Fairy tales can be pretty dark, like the Brothers Grimm story of a father who chops off his daughter’s hands to make a deal with the devil. But the original Sleeping Beauty is in a league of its own. In Sleeping Beauty’s original story, the “hero” is a king who meets a beautiful sleeping princess and decides to rape and impregnate her while she’s sleeping.
The dark Sleeping Beauty story is miles away from the classic 1959 Disney movie—just like Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is completely different from the tragic true story of the couple behind the tale as old as time. In Giambattista Basile’s Sleeping Beauty story, called "Sun, Moon, and Talia" (1634), the “wicked queen” who became Maleficent is actually the “hero’s” wife—and hearing her side of the story will make you want to root for her.
And Disney wasn’t the first to be deeply disturbed by the original Sleeping Beauty story. At the end of the sixteenth century, Mother Goose Tales told Charles Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty story, which took out the creepy sexual assault, including when Sleeping Beauty stripped naked in front of her assaulter’s wife. Once you read the original story of Sleeping Beauty, you'll never be able to look at the Disney version the same.