The True Story Behind Disney Princess Fairytales

By Rifath Islam


Disney. That word brings back memories to us all, whether we are 5 or 55. Why? Because of all those Disney fairy-tales and movies that we read and watched as kids.

But we haven’t been given the full story when it comes to Disney. It would be a great tragedy if we were exposed to it at a young age.

On the bright side, I’m here to give you a little more insight to three Disney fairytales that may not exactly be as innocent as they seem.


Whether it be in elementary school or as a bedtime story, ”Cinderella” is quite well known. The butchered children’s version goes something like this:

Cinderella is a child whose mother and father passed away, leaving her with her evil stepmother. One night when there is a royal ball, Cinderella is able to become a beautiful princess with the help of her fairy godmother and animal friends. At the stroke of midnight, Cinderella leaves the ball before the spell can reverse itself and loses a glass slipper in her rush to get home. The Prince, who had fallen in love with Cinderella, goes to find the owner of the slipper and eventually finds Cinderella. They get married and live happily ever after.

That’s not exactly how the story went.

In the original story, Cinderella’s father never died nor did she have a fairy godmother. The “magical” aspect of the fairy-tale comes from a tree by her mother’s grave. It grew because on a journey that her father went on, Cinderella asked for nothing more than the first twig that brushed her father’s head. When her father returned home, her father gave her the twig. Cinderella laid the twig on her mother’s grave and cried on it. The tears gave the tree the power to grow. Cinderella would visit the grave and the tree daily.

The stepmother would not let Cinderella attend the ball, saying she had no clothes to wear. The tree, however, provided Cinderella with a beautiful dress. When Cinderella finally wished to leave the ball, the Prince wanted to know where the maiden lived, but Cinderella swiftly escaped so as to not be followed. She returned the dress to the tree.

This happened for two more nights until the prince finally managed to get Cinderella’s shoe by laying pitch on the steps where her shoe got stuck. He proceeded to find any maiden whose foot fit in the shoe. The stepsisters cut off pieces of their feet with encouragement from their mother so that the shoe fit. Neither of the two sisters got away with it because the doves pointed out the blood that was oozing from the slipper. Finally, the Prince found Cinderella. On the day of the wedding, when the two stepsisters came to bask in Cinderella’s glory, the two doves that sat on Cinderella’s shoulders pecked out their eyes as punishment for being wicked and greedy.


This story is more commonly known as one of Disney’s hit movies, “Tangled.” The story goes as follows:

As a baby, Rapunzel was kidnapped by a wicked woman and was kept hidden in a tower. Rapunzel was under the impression that the woman who kidnapped her was her actual mother, until a charming man brings her out of the tower to experience the real world and see the floating lights that are released on her birthday every year. Eventually, Rapunzel finds out that the woman is not her real mother and was only using her for the magic that Rapunzel’s hair brought. The woman becomes old again and Rapunzel and Eugene live the rest of their lives together in the kingdom with Rapunzel’s parents.

Now what is the alternate story, you ask? Well, it goes something like this:

Rapunzel’s mother became sick while pregnant when she saw someone eat lettuce that she could never get her hands on. She became sick while craving this lettuce. In order to live, her husband stole the forbidden lettuce from the garden that belonged to a sorceress named Mother Gothel. One day he was caught. In order to get the lettuce that was keeping his wife alive, the husband agreed to give the sorceress their unborn child.

On the day of Rapunzel’s birth, the sorceress came and took her away, giving her the name “Rapunzel.” On her twelfth birthday, the sorceress locked her up in a high tower; you could only receive entrance to the tower by chanting “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair for me.” A prince one day happened to pass by one day and heard Rapunzel singing.

He wondered how to gain entrance until he saw the sorceress and heard her chant. The next day, he came back and parroted the chant and as he did, Rapunzel let down her hair. The Prince climbed into the tower and they continued to meet like that until one day Rapunzel accidentally let out her secret. The sorceress cut off Rapunzel’s hair in her anger and banished her to a lonely land. On that same day, the sorceress lured the prince to the tower and told him the truth about what happened. In his grief, he attempted to commit suicide. He escaped with his life but was blinded when he jumped into a bush of thorns. Rapunzel lived in the forest until the prince found her – he had once again heard and recognized her voice. They lived in poverty for the rest of their lives.

Sleeping Beauty

This story may be the most gruesome of them all. It involves a princess (Talia) and some flax.

In the children’s story, the story began with the birth of Aurora (the name of the princess in the adapted version). The evil witch cursed the newborn: She would die on her 16th birthday by pricking her finger on a spindle. Three garden fairies cast a spell so Aurora wouldn’t die, but instead fell into a deep sleep. The day of her 16th birthday, the curse took place, but she was awoken by a kiss from her betrothed prince, Philip. Aurora woke up and they lived together in the kingdom.

The original story states that the seers and the wise men came to predict Talia’s future under command of her father. It was predicted that Talia would be in grave danger because of a piece of stalk in flax. Talia saw an old woman spinning. Intrigued by the spinning wheel, Talia went to go touch the thread when a piece of stalk got stuck under her fingernail, causing her to drop dead. It was never a betrothed prince who woke Talia up with a “true love’s kiss.”

It was actually a king who was passing by on his horse when his falcon escaped him. He went after it, and as he saw it go into the window of the palace, he climbed in through the window. Shaken by her beauty, he raped her multiple times and got her pregnant. In her sleep, Talia gave birth to two twins that were taken care of by the garden fairies.

The spell reversed itself when one of the twins sucked the flax out of Talia’s finger while she was asleep. When the king visited her next, she was awake. Eventually the two fell in love. However, the king was still married to another woman. When the woman found out about the affair between the king and Talia, she ordered for the twins’ heads to be presented on a platter and fed to the king. She also tried to burn the princess, but the woman was unsuccessful in both attempts. Eventually, Talia and the king got married.

So the next time you watch a Disney movie, keep in mind that not all is what it seems.


, ,