Boiling Snakes

So, my sister owns a collection of Grimm’s Fairytales. There’s a lot of stories in there that I haven’t even heard of. It’s neat.

Yesterday, my sister said she had an idea for a blog post for me and she showed me a particular fairytale. The Twelve Brothers. The last sentence is something like “The wicked step-mother was taken before the judge, and put into a barrel filled with boiling oil and venomous snakes, and died an evil death.”

Anyone want some deep-fried stepmother snakes? House special, Buy-one, get-one!

Now, besides the fact that someone should not need both boiling oil and venomous snakes to the kill them, that ending felt rushed. The story itself is pretty long compared to some of the other stories in the book. It begins with the situation of a king and queen who have 12 sons and are about to have another child. Then the crazy king says that if they have a girl, he wants her to inherit, so he’s going to kill the 12 sons. The queen sends the 12 sons to go live in the woods until the baby is born. Surprise! They have a girl and the sons stay in the woods. The girl grows up and finds the brothers living in a cottage. She decides to live with her brothers. A few weeks later, she unknowingly picks enchanted flowers, which turn her brothers into ravens. An old woman tells the girl the only way to save the brothers is to not talk for 7 years. One thing led to another. The girl marries a king. A few years pass and the girl’s wicked step-mother in law begins talking badly about her. The king is persuaded that his bride is evil and sentences her to death. Seven years ends at the moment the girl is being burned at the stake. Her raven-brothers come, turn human again, and save her. She explains to her husband everything. They live happily ever after. The wicked step-mother is fried with snakes. (Sister: “This all gathered from a dramatic reading of the second half of the story.”)

I’m not sure what would fix the rushed feeling here. I think it might need to be expanded a bit.

So. Lesson to be learned here: Don’t rush your endings.

Or: Don’t plot to kill your 12 sons because your wife had a girl. Just give the girl some money! Are you the king or not?!

Or: Don’t say mean things about your step-son’s wife. Even if she is mute. You might get boiled.

Or: Boiling people with snakes is an evil death.

Or… never mind. I think that’s enough.



7 thoughts on “Boiling Snakes

  1. Well done, sister. *claps*
    A valuable lesson learned here today: Don’t boil people. T’was quite moving, if I say so myself.

  2. Oh my. I’ve heard Grimm’s Fairytales were not…exactly what people think of today when we hear/read “fairytales,” but now I think I really get it. Yikes. Definitely not children’s stories, those.

    All valuable lessons, indeed…

  3. Hehe, wow. I’ve read that story before, I think, but it was a very shortened version (meaning the entire thing is rushed, not just the ending…).

    Next time I decided to write a story playing off of fairy-tales, I’m gonna use this one… It is kind of an interesting concept, if you take out the boiling and really mess around with it. A lot. And a mute main character could be interesting. But maybe hard…

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