Aurora – Disney Princesses: Origins

AuroraAurora appeared in the 1959 Walt Disney production of Sleeping Beauty. A tale of a young girl cursed upon her sixteenth birthday, only to be awoken by love’s first kiss. Sleeping Beauty flopped in theatres and another Disney fairytale was not created for another 30 years! Where did Walt Disney find inspiration for this tale? Today we look at the original tale told by Brothers Grimm (Little Brier Rose), and Charles Perrault.

The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm

The story begins much the same. Seven good fairies (instead of 3) are asked to be the godmothers of the baby Princess. An evil fairy (Maleficent?) enters the palace. Everyone thought this evil fairy was dead because she had been living within a tower for years. The baby is gifted beauty, wit, grace, dance, song, and music by the first six fairies. The evil fairy is so mad that she is being overlooked that she enchants the Princess so that she will prick her hand on a spindle and die. The final good fairy tries to do damage control. Rather than dying, the Princess will go into a deep sleep for 100 years unless awakened by a kiss from a Prince.

Sleeping Beauty

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Cinderella – Disney Princesses: Origins

Cinderella artOur next Disney Princess is Cinderella. The Walt Disney version of Cinderella tells a tale about a girl who is living with her step-mother and her step-sisters. As tradition with most Disney princesses, she is also able to communicate with animals in a unique way. It seems that Cinderella’s only friends are these mice that live in her house. But, how did the Cinderella that we know so well develop from her original tale?

Cinderella – Early Tales

The story of Cinderella can be traced back as far as 7 BC, to the Egyptians and their version of the tale titled “Rhodopis.” In this tale, an eagle steals a woman’s shoe and drops it in the lap of a King. Once he finds the owner of the shoe, he marries her.

Cinderella fishIn versions of Cinderella from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, the fairy godmother is depicted as a fish that gets cooked. In some versions, the fish represents Cinderella’s mother’s spirit. When the fish is cooked, Cinderella seeks out the bones. When the bones are found and buried, a beautiful swing appears in the spot, which serves as Cinderella’s “glass slipper” because she is the only one who can make the swing move with her singing. In the version from Vietnam, Cinderella cooks her step-sister as revenge, and forces her step-mother to eat her. Dinner is served!

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Snow White – Disney Princesses: Origins

Snow White Disney Princesses are beloved by little girls and boys worldwide. But, how did the stories we know come to be? In this series of Disney Princesses: Origins, we’ll delve into the original backstories and creation of the Walt Disney princesses we know and love. Our first Disney Princess is Snow White, star of the 1937 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The story of Snow White originated as a fairy tale in Europe, published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. This original version was included in the first edition of Grimms’ Fairy Tales. In this tale, Snow White’s mother dies during childbirth, and indeed, it is an evil Queen who marries the princess’ father. The Queen decides to sends a huntsman to take her step-daughter deep into the woods to be killed, demanding proof of her death in the form of her lungs and liver. The huntsman can’t go through with the request and brings back the lungs and liver of a boar. The queen then eats these, believing it is from Snow White. Yuck!

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