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5 Grimms' Fairy Tales Way Too Dark to Read to Kids

As we've discussed before, the Brothers Grimm were a pair of child-hating lunatics. Here are a few more of their baffling tales, because you should never be short of ways to frighten and confuse children.

#5. "The Girl Without Hands"

A man accidentally trades his daughter to the devil for wealth, because that's apparently something you can do by mistake (maybe he checked the wrong box on the application). But the daughter fights back by washing her hands, enraging the devil, who prefers everything to be covered in fart dust.

Predictably, the devil just has her hands chopped off. However, she cries so much that her blood-spouting stumps are washed clean, and the devil throws up his hooves and calls the whole deal off.

Gustav Dore
The devil can't make use of a crying woman with hook-hands?

#4. "The Three Snake Leaves"

A young soldier falls in love with a beautiful princess, only to discover that she has a bizarre prenuptial agreement that requires her husband to be buried alive with her in the event of her death. He agrees, possibly because he couldn't see around his boner well enough to read carefully, and she dies not too long after.

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"Yeah, I could've thought that out better."

The soldier is locked inside her tomb, along with some food and water so he can watch his young wife rot into viscous corpse soup as he slowly starves to death. However, two snakes drop him some magic leaves, which he uses on his bride to bring her back to life. She repays him by taking a sea captain as her lover and dumping the soldier in the middle of the ocean.

He is brought back to life by more snake leaves, and the princess and her pirate boyfriend are executed. Cue "What's Love Got to Do With It?"

#3. "The Hare's Bride"

A girl finds a hare in her garden who offers to take her back to his home. She agrees, and when the rabbit gets her back to his hutch, he reveals that the two of them are now married. He instantly demonstrates what type of marriage it is going to be by smacking her around and demanding that she cook an endless amount of food for the hundreds of birds, foxes, and rodents that are their wedding guests, because apparently the entire woodland ecosystem was in on his nefarious scheme.

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"Mix me a gin and tonic, too, or tonight's gonna get dark."

She slyly dresses up a straw doll in her own clothes while the hare isn't looking and escapes. He comes in to ask why the food is taking so long, and when the doll doesn't answer, he smacks it so hard that it falls apart. Believing he's just killed her, the hare gloomily sulks away, presumably thinking of a way to explain this to the rabbit police.

#2. "The Singing Bone"

A king hires two brothers to kill a wild boar, promising his daughter as payment to whichever one of them manages to do it. This must have been quite a boar.

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"Damn right."

The younger brother bravely sets out to destroy the porcine scourge. When the elder brother stumbles out of a bar to see his sibling carrying the slain boar back to the palace, the elder kills and buries the younger, taking the boar to the king himself.

Many years later, a shepherd discovers one of the younger brother's bones in a riverbed and makes a flute out of it, because shepherds spend many long, lonely hours gradually dwindling into pure insanity. When he blows on the flute, it sings a depressing ballad, so he decides to show it to the king.

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"I know you've got lots of gold and jewels and such, but here's this bone I found on the ground!"

When the shepherd plays the bone flute for the king, it reveals the older brother's pig-stealing, murderous treachery, and the king has him drowned in a sack. Again, this must have been quite a boar.

#1. "The Death of the Little Hen"

A rooster and a hen go up to eat at the "nut-hill," which sounds like the name of a windowless restaurant in a strip mall. Tragically, the hen chokes to death, because you cannot give the Heimlich maneuver without hands.

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Or a bellybutton.

So the rooster piles her body on a cart and a bunch of animals climb on the back, as is the custom of the enchanted forest. They come to a creek that must be forded, and a rock plops itself down as a footbridge. However, the cart is too heavy and tips over, sending all the animals into the river, where they gurgle out their last desperate breaths before succumbing to the hideous pain of drowning. Alone, the rooster buries the hen and lies down on her grave until he dies, too.

That's it. That's the whole story. The last line is literally, "...and then everyone was dead." The Brothers Grimm just couldn't help but remind us that eventually, all stories end that way.



Christina is a fantasy writer, a Web designer, and a well-rounded nerd. Find a more rambling rant about the tales on this list here.

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