Oh! So That’s Why the Fairy Tale Did That.


One of my favorite things about modern adaptations is how the authors solve unanswered questions from their fairy tale.

“But fairy tales are supposed to have unanswered questions!” you say. “They’re full of whimsy and magic!”

That’s nice, but why can’t we have some explanation?

For example, why does only a princess kissing a frog turn him into a prince, instead of any girl in (true) love? Why is Cinderella the only girl in the kingdom who fits that glass slipper? Why would a woman sell her unborn child for spinning straw into gold?

Okay, well that last one’s easier to answer (sell unborn child or die). But I want to know the other ones!

Here are some of my favorite explanations:

  • Cinderella wasn’t a push over. She was under a fairy curse to obey any order! (As per Ella Enchanted, which also explained that Ella had a drop of fairy blood that made her feet supernaturally small.)
  • Sleeping Beauty wasn’t a moron who had to touch every sharp thing put in front of her. She was attacked by a weapon that — to the ignorant eye — resembles a spindle! (As per The Stepsister Scheme.)
  • Rapunzel’s hair wasn’t seventy feet long just to help the witch into the tower. She couldn’t cut it, or it would lose its magical healing power! (As per Tangled.)
  • The twelve dancing princesses didn’t dance in a magical kingdom every night because they wanted to. They were forced to dance because of fairy magic! (As per Entwined.)
  • The Big Bad Wolf wasn’t trying to blow the little pigs’ houses down. He just had really bad allergies! (As per The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. If you didn’t have that as a kid, you missed out.)

What about you, what explanations have you seen that you’ve enjoyed?

Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

  • Johanna

    I think in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, she gets hypnotized by this glowing green orb that Maleficent conjures, and that’s why she touches the spindle. I just watched it recently and it really seemed like she was under a spell.

    Also, I love Tangled too. So, so much. HorseDog!

    • admin

      Good point! It’s not like she’s fooling around or trying to defy the curse or anything. Or just plain dumb like Snow White. (Don’t take food from strangers, girl, don’t you know anything?)

      Maximus is pretty fantastic. One of my favorite parts is when he hides himself – behind the shape of a horse. Classic!

      • I also love when he sword fights with Flynn, who is parrying with a frying pan and says something like, “This is the strangest day of my life!”

        • admin

          *ahem* “You should know this is the strangest thing I’ve ever done!”