When you think about fairy tales, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when it comes to breaking curses?
If you’re anything like me (or if you read the title of this post), your mind immediately went to the magical cure-all: true love’s kiss.
Think about it. According to the stories, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were both woken by true love’s kiss and even the Little Mermaid had to get a smooch in order to remain human and regain her voice.
But if you look a little closer, you’ll find that’s not exactly true.
Most people know the Disney versions of the fairy tales. Whether it’s because they grew up watching those movies (like I did) or simply because the movies were the first versions of these tales that were so successful, the Disney versions are what most people are familiar with. Of course, it helps that the Disney fairy tales are much tamer than many of the originals.
And it’s a great idea. There are worse things we can teach kids than the idea of loving others. Not to get at all political about recent events, but teaching kids (and adults) that love is the answer to whatever problems you have seems like the right way to go.
But back to the stories.
Snow White actually woke up when the prince was transporting her back to his castle. They hit a bump in the road, which jostled her and dislodged a piece of the poisoned apple still stuck in her throat. And of course, because of magic, that meant she was no longer poisoned/cursed.
Sleeping Beauty is a much darker tale. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say it wasn’t a kiss that woke her up, but a baby. That she gave birth to. While she was unconscious. Yeah. Not exactly romantic.
As for the Little Mermaid, it’s true that she needed to earn the prince’s love to stay human, but that was a more complicated situation. She needed to be loved by a human in order to earn a soul (again, fairy tale logic doesn’t always hold up to today’s standards). So while it wasn’t a kiss she needed, the whole “love conquers all” concept was definitely true in this case.
A lot of fairy tales, when adapted by Disney or other parties, were made much more romantic than they were originally written to be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just changes the messages a lot of the fairy tales had.
So which do you prefer: true love’s kiss or the original curse-breakers?
Until next time, word nerds!