Not-So Happily Ever After Fairy Tales – The Real Endings

Posted in Book Blog, News

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers. To celebrate the romantic day, we thought we’d bring you some classic fairy tales in the spirit of all things love.

These stories, however, have a bitter twist in their tale. Our ‘Not-so Happily Ever After Fairy Tales – The Real Endings’ list is a collection of stories for lovers of the anti-valentine. You will most likely be familiar with many of these tales and their better-known, rose-tinted versions. So buckle up for mutilated extremities, extreme death by hot-iron shoes, and, to put it plainly, suicide in the name of love.


German Cinderella from the Brothers Grimm 

Let’s begin with the well-known story of Cinderella. As we all know, Cinderella is badly mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters until her Fairy Godmother magically transforms the young girl so she can attend the palace ball. There she meets the prince, and they fall in love. In the midst of a hasty departure, Cinderella leaves her shoe behind, and it becomes the prince’s only way to track down his one true love. He searches the kingdom, eventually reuniting with Cinderella. The tale ends with the happy couple running off into the sunset. It’s a classic.

In this version by the Brothers Grimm, however, the evil stepsisters get exactly what they deserve. When the prince arrives at Cinderella’s house with the lost shoe, her wicked stepmother forces both of her daughters, in turn, to chop off various parts of their feet to make them fit inside the tiny slipper. In the bloody attempt to trick the prince into marrying one of her own, it is no surprise that her plan fails, especially when the girls are bleeding from their severed feet. The prince rejects them both. Cinderella eventually gets her foot into the slipper, and the pair are to be married. On the day of the wedding, the two stepsisters arrive to get in Cinderella’s good books in the hope that she’ll share her fortune. Not-so unfortunately for the ugly pair, their eyes are pecked out by pigeons…

And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived.’

Read the full story here:

Aschenputtel German Cinderella

The Blue Beard

French tale by Charles Perrault

The Blue Beard tale is a dark story of deceit, death, murder, blood, and forbidden chambers. A man with a horrifyingly blue beard has an unnerving history of disappearing wives. After one month of marriage to his latest wife, he leaves her alone in the house. Giving her the keys to every closet and room, Blue Beard permits his wife free reign of their home, except for one little door. When his wife’s curiosity gets the better of her, she opens the closet to reveal a floor soaked with clotted blood and the bodies of her husband’s missing wives lining the walls.

Will Blue Beard find out that his wife disobeyed him? Will she also meet a gory end?

Charles Perrault wrote the French fairy tale, ‘La Barbe Bleue’ (‘The Blue Beard’), in 1697, featuring themes of murder, gore, and gruesome deaths. 

After some moments she began to perceive that the floor was all covered over with clotted blood, in which were reflected the bodies of several dead women ranged against the walls.’

Read the full story here:

The Little Mermaid

A Hans Christian Andersen Tale

This sweet story of a mermaid who falls in love with a human prince is a classic fairy tale. Written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837, the story has been adapted the world over, including the famous animated love story from Disney. In Hans Andersen’s version, however, there is not such a happy ending. The irreversible deal that the Little Mermaid makes with the Sea Witch (where she swaps her voice for legs) comes with the deal that she has to make the prince fall in love and marry her to gain an immortal soul. If she does not succeed, her heart will break, and she will ‘turn into foam on the water’.

When she goes on land to find her true love, she fails to win the prince’s hand in marriage. Little Mermaid has to watch her prince marry someone else, knowing that the day of the wedding will be her last. Her mersisters catch her before dawn on the wedding day having made a bargain with the Sea Witch: the Little Mermaid is allowed to return to the ocean if she kills her beloved. They give her an enchanted knife with which she has to kill the prince before sunrise, but if she doesn’t, she’ll turn into sea foam. She goes slightly insane from a broken heart and considers this option before bottling it, chucking the knife, and then throwing herself overboard

Once more she looked at the prince, with her eyes already dimmed by death, then dashed overboard and fell, her body dissolving into foam.’

Read the full story here:

The Robber Bridegroom

A Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

A German fairy tale closely linked to ‘Bluebeard’, ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ is a spine-chilling tale of murderous men and narrow escapes. A young girl’s father promises her to an unnerving man who lives in the depths of the woods. Before they’re wed, the groom bids his bride come and visit her future home. Wary of the dark woods, the girl leaves a trail of peas and lentils in her wake so that she may find her way home. Arriving at the menacing house, she is greeted by a bird who tries to ward her off and an old woman who assures her she is about to meet a grisly end. Hiding in a corner, the girl watches in horror as her husband-to-be returns home with a maiden and proceeds to chop her into small pieces and cook her.

Rather than rejoicing in a romantic fairy tale, this terrified girl finds herself desperately seeking an escape from her deadly marriage.

Thou, thoughtest thou wast about to be married, but death will be thy marriage. See here, I have had to fill this kettle with water, and when they have thee in their power they will kill thee without mercy, cook, and eat thee, for they are eaters of human flesh.’

Read the full fairy tale here: 

Little Red Riding Hood

Le Petit Chaperon Rouge from Charles Perrault.

We all know the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The tale of a young girl who takes some food to her sick grandmother and meets a wolf on the way. The cunning wolf beats Red Riding Hood to her grandmother’s house, where he eats the old lady, dresses up like her to trick the little girl, and ends up eating Red Riding Hood too. In most common children’s versions, the little girl escapes unharmed from the wolf, whether that’s by being cut out of his stomach by a huntsman or by her grandmother catching and disposing of him down a well (in the English version – The True Story of Little Golden Hood). In this version from Charles Perrault, Little Red Riding Hood gets eaten by the wolf, and that’s where the story ends. 

The moral of the story?

‘From this short story easy we discern
What conduct all young people ought to learn.
But above all, young, growing misses fair,
Whose orient rosy blooms begin t’ appear:
Who, beauties in the fragrant spring of age,
With pretty airs young hearts are apt t’ engage.
Ill do they listen to all sorts of tongues,
Since some inchant and lure like Syrens’ songs.
No wonder therefore’ tis, if over-power’d,
So many of them has the Wolf devour’d.
The Wolf, I say, for Wolves too sure there are
Of every sort, and every character.
Some of them mild and gentle-humour’d be,
Of noise and gall, and rancour wholly free;
Who tame, familiar, full of complaisance
Ogle and leer, languish, cajole and glance;
With luring tongues, and language wond’ rous sweet,
Follow young ladies as they walk the street,
Ev’n to their very houses, nay, bedside,
And, artful, tho’ their true designs they hide;
Yet ah! These simpering Wolves! Who does not see
Most dangerous of Wolves indeed they be?’

Read the full fairy tale here: 

Little Red Riding Hood story


The Rose Elf

A Hans Christian Andersen Tale

This 1888 tale features a small elf who dwells within the petals of a rose garden. While resting on a cold, harsh evening, he overhears a whispered goodbye between two parting lovers. The maiden offers her love a rose to remember her by, and the little elf sneaks inside its petals. Before the two can travel very far, the maiden’s foul brother attacks his sister’s love. He decapitates the man and buries the corpse in the woods. Hardly the romantic evening most of us wish for on Valentine’s Day.

Anxious to set things right, the rose elf tells the maiden of the tragedy, and she dies of sorrow. The tragic story concludes with the tiny rose elf attempting to avenge the two lovers’ deaths.

She took the pale head with the closed eyes, kissed the cold lips and shook the earth out of his beautiful hair.’

Read the full story here:


German Snow White from the Brothers Grimm

Everyone knows the famous story of Snow White, but the original German fairy tale has many more dark twists and turns than the version we know and love today. This tale tells the story of a powerless young beauty and the trials and tribulations she goes through after escaping from her evil stepmother. After MANY close shaves with death, including a poisoned comb and the classic poisoned apple, Snow White eventually finds her prince and they are to be married (a happy ending for them, yes). As for the stepmother, when she hears of one more beautiful than her, she arrives at the wedding of Snow White and the prince, where they are already waiting for her.

And when she saw her she knew her for Snow-white, and could not stir from the place for anger and terror. For they had ready red-hot iron shoes, in which she had to dance until she fell down dead.’

Death by hot-iron shoes is pretty brutal, making quite a sticky ending for the evil stepmother. Revenge at its finest. 

Read the full story here:


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