Childrens Books 15 Terrible Things That Happened in Your Favorite Childhood Fairy Tales  

Jacob Shelton
10.9k votes 2.3k voters 293.5k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the most scandalous things to happen in these classic fairy tales.

At one time or another in your youth, someone probably read you a fairy tale. At the very least, you saw one of the many Disney versions of a fantastical story that has been around for a few hundred years. But when you think back about everything that actually happened in your favorite children’s story you may start to realize that everything was not as peachy keen as you believed. From stepsisters cutting off their own feet, to beloved characters beating their friends to death with a hammer, there are a lot of creepy things that happened in fairy tales and we’re going to break them all down for you.

The line between scary fairy tales and a beloved story is much finer than you’d think. It may not even exist. As you read this collection of terrible things that happened in your favorite fairy tales, you’ll find that the most creepy fairy tales tend to be the most popular. We don’t know why children’s authors wanted to torture their readers with stories that were plucked directly from their nightmares, but we’re still talking about them today so whatever they did worked. You’re probably already thinking of a few horrible things that happened in one of your beloved fairy tales, but get ready to be shocked by what you read.

Vote up the most terrible things that happened in your favorite childhood fairy tales, and if we missed something especially disturbing, tell us which fictional story creeped you out the most. 


1 1,097 VOTES

Little Red Riding Hood Eats Her Grandmother's Teeth

Little Red Riding Hood Eats He... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 15 Terrible Things That Happened in Your Favorite Childhood Fairy Tales
Photo: sofi01/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

Stop reading here if you ever want to eat rice again. There are a lot of versions of Little Red Riding Hood, and the one thing that all of the oldest versions have in common is that poor little Red is tricked by the wolf into eating her own grandmother. But one of the most gruesome versions of the story has an ogre rather than a wolf killing Red's grandmother, using her intestines to latch the door, and keeping her blood, teeth, and jaws in a jar. When Red finally arrives at the house, the story gets really gross:

"Little Red Hat opened the door, went inside, and said, 'Grandmother, I am hungry.' The ogre replied, 'Go to the kitchen cupboard. There is still a little rice there.' Little Red Hat went to the cupboard and took the teeth out. "Grandmother, these things are very hard!'"

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2 835 VOTES

The Little Match Girl Freezes to Death and Dies Alone

The Little Match Girl Freezes ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Terrible Things That Happened in Your Favorite Childhood Fairy Tales
Photo: 黑本/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why was Hans Christian Anderson obsessed with killing young woman? When you look at all of stories next to one another, especially this tale of a homeless girl who's burning matches to stay warm on New Year's Eve, it seems like Anderson was simply a ghoul who delighted in grinding his characters into dust. Maybe he delighted in the knowledge that children would soon be reading nightmarish bon mots like: "But in the corner, leaning against the wall, sat the little girl with red cheeks and smiling mouth, frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. The New Year's sun rose upon a little pathetic figure. The child sat there, stiff and cold, holding the matches, of which one bundle was almost burned."

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3 1,116 VOTES

The Little Mermaid Is So Tortured That She Commits Suicide

The Little Mermaid Is So Tortu... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Terrible Things That Happened in Your Favorite Childhood Fairy Tales
Photo:  sharonang/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

After reading the original The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, we're left wondering if he's at all related to Lars Von Trier. This beloved fairy tale is spent torturing a poor mermaid who just wants to have a soul in every scene. First there's the realization that she doesn't have a soul, then she has to drink a potion that destroys her tongue and voice while giving her a pair of the best gams on the planet. But wait there's more! Every time the former mermaid takes a step it feels like she's being stabbed in the feet. By then end of the story she's so distraught that instead of killing the prince on his wedding night (it's the only thing that can turn her back into a mermaid), she commits suicide.

Don't worry, there's a silver lining. If she spends the next 300 years doing good deeds as an "earth spirit" she can earn her own soul and try to get into Heaven. But even that has a terrible caveat. So explains one of the earth spirits, "When we see a naughty or a wicked child, we shed tears of sorrow, and for every tear a day is added to our time of trial!”

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4 1,147 VOTES

Hansel and Gretel's Mother Tries to Trick Her Own Children So They Die

Hansel and Gretel's Mother... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Terrible Things That Happened in Your Favorite Childhood Fairy Tales
Photo: sofi01/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

And you thought that your family was tough. In the original text of Hansel and Gretel, their mother believes that the children eat too much, so she hatches a scheme to drop them off in the middle of the woods so they'll starve to death. Worst mother ever?

While she's busy convincing her husband to go along with the plan, Hansel overhears their conversation and starts collecting rocks to create a path for their return trip. In the mother's defense, she was going to give them one more piece of bread before leaving them to die. "Early tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where it is the thickest. There we will light a fire for them, and give each of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our work and leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we shall be rid of them."

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