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Red-Headed Fairy Tales

Many have heard of the fairy tales The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and a handful of others. These fairy tales have made a home for themselves in the mainstream world thanks to the intervention of Disney, who not only made cartoon movies of them but is in the process of creating live-action versions as well. Many of us grew up with these stories, and because of all the recreations, new generations will continue to enjoy them.

But how many of you know of the plethora of fairy tales that will never see the light of Disney? Tales that have been passed over, forgotten except for by fairy tale enthusiasts.

I call these tales Red-Headed Fairy Tales. Like a red-headed stepchild, these tales have been overlooked by the mainstream world for one reason or another, pushed to the side like Cinderella's stepsisters in favor of their more glamorous and profitable siblings.

The goal of this blog series is to bring these tales to light. From The Good Woman to The Nightingale to The Cat Witches, I will tackle a new tale in each post, discussing plot and observations and the occasional comparison to a more well-known story. These tales will also not be limited to one country or culture. Welsh, Japanese, Russian, Irish, all tales are welcome here. I invite you to follow along and join the conversation.

And let it be said now, what you grew up hearing isn't true. Fairy tales are not for children. Yes, there were some that were written with moral lessons, intended to teach children important values. It's my opinion that some adults could do with reminders of those lessons. But can you imagine reading to your child the version of Sleeping Beauty that involves her having two kids by the prince while she's still sleeping, only for his ogress mother to attempt to eat her and the children while he's away? Or how about the version of Cinderella where the stepsisters cut off their heels while trying to fit into the glass slipper, only to have birds peck out their eyes after they fail?

Don't be fooled: not all of these stories will have happy endings. But I think they are all the more relevant and interesting for that.

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