When the Grimm brothers first copied down their fairytales, the version were much darker than the version we have today. Witches and stepmothers were non-existent in the originals, instead faeries and mothers played the darker roles in fairytales, sometimes fathers also played the "bad guy" but rarely. It was mainly the mother or faerie. This idea is foreign to most people. It's hard to imagine Snow White's mother as an evil sadistic queen willing to kill her own daughter so that she can remain "the fairest in the land." And the witches in Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel were little more than devilish faeries.
Before the Disney generation, and even before the Grimm generation, fairytales were much darker than they are today. Though witches and wicked stepmothers and stepsisters are still prevalent, we no longer see the wicked stepsisters having their feet cut to pieces, turning to stone, or being killed off. Mothers do not have to dance until they die of exhaustion, and the more violent scenes of the witches deaths were excerpted from the tales. Fairytales became the softer more "happily ever after" versions we are familiar with when the Grimm brothers wrote down the fairytales. Mothers no longer wanted their children to read the darker stories, and therefore, the Grimm brothers went back and revised to comply with the peoples' wishes. Of course, Disney has only drilled this idea in our heads, and fairytales have pretty much lost the dark side that they were originally given. Instead of being adult stories, fairytales are now considered children's stories.
I hope to give enough background information to help everyone understand where my posts will come from.