Disney Stories You Thought You Knew

You grew up with Disney stories, loving the princesses and fearing the witches. You know all the lyrics to “Colours of the Wind” and “I’ll Make a Man out of You“. Disney trivia is your thing — you know these Disney stories inside and out.

But do you really? Get ready to be blown away, because the real Disney stories don’t have your favourite “happily ever after” endings.

1. Cinderella

Disney Stories You Thought You Knew

Of all Disney stories, Cinderella is one of the most beloved. But Cinderella’s name isn’t Cinderella. It’s Ella. Since she was always cleaning the fireplace and covered in “cinders,” her evil stepsisters dubbed her “Cinder-Ella”.

Don’t we all love the part where the stepsisters try to shove their gigantic feet into the tiny glass slipper? The real story, though, isn’t quite so comical. One of the sisters chops off her toes and the other slices off her heel in order to fit into the shoe. And to finish it off, they both get their eyes pecked out by birds when their deceit is uncovered.

Cinderella never had a fairy godmother. Yep, that’s right: the iconic, endearing, bibidibobid-ing fairy godmother was a big fat lie. Cinderella actually finds her dress hanging on a tree grown from her mother’s ashes.

2. The Little Mermaid

Disney Stories You Thought You Knew

After Ariel saves Eric, in the familiar Disney story, he’s caught up with the thought of her and wonders who she is. However, in the real story, he doesn’t see her. He doesn’t even know she exists. Still, the mermaid falls in love with him. Instead of trading her voice to be human, she gets her tongue cut off. And another fact the Disney story left out is that every step she took felt like a million shards of glass cutting into her feet.

And then to top it off, the Prince marries another woman. Since the little mermaid failed to get the prince, she would’ve died. Except that her sisters also made a pact with the sea witch, trading all their hair to obtain a dagger. If the little mermaid can kill the prince with it, she will turn back into a mermaid. But she can’t, kills herself instead, and as a result turns into sea foam.

3. Sleeping Beauty

Disney Stories You Thought You Knew

The original Sleeping Beauty story is the most altered of Disney stories. A king comes across Sleeping Beauty, takes her to the bed and effectively rapes her as she’s unconscious. She’s awoken by going into labour and giving birth to twins. The king comes back and they fall in love. However, like all familiar Disney stories, there is an evil queen (though, to be fair, her husband did cheat), and she tries to have the babies killed and fed to the king.

In the end, the queen is burned at the stake she intended for Sleeping Beauty.

4. Pocahontas

Disney Stories You Thought You Knew

What a lot of people don’t know about this Disney story is that it’s not a fairy tale — Pocahontas was a real person. And she was, in fact, married to the very serious Kocoum (before she cheated). There are a lot of different versions of what happened, but the most popular version is this:

When Pocahontas was 17, the English kidnapped her and held her as ransom. She was taken to England and converted to Christianity. There, she met a man called John Rolfe and the two fell in love. They married, and Pocahontas was from then on called Rebecca Wolfe, presented to English society as a symbol of the “tamed Virginia savage”.

5. Snow White

Disney Stories You Thought You Knew

Snow White is the forerunner of princess Disney stories. But the true story of Snow White is, unsurprisingly, quite crude. When the huntsman brings the evil queen the fake heart and lungs (supposedly Snow White’s), the queen, for some reason, gorges herself on them.

And Queen has some pretty quirky strategies of attempted murder. First she tries to kill Snow White by lacing her corset too tight, and then brushes her hair with a poison comb, until finally she gives her the poison apple we know from the familiar Disney tale.

To top it off, the Queen is invited to the wedding after Prince Charming saves Snow White from her slumber. And there, she’s forced to dance in burning hot shoes until she dies.


I have to say, even though it seems like our beloved Disney stories were lies, I’m really glad they did change the stories so much. I love the happy endings and the idea that good always prevails. But I guess it’s really no contest when the alternative is rape, violence, and blood thirst.

Tell us:

[quote_center]Which of these real Disney stories shocked you the most? [/quote_center]

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  1. Everything about the “real” Pocahontas on this site is wrong. It’s not fully known that she was real, and if she was, she was an 11 or 12 year old girl, no romance involved and a very “small” role played.

    • Hmm actually I’ve done a bit of background research on Pocahontas and the stories do differ. But I think she was a real person.

  2. Dearest, you are an artist. I can’t get my head around being that gifted and talented. I wouldn’t know where to start blocking lace. I’m still struggling with dropped stitches in a 25 stitch scarf!Wonderful, beautiful job. Reminds me of very old Irish lace and linen which we’ve lost the ability to make to some extent. Thank you for keeping the old arts alive xxxx


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