Fairytales are supposed to end happily ever after.
But fantasy aficionados the Brothers Grimm sure seemed to hate neat and tidy endings. One might even say they hated happiness and good tidings even more, as the majority of their fairytales are horrifyingly gruesome. Their version of Beauty and the Beast, for example, was dark and haunting much like the lives of the real couple who were forced into marriage and studied like animals.
The original Brothers Grimm stories were scary, violent, sex-obsessed, and incredibly ill-suited for children. Some of their tales are better known than others but they're all cleverly crafted. If you're into brutal and provocative fiction, you'll love reading about these decidedly not-happy endings.
Rapunzel Gets Pregnant After A Sex Spree With Her Prince
In the first version of Grimm's "Rapunzel," written in 1812, the title-character is locked away from the world until she makes friends with the king's son. Their relationship becomes much more sexual in later versions of the brother's tale. Rapunzel and the prince live in joy and pleasure for a long time without anyone knowing. When Rapunzel asks the fairy who guards her "why it is that [her] clothes are all too tight [and] no longer fit" it becomes clear that Rapunzel is pregnant from countless couplings.
The fairy cuts off Rapunzel's hair so she can no longer see the beloved prince and abandons her. Later, the luckless girl gives birth to twins but when the prince attempts to see his family, the fairy refuses. The prince throws himself from his love's tower, loses his sight, and wanders aimlessly around the forest until accidently running into a destitute Rapunzel years later.
Snow White Was Only Seven Years Old When The Queen Tried To Have Her Killed
When Snow White's beauty exceeds that of the queen's, she has to die. The Brothers Grimm title character is only seven-years-old when the queen orders a hunter to "take Snow White out into the woods... kill her... and bring her lungs and her liver back."
The huntsman can't bring himself to commit the deed and tells Snow White to run away, although he believes that wild animals will devour her anyway. He shows the helpless child mercy, relatively speaking, but only after kidnapping and almost killing her.
After many attempts, the queen successfully kills Snow White with a poisoned apple. When the prince finds the cursed beauty, his servant (enraged by royal servitude) strikes her so violently that the apple chunk she ate is dislodged from her throat.
Snow White and her prince fall in love, marry, and invite the jealous queen to witness their nuptials. When the queen arrives, she is forced to wear burning hot iron shoes and dance until she falls dead upon the ground.
"The Girl Without Hands" Had No Hands Because Her Father Cut Them Off
The brothers' "The Girl Without Hands" tale is about a poor miller who wants to give his daughter to the devil in exchange for riches. To make everything worse, the miller is instructed to chop off the girl's hands before the deal can be completed.
The girl, beautiful and pious, bathes herself and stands in a chalk circle on the first day that the devil tries to retrieve her. The fiend doesn't like her cleanliness, though, and he demands that the child be dirty when he returns. The miller follows orders but the depressed girl weeps into her hands, making them clean and further angering the devil. The miller is then given an ultimatum. He can chop off his daughter's hands so that she can't cry into and inadvertently clean them or he can go to hell in hs daughter's place. The selfish father makes his choice and it is hardly benevolent.
When the devil returns the next day, the girl has wept into her stumps so much that he still can't take her. He renounces his claim to her and the girl leaves home. She eventually happens upon a king who makes her silver hands but God blesses her with new natural hands in honor of her purity and piety.
Even more awful, the earliest version of this Brothers Grimm story includes an inter-familial relationship between father and daughter.
Hunting Leads To Fratricide In "The Singing Bone"
The depraved tale of "The Singing Bone" begins when a savage boar ravages a kingdom. The king offers to reward whoever kills the beast (as kings are oft to do). Two poor brothers take on the task and it seems that they will succeed and live happily. The animal is defeated but in a drastic turn of events, one brother kills the other, buries his bones, and takes all the credit. Years later, a shepherd finds the deceased brother's bone and uses it as a musical instrument. The bone sings of its own accord and recounts a grim tale.
Oh, my dear shepherd,
You are blowing on my little bone
My brother killed me,
And buried me beneath the bridge,
To get the wild boor
For the daughter of the king.
The shepherd takes the bone to the king to get retribution and is not disappointed as the murderous brother is put into a sack and drowned alive. The punishment is deserved and more-than-a-little drastic but that is completely apropos for the Brothers Grimm