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By now, it”s common knowledge that Disney movies should never be taken as the authority on a story, be it fairy tale or historical account. The little mermaid in the movie doesn”t turn into sea foam but marries the prince, Cinderella”s stepsisters get to keep their eyeballs and toes, and Quasimodo and Esmeralda don”t perish in a heap of bones. You get the idea.

History, however, is a lot more interesting. Luckily for us, illustrator and animator Jason Porath brings us Rejected Princesses, which he describes as “Women too awesome, awful, or offbeat for kids” movies.” He”s worked on a few kids” movies including The Croods and How To Train Your Dragon 2, so he knows what”s acceptable and what”s not.

Even though these women were epic (pirates, generals, warrior queens, and one sword-wielding, fire-starting opera singer), they aren”t exactly kid friendly. Or “princesses.”

1. Osh-Tisch (1854-1929)

Osh-Tisch (1854-1929)

First of all, her name literally means “Finds Them and Kills Them” in the Crow language. Osh-Tisch was a “Two Spirit,” meaning she was born male, but lived as and considered herself a women, similar to transwomen today. She also jumped in at the Battle of the Rosebud, shooting the enemy Lakota to protect an injured Crow warrior. The figure in the background is pretty cool, too. She was a woman called The Other Magpie, who also rode into battle armed with nothing but a stick.

2. Shajar al-Durr (1220s?-1257)

Shajar al-Durr (1220s?-1257)

Shajar”s sultan husband died right as France”s Louis IX began invading Egypt during the Seventh Crusade, so Shajar simply stepped in and organized soldiers and civilians alike to carry out a secret ambush against the invaders. Her troops torched their ships and killed most of them, and took Louis IX hostage. Eventually, she ransomed him back for what was then a third of France”s annual revenue. When someone tried to take her husband”s place as sultan? Well, things didn”t end too well for him.

3. Julie d”Aubigny, “La Maupin,” (1670-1707)

Julie d

There”s not really enough room to describe the wild life of this 17th-century opera singer, so we”ll just say that she was trained as as swordswoman from a young age, traveled around France giving both singing performances and dueling demonstrations, burned down a convent to break out a girlfriend, was sentenced to death but talked her way out of it, and then ran off to Paris to join the opera. And that was all before she turned 20. The rest of her life was just as exciting, though, and marked by quite a number of duels and love affairs and one more death sentence pardon.

4. Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944)

Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944)

Noor worked as a British secret agent during WWII, and was the only Allied radio operator in occupied Paris after the Gestapo captured the rest of them. She escaped, sometimes narrowly, the Gestapo for 5 months, relaying all the information alone to British intelligence. Sadly, she was eventually captured, interrogated (she revealed nothing), and ultimately executed. Her last word, according to other prisoners, was “freedom.”

5. Boudica (20s?-60 CE)

Boudica (20s?-60 CE)

Boudica, whose name is seen spelled a variety of ways, is hailed to this day as a hero of England. During the first century, the Romans almost gave up their conquest of the British Isles because of her. An Iceni queen, she fought back against the Romans with ferocity; her troops killed an estimated 70,000 Romans and burned Camulodunum, which stood where present-day London is now, to the ground. The Iceni also decapitated their enemies for religious reasons. The Romans would eventually be the victors, but Boudica gave them a run for their money.

6. Tomyris (6th century BCE)

Tomyris (6th century BCE)

Tomyris was the leader of the Massagetae, a nomadic people living in today”s Kazakhstan, who were rumored to sacrifice their elderly and then cannibalize them. Nice. Anyway, she”s most famous for fighting off the troops of would-be invader Cyrus the Greatwho was not a bad ruler, actually. Nevertheless, Tomyris openly challenged him and, after a war, her troops defeated and killed Cyrus. She famously cut off his head and dropped it into a wine sack filled with blood.

7. Hypatia of Alexandria (360s?-415 CE)

Hypatia of Alexandria (360s?-415 CE)

Instead of marrying like most women of the time, Hypatia studied mathematics and went on to become the head of a prestigious school in Alexandria. She turned down quite a few proposals though, and legend says she chased off one suitor by flinging her used menstrual padding at him. Effective, if gross. Eventually, due to a number of political issues in the city, Hypatia was murdered by a mob. Why remains unclear, but that hasn”t stopped historians and storytellers alike from coming up with all kinds of theories.

8. Gudit (920s?-980s?)

Gudit (920s?-980s?)

Gudit, an Ethiopian Jewish queen, is semi-legendary, and is credited with killing the emperor and ascending to the throne of Axum. There are several versions of her story, but all of them include her destroying the Axumite army and ruling for 40 years. Historically, there is evidence of a woman ruling Ethiopia around this time, and some of the surviving churches from the period (which are still intact today!) show fire damage.

9. Naziq al-Abid (1898-1959)

Naziq al-Abid (1898-1959)

Naziq spoke five languages, demanded votes for women in Syria at the age of 16, and eventually became the first female general in Syria. She stood against the French for a free, democratic Syria, started a women”s rights organization, and founded the Red Crescent (the Syrian version of the Red Cross). Though she was exiled from her country no less than five times, she would return and live the rest of her life there, and saw newfound freedoms in Syria. This was well before the current climate in Syria, of course.

10. Charlotte Badger (b. 1778)

Charlotte Badger (b. 1778)

Sentenced to exile in Australia for stealing a handkerchief, Charlotte got involved with a mutiny en route to New Zealand. Legends vary, with some say she was merely there, while others have her waving a pistol and inciting the others to riot. Charlotte had a baby by this point, and when the rest of the (male) mutineers abandoned her and the other female prisoner, they were adopted by a local Maori group, where legend says Charlortte and her daughter lived out their days.

11. Tsuruhime Ohori (1526-1543)

Tsuruhime Ohori (1526-1543)

With her father terminally ill and her brothers killed by an invader, Tsuruhime did what any 16-year-old girl would do: she declared herself a living god and declared war. She fought the invader and his men several times, in one case literally climbing aboard a ship, murdering the commander, and throwing grenades at people. According to legend, though, she committed suicide by drowning when her fiance was killed.

12. “Onake” Obavva (d. 1777)

The only way for invading forces to get into Obavva”s city of Chitradurga was through a tiny crack in a wall. Obavva was out getting some water when she saw them sneaking in, so she grabbed an onake, or a large pestle used for pounding rice, and went to work bludgeoning soldiers to death. It”s unknown exactly how many she got, but some legends count the body pile at over 100. Sadly, she was also said to have died that very day, possibly from exhaustion. We don”t know her birth date, so we have no way of knowing her age at this point. Even though the city would eventually fall to the invaders, Obavva is still remembered as a local hero.

Each illustration is designed to be as historically accurate as possible, though Porath will use his own artistic license where needed. A complete rundown if each lady is also provided, as are notes on Porath”s illustrative choices. We”ve given you a sample-sized summary, but you can check out their full stories on the site, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.

The “princesses” we”ve looked at are historical figures (more or less), but Rejected Princesses also covers mythological figures that are just as awesome and have the added benefit of supernatural powers. This is an ongoing project, and Porath shows no signs of stopping, so be sure to keep up with it on the website. It”s not always PG, as you might have suspected, so use your discretion if younger kids are interested.

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