I have made an error. I have started to try to apply logic to fairy tales, and now I have a few questions. Not least, why did I not think there was anything odd about these stories as a child?
1. What size are Cinderella’s feet that, of all the maidens in the land, the glass slipper only fits her foot? My shoes would probably fit twenty other women just on my street. (Funny story: Prince William meant to marry Sharon, who he met down the Student Union one night. Sharon sadly passed out in the toilet and got taken home by her mate Denise before Wills could get her name. However, he did find one of her Louboutins, kicked off for whatever reason drunk people feel the need to remove their shoes, and set about tracking down the fair maiden/drunk student to whom it belonged. Unfortunately, Sharon had a very common shoe size and there was a terrible misunderstanding. I digress.)
2. In any case, why didn’t the glass slipper vanish at midnight like everything else the fairy godmother magicked up?
3. If the wicked step mother wanted proof that Snow White had been killed, why didn’t she ask for her head, not her heart? A head is a much more identifying feature. If only she’d asked for the head, she would have instantly suspected the huntsman had, in fact, killed a deer.
The Princess and the Pea
4. Why does identifying a pea under fifty mattresses prove someone is a princess? Moreover, if that ‘skill’ is indeed evidence of being a real princess, why did no one think to stick a pea under all those women claiming to be Anastasia Nikolaevna?
5. Why was the prince bringing Rapunzel a small piece of silk each night with which to weave a ladder, thus ensuring her escape was so slow Dame Gothel found out? Why didn’t he bring a large piece of rope the first night and get on with it? Admittedly, he may not have expected Rapunzel to be so foolish as to tell Dame Gothel. However, it’s a fairy tale – surely he could have banked on everyone being a complete idiot, and taken precautions? (Perhaps he was hindered by being a character in a fairy tale, and thus a complete idiot.)
Hansel and Gretel
6. Hansel and Gretel overheard their parents discussing leaving them in the woods, so Hansel devised a cunning plan to allow them…to return to their parents. The ones who had worked really hard to lose them. How did they think that was going to work out?
7. Furthermore, why, when Hansel’s first plan led to the predictable outcome of them being abandoned in the woods again, did Hansel proceed to come up with the same plan, but stupider?
8. Most importantly, their father apparently loved the children and did not want to go along with the stepmother’s plan (twice, he went along with it twice). The stepmother’s plan, you may recall, was formulated due to the fact that they could not afford to feed all of the family. No one, least of all Hansel and Gretel, ever appears to have questioned why, given the key facts that he couldn’t afford to feed all of the family, he loved his children, and his wife was a callous old bat, the father didn’t dump the wife instead of the kids. That would also have reduced the mouths to feed.
9. Having put everyone to sleep, the good fairy summons a forest of thorns and brambles to shield the castle and prevent anyone from disturbing the princess. What? Why would she do that? Someone was meant to disturb the princess. The whole point of the counter-curse to make her sleep instead of die was so that the prince could disturb her: why are we making this difficult? Anyone?
10. Apparently, following the final night of gold spinning, the girl was married to the king the next day and a year later gave birth to a baby, but had forgotten her promise to Rumpelstiltskin. Of course. A year is a long time. Who hasn’t forgotten when their idiot mother/father (depends on the version) offered them to a sadistic king to perform the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, a task which was actually achieved by a small, magical man for the bargain price of their first born child. Could easily slip your mind. Nine months of pregnancy, no little niggle in the back of her mind: ‘Something about babies…my baby…giving someone my baby? No, it’s no use – it’s gone.’ Completely plausible.