Mary (the schoolgirl with the lamb)Historia/Shutterstock
Mary had a little lamb (whose fleece was white as snow, as you know) and it followed her to school one day. That actually happened! Real-life youngster Mary Sawyer tried to hide the lamb in a basket at her feet during class, but the teacher discovered the ruse when the animal bleated. That lamb was kicked out of the classroom. The famous nursery rhyme was first written by a kid who witnessed the whole event. Years later, another poet revised the rhyme and it became the famous refrain known by kids everywhere.
The real-life Snow White didn’t get her prince or her happy ending. The iconic fairy tale is said to be based on a 16th-century noblewoman, Margarete von Waldeck, who lived in Bad Wildungen in Bavaria. Apparently, there was a mine there that used child labor. The conditions were so harsh that the child workers were disfigured and called “dwarfs” as insults. They were also offered “tainted fruits” for bad behavior. Margarete was sent to Spain, where she fell for a prince. But his family didn’t approve so she was poisoned. It makes sense why the Disney version went in another direction. Check out these 15 surprising facts about Disney’s most famous characters.