn't have survived to see Simba be king.

Ok, Nala isn't technically called a princess in the Disney movie, but think about this: in a pride of lions there is usually only one male and all of the cubs are his kids, so not only is Nala a princess, she's Simba's half-sister. But aside from thinking about Simba and Nala's weird relationship, let's talk about the story of The Lion King. The Lion King is based on Shakespeare's Hamlet (If you didn't already know that: surprise!) which would make Nala the character Ophelia. In Hamlet, Ophelia drowned herself in a river after losing her mind. Not exactly Disney material. You will never guess how gross the real version of Cinderella is, keep reading to find out!

In the story Frozen is based on, Elsa is evil.

Frozen is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Snow Queen, but very, very loosely based. In the fairy tale, a young woman does go on a quest to find her sibling, but her sibling is her brother, not her sister. In the story, her brother runs away after being stabbed by a magic mirror cursed by trolls to make your life look bad when you look at other people. (Kind of like an old-fashioned Instagram). Her brother has been captured by the Snow Queen, who isn't a nice lady that just so happens to be struggling with her ability to turn everything to ice, she's an evil queen who purposely turns things to ice and has an army of snow bees. The good news is the original version, even though it's pretty dark and twisted, doesn't contain a catchy hit song that your kids will play 700 times in a row.

In the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, her stepsisters chop off parts of their feet to fit into her slipper.

There are a lot of versions of Cinderella, but the Brothers Grimm is particularly dark. First of all, Cinderella's father is still alive and doesn't do anything about his daughter being made to work as a maid in her own house while her stepsisters get to live a life of luxury. When the ball rolls around, Cinderella wants to go but her stepmom throws a bunch of lentils on the ground and tells her she can only go if she can pick up all the lentils in 2 hours. She does it but still isn't allowed to go because she doesn't have a dress. She gets a team of doves to make a dress for her and goes to the ball where she dances with the prince all night and then all day the next day (which sounds kind of boring, but young love makes you do crazy things). Afterward, she hides in a pigeon coop (probably to get a quick nap in after all that dancing), so the prince goes around the kingdom with her shoe to see if anyone can fit in it. Apparently, Cinderella is the only person in her whole kingdom with a size 6, because her stepsisters end up cutting off their toes and heels to try and fit in her slipper. Cinderella and the prince eventually marry and her stepsisters get to be bridesmaids. (Hopefully, Cinderella made them wear terrible dresses).

In the original version of Aladdin, Jasmine screws up big time.

Aladdin is based on an 18th-century story called Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. The story starts off similarly: a poor boy gets trapped in a cave by a sorcerer, finds a lamp, wishes his way out, and through a series of wishes ends up marrying a princess named Badroulbadour (a little bit more of a mouthful than "Jasmine"). But in the original version, there's more to the story after that. After they marry, the sorcerer sees what a great life Aladdin is having and decides he needs that lamp. He tricks Princess Badroulbadour into giving him the lamp after offering to trade her for a prettier, newer, non-magic lamp. The princess does the trade, not aware that her original lamp was magic, and everything falls into chaos. Whoops.

Pocahontas was a real person and Disney didn't get it right...at all.

The first problem: Pocahontas wasn't an adult when she met John Smith, she was 11. Although John Smith did write about how they fell in love (gross) and how she saved him from her father killing him, historians doubt Smith's story was true. Historians think Pocahontas and John Smith did have a relationship, but it was more like teacher and student than lovers. While Smith was captured by Pocahontas's tribe, she taught him their language and he taught her his. Together they helped their cultures get to know each other, the most powerful way Pocahontas knew to save her family and friends from being conquered by the English. Later, she married a different Englishman named John, John Rolfe, and moved to Europe with him. Sadly, she ended up getting sick and dying before she could return home to Virginia.

In the original story, Rapunzel's mom was obsessed with salad.

Disney's Tangled is based on Rapunzel, but it's very different from the original. In the original fairy tale of Rapunzel, her parents are two villagers who live next door to a castle. They really want a child and when the wife finally gets pregnant, she starts craving salad (pizza wasn't invented yet, I guess). So her husband climbs over the wall to the castle and steals her some Rapunzel, a leafy green. She eats the salad but isn't satisfied, so he goes back and steals more. This time he gets caught and the evil queen living in the castle makes him promise to give her their child as punishment for their salad-theft. The queen takes their child, who she names Rapunzel after the vegetable, and raises her locked in a tower. A prince hears her singing in her tower and she lets him in by way of her long hair. They do this night after night until it becomes clear that Rapunzel is pregnant and the evil queen cuts off her hair and sends her to live alone in the wilderness. Eventually, the prince finds her and her newborn twins and they actually do live happily ever after. Keep reading to find out how Disney changed The Hunchback of Notre Dame but also still included some really disturbing parts.

The Princess and the Frog is very different from the original fairy tale.

In Disney's version, an ambitious chef is accidentally turned into a frog when she kisses a prince who has been turned into a frog and together they must break the curse. The actual fairy tale is much different. In the original version, a princess is playing with a gold ball by a pond when she accidentally drops it in. A frog jumps out of the water and says he'll get it for her if he can sleep in her bed and live with her for a few days. She agrees to get the ball back, but once he brings it up for her, she abandons him. But then the frog shows up at her house and she reluctantly agrees to let him live with her for three days and sleep in her bed. At the end of the story, he turns into a prince (it turns out he was cursed to be a frog until he got to sleep in the bed of a beautiful princess), and they get married. The story is supposed to teach young women to keep their word and then they might be rewarded with a prince, but the lesson seems a little outdated. Women: you absolutely do not have to let a frog-man sleep in your bed and follow you around for three days just because they did you a small favor.

Esmeralda meets a much worse fate in the original version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The Disney telling of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is actually already pretty bleak. Basically: everyone is in love with Esmeralda, but she is only into Phoebus. Frollo, Quasimodo's keeper, is especially in love with Esmeralda and when he finds out she isn't in love with her, he tries to burn her at the stake, kill Quasimodo, and basically burn Paris to the ground. Luckily, everyone escapes unharmed except Frollo, who drowns in molten lead. This was also true in the original story by Victor Hugo. Except, in the end, Frollo has Esmeralda hanged and then Quasimoto, upon realizing she's dead, kills himself. Rough.

The queen tried to kill Snow White and asked for her internal organs as proof.

In the original version of Snow White, the queen sends a hunter to kill Snow White and to bring her Snow White's heart and lungs as proof that she is dead. The hunter feels bad, so he kills a wild animal instead and brings the queen it's heart and lungs instead. Gross. Also in the original version, when she finds the dwarfs' cottage, Snow White drinks all their wine before falling asleep in their one of their beds. My kind of girl.

Brave was an original story, but had some basis in reality.

Pixar's Merida is a different kind of Disney princess: she's not looking to get married and she is the adventurous protagonist of the story. The film is set in Scotland, and it takes elements from Scottish folktales, like the wisps of light, and Brother's Grimm fairy tales, like a trickster queen, but it doesn't follow any one particular fairy tale. However, according to historians, strong women are common in Scottish lore and history, where they celebrate several famous women warriors of the past.

Meg was really a character in Greek mythology, but she didn't exactly fall head over heels in love with Hercules.

In the Disney movie Hercules, Meg, short for Megara, falls in love with Hercules while working to repay a debt to Hades. But in Greek mythology, things weren't that idyllic. Megara did marry Hercules, but not by her own choice. Her father, Creon the King of Thebes, presented Megara to Hercules as a gift for defending Thebes. The two married and had two kids, who Hercules accidentally killed. Some versions say he accidentally killed Megara, too. Guess we don't really want to see a Hercules sequel. Do you have a totally Disney-obsessed friend? Send them this article to either give them the scoop...or possibly ruin their day. Hey, we all have to grow up sometime!