Centennial lie about Hansel and Gretel: This is the stark truth behind the story

It is not a story for children

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We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel which has been reproduced in greater or lesser extent, by almost all literature. However, the story we read when we were just children, it’s just a false adaptation of what Grimm brothers actually wrote.

Actual events speak of the much cruder situation that existed in medieval times.

To refresh your memory, remember that Hansel and Gretel were a couple of siblings, kids of a poor woodcutter who, with his wife, decides to leave them because they had no way to feed the children. They take them deep into the forest and Hansel (in an intelligent attempt not to get lost) leaves breadcrumbs on the way to return home after being abandoned. However, birds eat the crumbs and they can not return.

They found after two days wandering in the forest, a house made of sugar and ginger. Tempted by the sweet, Hansel and Gretel enter the house and are captured by the witch, who locks Hansel in a cage and abuses of Gretel making her do all the duties. After the days pass by and they’re still there, the witch feeds them more than they could bear, to fatten them and eat them alive. After a while, she leads them inside the house and asks Gretel to check how warm the oven is. But children notice the trap and push the witch to the fire. She dies and they leave with all her money. They return with their father and live without going hungry ever again in their lives.

That is, roughly, the story that people and books always told us. Now, pay attention, this is what he really meant Grimm brothers at writing the tale Hansel and Gretel.

First, it should be understood that it is NOT a story for children, because of course, if what you read is a story of two little ones who come to a house of sweets and escape from a witch making happily ever after, the first idea that appears is that, indeed, is “children’s story”.
However, if we say that Hansel and Gretel story has as literary basis the cannibalism, infanticide, and neglect, would we think the same?
The tale of Grimm Brothers main axis is the idea that hunger dominates the world and life. That is why, in extreme situations, cannibalism was a regular horror. Yes, it is true, in Middle Ages people ate to each other owed to the hunger. The father of the two siblings then decided to leave them in the woods NO by default, but to protect them from danger that lay in his own hunger. On the other other hand, the witch who lives in the house of sweets doesn’t exist, she is, rather, a “strop” invention of the story to camouflage the true mother figure. She was the one who wanted to eat them and it was she who finally died by her own ambition.

Hansel and Gretel is and will be a reflect of what was as crude as usual in medieval villages reality. The story, in a brilliant artistic game, reaches the ears of children today announced what it was, and even what could be, if the circumstances were the same as hundreds of years ago.

Reading can be really awesome when interpreting rightly the things you read, letting your imagination fly is important to enjoy the moment, but also understanding the context in which the tales are involved is important to really comprehend the point of the writer. If you ever need help with finding missing persons, then click here for Chicago private investigations help.

An innocent story with much more of history than expected.

The Canterville Ghost – Oscar Wilde

This is the story of a ghost. A typical British ghost who lives in a typical British castle, scaring anyone who dares to approach there. At the end of the day it’s his job. It’s not what he really likes, because he is tired of doing the same for 300 years, but his honor is at stake and all self-respecting ghosts should cause the scariest horror in humans around them.

The castle belongs to the Dukes of Canterville many generations ago. In fact Canterville Ghost is doomed to wander indefinitely by the castle, for killing his wife in a jealous rage. The current duke and his wife fled from there as a soul taken by the devil and have never returned.

But now there is activity in the castle and it is because Lord Canterville has sold the property to an American “dreamers”. They bought the castle without knowing about the ghost, as the owner has feared that this “small detail” could foil the sale.

Oddly enough, when they finally know it, they’re not only not afraid, but think it’s an interesting incentive, a bonus that comes bundled with the castle, furniture, tapestries … etc. They have bought a typical English castle with ghost and all. Come on: They’ve got the envy of all Americans known.

From the beginning, a struggle for power in which the ghost is always the loser is established. He doesn’t only fails at trying to frighten them, but also is the object of mockery and derision of his new owners: In particular the two young twins who are always coming up with some “mischief” to rehearse with the ghost. But at realizing that he does not achieve to scare them or anything like it, the ghost decides to use them for his own benefit.

Finally, it all will have a good end. Love will redeem the ghost of his sin so that he will have the chance to stop dragging chains in this world. And Americans will be proud to have succeeded in a few days, something in which the English people never got in more than 300 years.

As you can see, it is a great comedy that involves you when reading it. I know you were for sure expecting something much more terrible when saw the title of the piece, but as you passed the pages a big surprise came to change your mind for awhile, without making you get apart from that characteristic that real readers usually have with a good story: fascination.

The purest classical style in which Oscar Wilde shows us his talent and fine ironic humor is just awesome. He doesn’t lose the opportunity to make a critique of English and American characters, highlighting their biggest defects, comparing the seriousness and attachment to their customs and traditions of the British and American bourgeois materialism, self-assurance and trivial entertainment, facing them in very comical and even some ridiculous situations.
I found two things that caught my attention: A phrase I knew of old, but did not know Wilde was its author and that its origin was this book, so I was shocked a lot when I saw it: “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that it must be replaced every six months “and the other is a small cameo that makes another work by this author, when, near the end of the book, the ghost is telling the children the story of” The Selfish Giant”. I found this detail absolutely funny and masterly: subliminal advertising through and through.

Definitely I found a fun and highly recommended story of… horror?.

The Black Cat – Edgar Allan Poe

There are old stories about certain mortal characters that are characterized by being eccentric and even grotesque. Surely all of us have heard stories of this kind.

Madness, incomprehension, loneliness, murder, death, are some of the most characteristic features of these stories. Some of them can be real and many others may come from the outlets of popular imagination which make us think of the sinister darkness stirred inside some humans. Thus the constant terror has fueled the inspiration of many writers who have captured and reported in their stories, unexpected and terrifyingly immersive situations which capture the immediate attention of readers.

On this occasion I want to share a brief summary of one of the best known stories of master Edgar Allan Poe titled The black Cat, in which are reflected the superhuman despair and anguish that stir in the mind of a sinister being whose actions verge on madness.

“The black cat by Edgar Allan Poe,” tells the story of a character without mentioning his name, he has a big passion or love for animals. His latest acquisition after marrying was a cat which he called Pluto, an animal by which he developed a great appreciation, but noted that after several years his temperament and character had been radically altered because of this animal, a (for sure wrong) thought prompted by the superstition of his wife.

One night he returned home completely drunk, he thought that the cat had avoided his presence and in a moment of anger made one of his eyes jumped up from its cavity with a penknife as a weapon.

Then he regretted, but the cat had unavoidably lost one of his eyeballs. Shortly after a morning in cold blood the man passed a rope around his neck and hanged the cat up on the branch of a tree, but the night of the same day, he woke finding the house engulfed in flames, and all that could remain standing, was a dividing wall with the image of the cat.

After a while, the situation was relatively normal, he had a home, wife and projects for the future, until one day he found a cat with some resemblance to Pluto, then he decided to bring him home. Some time afterwards, the hate against the new cat started to rise inside him. The reason were the similarities he had to his former favorite pet.

One day he decided to kill him, he held an ax in his hands, but the hands of his wife stopped their trajectory toward the poor animal, but in a moment of extreme madness and rage he plunged the ax into her head, killing his wife.

The man, at seeing the situation in which he was, decided to make a hole in the wall, entering the body of his wife into it and fixing it as if it were intact, then, he was going to continue by killing the cat but he could find the animal, the black cat had disappeared..
Shortly after, the people began to suspect the disappearance of their neighbor and put the case in police knowledge. The man was incriminated as a prime suspect.

At the time of the inspection, in the basement of his house the policemen heard sounds that came from the wall where our troubled character had struck to give notice to officers (awkwardly by the way) that his house had good structure, they proceeded to knock down the wall where surprisingly they found the cat on the dead wife’s corpse.

Steppenwolf – Herman Hesse

If there is a book in the world to think about our own personality and all the features that form it, without falling into the mistake of believing that we are only what we think, and maybe in certain grade there is some of madness in every human being, that’s Steppenwolf.
Written by literary genius Herman Hesse (and I say it since this masterpiece is, by far, my favorite book, the one with which I feel represented in many ways), the narration tells us the story of a man who was almost 50 years old, and who is tired and pessimistic, sick in body and spirit; a strange, unsociable and mysterious man, full of talent and “with a capacity of unlimited, great, terrible suffering”. He is an introverted person, with vices and virtues, but punished by painful experiences, which makes him feel out of place in the surrounding material world and decides to seek truth through every imaginable experiences; besides, as he read the “Treatise On the Steppenwolf” given to him by a normal man he once saw in the street, he finds himself in struggle with the two opposite natures that inhabit him: the spiritual and the instinctive one.

Uncannily, the text “Treatise On the Steppenwolf”, fully cited in the novel describes perfectly the personality of Heller.

After his reading, Harry was still bored, unhappy, dissatisfied with himself. One day he rebels at the mediocrity and irrelevance that mark his life; He requires some strong agitation that shakes the monotony of his existence and kick that simple everyday vegetate.
Almost on the verge of suicide, one day, he casually meets Hermine, a young and beautiful incarnation of life, of the sensual, joyous and earthly world, opposed to the dark, pessimistic and intellectual world of Harry. Hermine teaches him to enjoy the pleasures of life, simple and small details that can make existence friendly: dancing, eating … It is the liberation, redemption of “Steppenwolf”, a man who doesn’t know how to laugh.

Hermine once almost ordered him learn to love the simplest thing, then she introduces him to Maria, an instinctive sensual creature, symbol of physical love, an innocent and perverted woman at the same time; she shows him pleasures that used to be unknown for him… along with Paul, a saxophonist in a jazz band, Harry knew the world of opium. However, the “Steppenwolf” is not entirely happy; he feels the lack of something inexplicable.

Hesse concludes with a symbolic game: one night in a masquerade ball, in which concurs Haller invited by Hermine, he identifies himself with that environment full of dance, music, earthly pleasure, vertigo and joy. Harry thinks there’s something magical about that; reality and fantasy merge. At that moment Harry leaves the spell and awakens – says the literary work-, and becomes fully aware of things.

Scenes of deep allegorical sense then happen in a split of the soul of Harry: On the one hand, is his anxiety and tendency to the sublime things; on the other hand, his attachment to earthly things. In an unreal, dreamlike atmosphere, Hermine and Paul, who would lead him to the “magic theater” where all the complexity of life is represented appear. At one point Harry discovers Hermine with Paul, naked after love; then he kills her, meaning he annihilates what he loves the most, life itself, by way of atonement and self-punishment, self-destruction. Harry is tried and executed. But then he reawakens again and discovers that everything has been a dream, a hallucination, a tragic and terrible simulation within the “fascinating game of life”. The “Steppenwolf” includes all Hermine, Maria and Pablo have only been figures of that great game, and it depends on him to know how to play or not. When he manages to know it, he will learn to laugh.

A modern master view of the inner conflict and the existential angst of man who, like Harry, must learn the lesson: life is a dramatic game. If we are skilled in it, down the road await us love, wisdom and harmony.

Sheridan Le Fanu

 

“The Irishman Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu does not appear in the manuals of literature, and his work, except, perhaps, Uncle Silas, will not enjoy the favor of the public or the critics. And yet, he has written one of the best works on the myth of terror par excellence of this century: the vampire. He even took the lead in more than twenty years to the exemplary depiction of the legend that consecrated as a writer to Bram Stoker (I mean, of course his masterpiece Dracula, the undead paradigm). Precisely Dracula, and not incidentally, owes much to this sober and unknown precedent that is Carmilla, whose pages live imbued with the badness and decay we have come to associate the figure of the vampire.” Says Francisco J. Agrafojo in a good review he also did about this great book in spanish.

 

Carmilla was published in 1872, a year before It’s author death. This is undoubtedly,  a gothic horror story, but also has a touch of eroticism, applied to the vampire, which will use it very subtly.

 

Sheridan Le Fanu was inspired by the Countess Bathory to write Carmilla; it is clear from the description of the young vampire (which closely resembles the Countess), her close family (a noble one) and in the fact that she was the last of his dynasty.

 

The story begins in a castle in Styria; where Laura lives away from the city with his father and the castle servants. As Laura leads a hopelessly lonely life, her father invites his friend Count Earl who is in charge of his niece, to make her accompany Laura and vice versa. But there are news of the Count Earl announcing the death of his granddaughter, and declaring thathe would  devote his life to hunting the monster who snatched her life.

 

Soon after, a coach crashed near the castle. A sinister woman asks Laura’s father to take charge of her daughter, Carmilla, as she has an important commitment and can not suffer any delay. Since the company of a young lady for a few months would be very helpful to alleviate the loneliness of his daughter, he happily accepts.

 

Carmilla from first instance, shows a mysterious attitude; she never arises until after noon, just eats and rejects any kind of religious acts as well as she shows affection in excess to Laura; which will gradually fall ill incomprehensibly.

 

Sheridan Le Fanu explores two controversial issues for the time: sexuality and lesbianism. Both themes are intensely present in Carmilla.

 

The modern vampire is described in this simple and brief history, fiddling with homosexuality and terror, without going too deeply nor defining just the main characters, not that much is known about their personality or aspirations.

 

In fact little is known of Carmilla, except that she is virtually immortal and kills to survive.

 

In this work are built the parameters in which different authors of the genre will move in both literature and film, showing us a bold and innovative version of vampirism, in which the stereotype of the vampire and the perplexity of the characters highlights  against supernatural events, culminating in a final that has marked this genre completely.

 

The background of the story can be found in the biography of the bloody Countess Elizabeth Bathory, and her no less scandalous assistant, Darvula, whose real name was Dorotoya Csentens.

 

But while the character of Carmilla absorbs some distinctive features of Elizabeth Bathory, her source of inspiration seems to be more concrete in the forbidden book of Dom Calmet: Treatise on Vampires

 

Recall that Carmilla was, in fact, the first really popular vampire tale; and for twenty five years preceding the classic Bram Stoker, Dracula (Dracula).

 

A complete dynamic and sensual story. Perfect to be read in those afternoons in which you have nothing to do.