I have been exploring old traditional fairy tales.
I know that many are violent, with witches, ovens and lost children. And more than a few are grim.
But I found some in my edition of Hans Christian Anderson, that are positively gruesome.
One has the innocent title of ‘The Rose Elf’.
The elf observes two young lovers and as the lover kisses the rose, the wicked brother(of the female) stabs him in the heart and cuts off his head.
He buries him under a lime tree. The elf tells tells the girl about the horrible murder and where to find her lover’s body.
The young girl digs up her lover’s corpse and takes the head home with her. She pops it into a flower pot and plants a jasmine cutting above it.
She dies quietly of grief and the flower spirits secreted in the jasmine plant, fly out and stab the murderous brother in the tongue with their poison shards.
The rose elf enlists the aid of the bees and the swarm is ready to sting the murderer to death, but when they arrive, the spirits have already killed him.
The moral is that somewhere there is a tiny spirit who can enact vengeance on an evil doer.
So much for happy endings and protecting kids from violence and brutality.
Just tuck them into bed with no nightmares.
Maybe skip the old fairy tales apart from twisted ones, which have a quirky or funny slant.
I have been working on creating two, based on Thumbelina and Cinderella, for an anthology with a great cause at its heart.