In cultures all over the world, there are timeless stories. Often these are oral stories we might hear from parents or grandparents. Most of them have a moral bend—instructing the listeners to be kind, to have compassion and to stay hopeful. A lot of these stories get lumped in under fairy tales.
There’s a lot of reasons why fairy tales and children’s stories remain so popular. Their elements show up even in modern storytelling. This isn’t just aimed at children’s movies either—the entire romance genre and its respective subgenres hinge on having a happily ever after. Even Star Wars has a call to fairy tales in its opening crawl: A long time ago, in a galaxy far away.
Depending on the fairy tale, you may know how easy it is to twist them. Red Riding Hood is a classic example of this—in some cases Red is gobbled up by the wolf and only saved by a passing woodsman. In others, Red fights back and frees her grandmother from his stomach by using a woodcutter’s axe.
The same can be said in many other fairy tales. Cinderella either gets help from the mice she feeds, or from her mother’s spirit. Her awful stepsisters aren’t immune either. Rather than breaking the shoe by forcing it on their improperly sized feet, older versions have them cutting off parts of their feet to fool the prince.
This should tell you how easy it is to twist a fairy tale. What if rather than harming themselves to fit the shoe, the sisters had tried to create another glass shoe? What if Gretel hadn’t freed her brother?
And, in the modern age where we know things like computers and cars and many other wonders, what happens when you change the genre of the fairy tale?
Can you imagine a sci-fi retelling of the Goose Girl? How would a vampiric Cinderella work? Would Snow White be able to solve the murder of the seven dwarves?
Also, consider swapping the characters. Could Rapunzel find an escape from the Giant’s Beanstalk? Would the sister of the six swans be able to outsmart the wolf of the three little pigs?
Fairy tales have been getting twisted and turned about since they were first told. How would you twist these classic stories?