I recently watched Into the Woods, and as much as I hated it - and I really hated it - it got a lot of things right that the Disney animated movies got wrong. While a lot of the endings in the movie were unconventional, they were very similar to how the original fairy-tales ended. The actual endings were a bit more gruesome, and you can really tell why Disney toned them down a bit.
What Into the Woods got exactly right were the gruesome fates of the original evil step-sisters. In the Grimm fairy-tale, the prince goes from house to house trying to locate the woman whose foot would fit the slipper he had found after his night with Cinderella. When he got to Cinderella's house, the step-sisters cut off parts of their feet so that they would fit the slipper. The first one cut off a toe, and the second sliced off her heel. The blood from their foot gave them away, so the prince didn't choose either of them.
When he finally found the real Cinderella they were married, and as punishment for their wicked ways, two pigeons flew down and pecked out the eyes of the step-sisters. They then lived the rest of their lives as blind beggars.
Now this one is by far the most horrific of the bunch, so if you think that it might end up being a little too much for you, just skip on ahead to the next one.
Okay, still here? You sure? Fine, let's begin. You know how in the Disney cartoon, the prince kisses Aurora and she wakes up and everybody lives happily ever after? Well, in the original story, while the princess is asleep, a king finds her and he is less than noble with her.
This is where it gets bad. He rapes her in her sleep, and impregnates her. She gives birth to twins, and according to many of the variations, it is the children's crying that ends up waking her up. If that isn't bad enough, the princess ends up marrying the king?! Is there any moral to that story? I submit that there is not!
The Little Mermaid
While in the cartoon Ariel ends up with her prince and they live a long happy life together, she isn't so lucky in the story. In the original story, written by Hans Christian Anderson, Prince Eric falls in love with another woman, and the young mermaid is so distraught that she goes back to the sea and melts into the sea-foam. So basically she dies. Yup, onto the next one.
Little Red Riding Hood
Even Into the Woods gets this one wrong. In all of the stories that you read or see in the movies, Red is eaten by the evil wolf, and a nearby Huntsman shows up, kills the wolf and saves the little girl.
In the original story, there is no huntsman. Red gets eaten by the wolf, and that's all there is to it. She never gets saved or anything of the sort. The story is supposed to tell little kids never to talk to strangers, because if you do, bad things will happen. That's a pretty morbid way of conveying that message if you ask me.
Now nothing happens to Snow White herself, so you can go ahead and let go a sigh of relief. However, the evil witch gets quite an excessive punishment for her nefarious deeds. When they find out what the witch did, they give her burning hot shoes to wear, and she is forced to dance and dance until her feet melt and she dies. That's just cruel!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
In this story, a young girl stumbles upon a cottage that belongs to a few bears. She eats their porridge, sits in their chairs, and sleeps in their beds. When they find her, they confront her rationally and by the end all is forgiven. She ends up befriending the baby bear and they put the whole misunderstanding behind them.
Ha! Yeah right! In the real story, when the bears find her, they rip her to pieces and eat her. It's supposed to be a moral for kids not to take what isn't theirs. Apparently you'll be mauled by a family of wild animals if you do, so watch out for that.
Bonus: Humpty Dumpty
I put this as a bonus because it technically isn't an ending, but the nursery rhyme may be a bit more gruesome than you think. While it's widely accepted that Humpty Dumpty is an egg that falls and cracks open, the rhyme never clearly specifies him as an egg.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
See? If you just read the rhyme itself, without paying attention to what you've been taught, it's about a man who fell from a high place. The king and his medics weren't able to save him, so he died. That's it. The end.