Set in far-off enchanted kingdoms, fairy tales invoke a sense of wonder. Powerful kings, wicked queens, monsters and all manner of magical beings are among the memorable characters that inhabit these classic stories. To some extent, these tales map the terrain of the human psyche. They resonate with the archetypal hopes, dreams and fears that reside in the collective unconscious.
But many well-known and dearly loved fairy tales aren’t as sweet and uplifting as they might seem. In fact, many of them originated in dark and violent imaginations. And by current standards, some of them verge on taboo. The following ten classic stories – now sanitized for modern audiences – indeed had darker origins. They originally depicted cannibalism, torture, sexual assault, bodily mutilation, infanticide and bestiality. So much for happily ever after.