The Ugly Truth: Horrific Origins Of Your Favorite Disney Princesses


Disney movies are full of laughter and cute moments. You know you will smile through it, and that they will always have a happy ending. That’s all that there is to these movies- at least that’s what I thought, till I found out about the origins behind these stories. You will never be able to see these movies the same way ever again.

1. Little Mermaid: The original story of “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Anderson is something that should be kept away from children. The prince in this story is a condescending jerk and there is no happy ending. Basically, after Ariel turns human and meets the prince, the prince treats her like a glorified pet. He falls in love with some random woman and if that’s not bad enough Ariel is forced to dance at their wedding, which is nothing short of walking on pins and needles. Finally, because of her decision to become human, Ariel has to choose between death and killing the love of her life. After deliberating on it she kills herself thus turning into sea foam. The end. No happily ever after.


2. Sleeping Beauty: There have been various versions of Sleeping Beauty over the years, the earliest dating back to the 1340’s. One of the most famous is Giam battista Basile’s “Sun, Moon and Talia”. The beginning of this story is similar to Disney’s version. However while she is in comatose, the king rapes her thus impregnating her. I really don’t get how, but she does give birth to twins. One of them sucks on her thumb while looking for her nipple to feed on. This dislodged the sphincter that was stuck in her thumb and voila, she wakes up. I guess a true love’s kiss doesn’t really solve much after all. The prince’s wife, then, calls for her husband’s children for she wanted to kill them and serve them as dinner to the prince, now king. However, the cook exchanges the meat. The children are alive, the queen is killed and the king is married Talia (the sleeping beauty). Wow. Seriously?


3. Pocahontas: Pocahontas is not based on any other book. It’s based on a true story. This story has of course been tweaked a lot to be suitable for children. Her birth name was Matoakoa and this is what really happened to her. John Smith did make contact with the tribe but most likely fabricated Pocahontas’s brave attempt at saving his life. But she was ten when this happened so a romance is very very unlikely. She was forcefully married to an Englishman, either to legitimize her children of rape or to grant her freedom. When they returned to England she was paraded as the “civilized Virginia savage”.  A romance between Pocahontas and Smith is pure fiction as when she met him, she fled the room. There was no happily ever after for real life Pocahontas, as she died young due to a mysterious illness.


4. Cinderella: Cinderella is an interpretation of the Grimm brothers’ tale. However even that story is not original. The Grimm brothers’ tale is very similar to a much older story, Cat Cinderella. This is a story where there is a seemingly sweet governess. Cinderella tells her everything even how her stepmother mistreats her. She convinces Cinderella to kill the stepmother, following which the governess marries Cinderella’s father.After the wedding the governesses’ seven beautiful daughters cause the father to lose interest in Cinderella. They all mistreat her, make her work like a servant and call her names. The ending is similar to Disney’s; even this Cinderella gets her happily ever after.


5. Snow White: There are many different versions of Snow White. In one, the dwarfs demand that she cook and clean for them, and in another, they rape her. In the Grimm Brothers tale of Snow White, the queen asks the hunter to bring Snow White’s liver and lungs to eat them. But when she realizes that they weren’t actually hers and that snow white is not dead she tries to kill her in three different ways- first with a corset so tight that she passes out; second, with a poisonous comb; and third, with a poisonous apple. When the prince falls in love with the corpse (creepy, right?), he carries the coffin and as a result, the apple gets dislodged from her throat. Well, the tale of the true love’s kiss is just that, a tale. As revenge, Snow White and her prince force the queen to dance in red-hot iron shoes till she dies.


As the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold. The horrifying origins of these Disney princesses just goes on to prove it.



Mahira Dasgupta

Image Source: The Viewspaper$prod-lg$&$label=Interactive%20Storybook