I couldn't resist buying the collector's edition of this book whilst holidaying in Boston, it was just so beautiful! I've heard a lot of good things about these stories, so it was well worth buying.
This follows the plot of the Disney cartoon obviously, but its much more morbid. Cinderella's step-sisters are absolutely vile, and not 'ugly' as the cartoon states. For most of the tale, Cinderella spent most of her time crying at her mother's graveside, and often sang to her bird friends when she wasn't slaving in the home. One thing that really sickened me was the fact that her father just gave up on her once his wife died, and only cared for his new family, including the step-daughters. He went out of town and asked his daughters what they'd like him to bring back as a present; one answered beautiful dresses, and the other asked for pearls. And what did Cinderella ask for? A tree branch... She planted this branch and it magically grew into a massive tree over a period of a few days, and whatever she asked the birds for, they would throw it down from the treetop, including three gorgeous ball gowns of gold and silver. She goes to the ball after crying some more, and the prince falls in love with her beauty and wouldn't let anyone else dance with her, saying "she is mine", which was rather ironic seeing as he didn't even know her name. After going to the balls a couple of times, he decides that he wants to marry her, so goes about people's houses, asking girls to try on the gold slipper that Cinderella left behind. As the Step-mother expected one of her daughters to marry the prince, she went as far as to convince one to cut off their big toe, and the other to chop off part of their heel, all in order for the slipper to fit! The prince almost fell for it, if it weren't for the birds telling him to look at the pools of blood inside the shoe, which I thought was really stupid; surely he would have known what Cinderella looked like if he really loved her! So, he finally finds Cinderella and the slipper fit, so they got married. Hoping to gain benefit from the Royal wedding, the step sisters attended her wedding, where the birds aforementioned swooped down out of the sky and pecked both their eye balls out, so they lived a crippled life of blindness... Nice!
2. Snow-White and Rose-Red
This story wasn't anywhere near as revolting, but just plain weird. These two sisters lived with their elderly mother, and one winter's day this talking bear knocked on their door and asked to be warmed by their fire! If this wasn't weird enough, it turned out that he was actually a prince (like everybody else in this book) that was turned into a bear by this really rude goblin/gnome creature. When he was transformed back into a human by killing the goblin, he married one of the sisters, and his brother married the other sister... And all this while, I was convinced that the two girls were aged 7-10 and the man/bear was about thirty or so...
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Okay, this story really took the biscuit... Well obviously the evil queen tries to kill Snow-white because of jealousy over her being "the fairest of all", so Snow White joins the Seven Dwarfs and they agree to hide her - just as long as she does all the housework, cooking, cleaning, sewing, mending, etc. I thought this was really harsh, especially seeing as she was seven years old. The dwarfs tell her not to let anybody inside the cottage whilst they were working in the mines, but of course, she does. The evil queen is in disguised as various cold callers - including a woman who tightened her corset! - and almost kills her twice, but somehow she was always resuscitated. On the third death attempt by a poisonous apple, everyone thinks she's dead. So they bury her in a glass coffin so that they could see her body from all angles! And if you didn't think that was disturbing enough, one of the many princes in Grimm's world happens to be riding past when he falls in love with the corpse and asks if he could keep her for his collection! Collection of what exactly?! The dwarfs let him have her because of how pathetic he was being, and whilst transferring the corpse to his castle, the coffin was dropped, which caused the apple to come out of Snow White's throat. So, needless to say, they get married.
I read a lot more than this, but these were the ones that I found particularly weird...