Back when the stories for Pentamerone were collected and then written down, in 1634, this was a story for grownups. Either that or people didn’t coddle their children with tales of buns in the oven… For in this version the prince comes up not only for a cup of tea but he definitely had some cake, too! And he comes back for seconds.
There are even versions where the girl (she’s not a princess until she marries the prince) gets pregnant. Actually, the whole story starts with a pregnancy – because of a pregnancy – here, read the story for yourselves! 🙂
Bravery is a tricky term – the prince could be called brave (usually because he’s a prince and thus can’t be anything but handsome and purehearted and chivalrous) for sneaking up to her bedroom and seducing her only to have to flee into the dark night before he’s caught.
The girl also has her charms, defying the witch, going behind her back and risking getting caught in flagrante. After all, she’s the one stuck up in that tower with no way out and relying on her guardian for kindness and even her life!
Or, it could be the wicked witch who’s acting brave, being all mean and selfish when we all know that the wicked always pay at the end – often by gruesome, horrible death.
The story relies on the prince to be brave and the girl to be ingenious and the good guys to win the battle and, well, all’s well that ends well!
But since we also know that it’s the victor that writes the story… who knows what really happened…? 😉