Cinderella's castle

7 Classic Stories Disney Needs to Animate ASAP

These tales of the folk and fairy variety are modern, ancient, and from all around the world. What they have in common is that they’re all prime real estate for animators. So listen up, Disney. Here are 7 stories that you must spin into films in increasing order of urgency…


7. “The Little Girl Sold With the Pears” by Italo Calvino

Bunch of pears

via USA Pears


This one comes from Piedmont, Italy, and recounts the story of a little girl who’s sold by her father, a pear farmer, to the king along with a few baskets of pears. The little girl is quickly discovered at the castle, and becomes a servant. When she grows up, she falls in love with the prince, but the other servants are jealous. The other servants tell the king that the little girl has offered to steal a witch’s treasure chest. Things occur with fairy tale logic, but, suffice it to say, the little girl marries the prince in the end.


Why it should be animated…

It has romance, witches, and, of course, pears. But, really, seeing a lovely realization of Piedmont would be nice for any hapless writers who can’t make it there themselves…



Some places get all the looks… / via


6. “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti

"Goblin Market"

via Genius


Christina Rossetti’s 1862 poem tells the story of sisters Laura and Lizzie, who have to deal with some lousy goblins and their annoyingly delicious fruits. After Laura succumbs to the goblins’ salesmanship and purchases some of their fruit, she becomes addicted. She longs for the tasty treats, but is no longer able to see the goblins after she bought their fruits. As she begins aging quickly, Lizzie realizes her sister doesn’t have long to live. She attempts to buy fruit from the goblins for Laura herself, but the goblins realize something’s amiss, and assault Lizzie. They smear her with fruit. When Lizzie returns to Laura, Laura is able to satiate her hunger with the fruit juice smeared on Lizzie.


Why it should be animated…

It’s a notoriously divisive tale in English classes on account of it being apparently for children while having a very clear sexual subtext. But the prospect of showing off colorful, charismatic creatures in a story about sisterly love is so up Disney’s alley.



Assuming they like making money. / via The Independent


5. “Bunbuku Chagama”

Bunbuku Chagama illustration

via Wikipedia


This Japanese folktale features a shapeshifting tanuki.

Cute tanuki

Why would you ever shift this shape? / via Kyuhoshi


When a poor man rescues a trapped tanuki, the tanuki returns the favor by transforming into a teapot, and tells the poor man to sell him. But when the tanuki-turned-teapot is sold and put on the stove, he sprouts feet and runs off. The tanuki returns to the poor man, and the duo hatch a new plan. The tanuki transforms into a teapot with feet and tightrope walks…naturally.


Why it should be animated…

It’s a story about an unlikely friendship, and has a happy ending. There are only a few folktales in the history of the world that actually, in their original state, have happy endings where nobody really suffers. The suffering will come later in this list…



4. “Jorinde and Joringel” by the Brothers Grimm

Joringel looking for Jorinde in bird cages.

via Carol’s Notebook


This Brothers Grimm fairy tale follows to young lovers, Jorinde and Joringel, who are caught in an evil witch’s bewitched castle. The witch turns Jorinde into a nightingale, and promises that Joringel will never see his fiancee ever again. But he is able to free Jorinde once he tracks down a rare flower. In the end, the couple are happily married.


Why it should be animated…

This is an easy home run for Disney, who hasn’t done a by-the-books romance in quite a while. As they look to subvert their own formula, Jorinde’s currently underdeveloped arc offers the writers quite a canvas.


3. “The Saga of the Volsungs”


via Wikipedia


Perhaps the most famous Viking saga, “The Saga of the Volsungs” is an expansive narrative, but it notably contains the story of Sigurd Fafnirsbane, who inspired Richard Wagner’s “Der Rings des Nibelungen” and Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series.


After his foster father, Regin, asks Sigurd to retrieve a treasure trove from beneath his brother, Fafnir, Sigurd readily agrees. But Fafnir is a dragon. Sigurd can only defeat Fafnir with Odin’s guidance. Once the dragon is dead, Regin asks Sigurd to cook the heart and test whether or not it’s safe to eat. After tasting the dragon’s heart, Sigurd can understand the language of birds, and overhears some nuthatches say Regin is planning to betray Sigurd. Sigurd, like a Viking, kills his stepfather, and keeps Fafnir’s gold for himself.

Ancient engraving of Sigurd roasting dragon heart

“I’ll take my dragon heart medium rare, please and thank you.” / via Timeless Myths


Why it should be animated…

“Hercules” featured some major heroics, and it’s time Disney adapts an action-packed tale once again. Plus, Disney has yet to do Vikings justice.



And we don’t want to upset the Vikings, people. / via Funny or Die


2. “The Book of Sand” by Jorge Luis Borges

Book of Sand artwork

via Ann Hart Marquis


Jorge Luis Borges’s classic short story follows a book collector who comes into possession of “The Book of Sands,” which is infinite. Turning one page always leads the protagonist to another. Like any of us, he becomes obsessed. It’s all he reads, and that’s the problem. He considers burning it, but is concerned burning an infinite book will cause an infinite fire. Instead, he stuffs it in the basement of Argentina’s National Library.


Why it should be animated…

It’s a story about books, and infinity. Disney is no stranger to either…


Belle and Buzz Lightyear

To infinity and Belle-ond! / via The Odyssey and Pinterest


1. “The Werewolf” by Angela Carter

Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf

via American Literature


Angela Carter is famous for her feminist spins on classic fairy tales, especially in her collection “The Bloody Chamber.” “The Werewolf” is a re-telling of “Little Red Riding Hood” where, instead of the wolf eating the grandmother, the grandmother is the wolf. When the wolf attempts to bite the little girl, the little girl chops her the beast’s paw off. The paw eventually turns into her grandma’s hand. The grandma is stoned to death for being a werewolf, and the girl then inherits her grandma’s estate.

Scary werewolf

“Grandma, please, I swear I sent you a thank you card!” / via Pinterest


Why it should be animated…

It’s grim, sure, but audiences are hungry for fresh retellings of familiar stories. And what’s more familiar than “Little Red Riding Hood?”


Well, we’ve given Disney a lot to work with here, but let’s hear from you. What classic stories do you want to see given the Disney treatment?


Feature image courtesy of Playbuzz.