10 Fairy Tales That Were Way Darker Than You Realized as a Kid

The Snow Queen
This painting titled 'The Snow Queen' was done by Thomas Bromley Blacklock. © Fine Art Photographic Library/CORBIS

"Frozen," the 2013 Disney movie hit, bears little resemblance to its ostensible inspiration, Hans Christian Andersen's 1844 story "The Snow Queen." The movie version features two sisters -- Elsa, who has the paranormal power to create ice and snow, and Anna, who's endangered by her sister's abilities. Elsa grows up to become queen of the northern kingdom, but things get complicated after Anna accepts the marriage proposal of the secretly creepy Prince Hans, visiting from the south. After some ice-related plot twists, all ends well when Elsa deports Hans and Anna finds true love with an ice-seller [source: Lemire].

The Andersen story, in contrast, is more like something you'd encounter in a nightmare. A little boy named Kay gets shards of glass from a broken magic mirror embedded in his eye and heart. The glass somehow turns to ice, which -- for reasons that aren't clear -- leads to Kay being abducted by a mysterious woman in white who swoops down on him during a snowstorm. His sister Gerda then has to launch a search-and-rescue mission to retrieve him from the Snow Queen's palace, which is guarded by an army of bear cubs, snakes and porcupines.