Two scientists have taken upon them to find the origins of the much-loved stories of Belle, Rumpelstiltskin, and Jack and have reached the conclusion that fairy tales were invented before the bible was written, that’s how old they really are.
The two that made this discovery are Sara da Silva from Lisbon University and Jamshid Tehrani from the University of Durham. The duo focused upon the analyzes of the comparative phylogenetic roots of the folktales. This translates into trying to figure out the source of a story by doing a comparative study.
Upon analyzes, they allegedly came to the conclusion that the Grimm brothers were not that original when they started collecting stories in the 16th century. Apparently some classics like the story of the smith that sold his soul to the devil date back up to 5000 years ago. If that’s the story parents told the children to go to sleep it’s no wonder why the men were so barbaric, literally.
It seems that Tehrani and da Silva discovered the ancient roots of the stories by analyzing the main focuses presented in the narrative. By that criteria, some stories that dealt with human concerns were dated to be 3000 or 4000 years old.
This really spoils the image of a beautiful yellow dress French Belle and a romantic, but very ugly Frenchman, and even Gaston with his black hair, white teeth, and charming accent. Can you imagine how Belle would look like as the most beautiful girl in a … tribe? It was probably the only girl in the area that had more than five teeth and all of her fingers. And the hairy beast? That will probably give cold chills down the spine of any Disney fan.
Of course, the stories changed dramatically over the few thousands of years. Maybe Belle wasn’t even the most beautiful girl, maybe she was a woman that looked into the soul of a hairy barbarian and was obligated by the circumstances to bear his children because that’s what happened in those times.
It is a known fact that fairy tales were passed along in an oral tradition for hundreds of years before the Grimm brothers started to write them down for posterity. And those stories were nothing like the cute Disney versions we are reading to our children today. Ariel dies in the original rendering, Cinderella’s sisters cut their feet to fit in the shoe, Snow White’s evil stepmother dies after being forced to dance with hot iron shoes on her feet.
And those are the stories that circulated in the 16th – 17th century, when people were much more civil with one another compared to the pre-biblical times when murder, incest, and rape were common.
In conclusion, if fairy tales were invented before the bible, as the two researchers say, they must have been completely different from what we perceive today as a bedtime story.
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