Culture Quiz: Fairy-Tale History

With the unexpected level of success of Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Bella and Thor, it's safe to assume we'll see the current trend of turning our fairy tales into big-budget Hollywood spectacles continue.

Photo: Allstar/Universal

With the unexpected success of Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Bella and Thor, it's safe to assume we'll continue to see our classic fairy tales transformed into big-budget Hollywood spectacles. Bruno Bettelheim would be … ambivalent. But before you decry Tinseltown's habit of desecrating our childhoods, take this quiz to see how how well you really do know your kiddie stories. After all, they weren't always Disney.

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1.  In the Charles Perrault version of "Red Riding Hood," how does the story of the little girl in the woods end?

A. The huntsman saves her, kills the wolf, and turns its skin into a wedding coat for her.

B. She tricks the wolf into jumping into the fire by faking lady problems.

C. The grandmother saves her, kills the wolf, and turns its meat into stew.

D. The wolf eats her. The end.

2.  How does the Brothers Grimm version of "Red Riding Hood" end?

A. The wolf decides not to eat anyone and becomes the guardian of the village.

B. The king comes by on a hunt, slays the wolf, and marries Red Riding Hood.

C. The huntsman cuts Red Riding Hood out of the wolf's belly while he's sleeping and then sews in a bunch of rocks.

D. The wolf is transformed back into a prince, belches out the grandmother, and marries Red Riding Hood.

3.  What happens to the evil queen in the Brothers Grimm version of "Snow White"?

A. She accidentally poisons herself.

B. She's forced to wear red-hot iron shoes and dance until she dies.

C. She repents her ways and joins a nunnery.

D. She turns into a huge dragon to be slain by the prince.

4.  In the very first version of the "Snow White" story collected and published by the Brothers Grimm, who is the villain of the story?

A. Snow White's stepmother.

B. Snow White's mother.

C. An evil witch.

D. An ogre who assumes the form of Snow White's stepmother.

5.  What's the fate of the relationship between the mermaid and the prince in the original telling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid"?

A. She attempts to murder the prince and his new wife as they sleep but relents and dies.

B. She marries the prince but returns to the sea after bearing him a son.

C. She waits under his window hoping he'll come back to her and dies pining away for him.

D. They marry and live happily ever after.

6.  What happens in the oft-forgotten second act of Charles Perrault's original "Sleeping Beauty"?

A. Sleeping Beauty goes on to become an evil queen herself.

B. The prince and Sleeping Beauty kill a massive dragon that mortally wounds the heroine.

C. The prince keeps Sleeping Beauty as his secret wife, and when the queen finds out she orders Sleeping Beauty's children to be cooked as dinner.

D. The prince issues an order for all fairies to be killed on sight.

7.  Why was the prince transformed into a monster in the first published version of "Beauty and the Beast," by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve?

A. He broke the heart of a witch's daughter.

B. He rejected the sexual advances of an evil fairy.

C. He caused the death of a holy man.

D. He lived a life of selfishness and vanity.

8.  Where does "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" take place, according to the Book of One Thousand and One Nights?

A. Arabia

B. Baghdad

C. China

D. Darjeeling

9.  In the early version of "Rapunzel" published by the Brothers Grimm, how does the heroine accidentally give away the prince who visits her?

A. She tells her captor, a witch, that her dress is getting tight around the belly—i.e., she's pregnant.

B. She leaves out dishes and goblets for two.

C. She calls out to her prince in her sleep.

D. She forgets to comb out thistles from the ground stuck in her hair.

10.  In the original Brothers Grimm telling, how does the princess transform an amphibian into her one true love in "The Frog Prince"?

A. She kisses it.

B. She has sex with it.

C. She prays to God alongside it.

D. Disgusted by the animal, she hurls it against a wall.

NOTE: Scroll down for answers and explanations.

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  1. (D) Perrault's moral? Good little girls don't talk to strangers.

    1. (C) Surprisingly enough, the German version of the tale was the upbeat one.

    2. (B) Torture, as you get to learn reading old fairy tales, was fine entertainment for kids back in the day.

    3. (B) The killer-mother angle was quickly dropped for later editions.

    4. (A) Though the would-be murderess doesn't get to be either a mortal or a mermaid, she becomes a spirit of the air.

    5. (C) Of course, the cook substituted animals, the children were saved, and the evil queen was killed.

    6. (B) To make it creepier, the fairy was his legal guardian at the time. In later versions, the fairy cursed him because he wouldn't let her in from the rain.

    7. (C) Though it's set in the Far East, the land Aladdin adventures in is suspiciously Islamic-themed.

    8. (A) That tidbit was edited out in later editions, replaced with a crack about the witch's weight.

    9. (D) But you have to hurl a lot of frogs against the wall before you find a fairy tale you can kiss. Or something like that.

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—Michael Y. Park is a writer living in New York City and a regular contributor to

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