Arthur Rackham's illustration for the Brothers Grimm tale of Little Red Riding Hood, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.
Such stories as "Cinderella" (Aschenputtel), "The Frog Prince" (Der Froschkönig), "Hansel and Gretel" (Hänsel und Gretel), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin" (Rumpelstilzchen), and "Snow White" (Schneewittchen) were collected in the early 1800's by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
The tales are available in more than 100 translations, says Wikipedia, and several have been adapted to popular Disney films.
In the mid-20th century the tales were used as propaganda by the Third Reich; later in the 20th century psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim reaffirmed the value of the work, in spite of the cruelty and violence in the original versions of some of the tales.
The tales with harsh material were sanitized by publishers hoping to sell more publications.