A long time ago, when the snowflakes fell like feathers, a Queen sat sewing at a window. She pricked her finger on a needle so that three drops of blood fell upon the snow. How pretty her red blood looked dazzling on the whiteness! The Queen said: “Ah me, if only I had a child with skin as white as snow, and lips as red as blood, and hair as black as the ebony window.”
In the spring, she had a child who was just as she had imagined, and everyone called her Snow White. But alas! The good Queen died, and the King married a new Queen, whose heart was evil. This Wicked Queen had a magical mirror, and when she stood and gazed into it, she asked: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”
And when the mirror replied: “Thou, oh Queen, are the fairest of them all,” her vain heart rejoiced.
Snow White grew more and more beautiful with every passing year. At last, the time came when the mirror said:
“Oh Queen, if truth be told, Snow White is fairest now she is 16 years old.”
And the Queen almost smashed the mirror in her rage.
The next morning, she summoned a hunter and gave him orders:
“Take Snow White out and don’t bother to bring back anything but her heart.”
The hunter led Snow White to the woods where, taking pity on her innocent heart, he told her to run and hide. She ran and ran, cutting herself on brambles. Meanwhile the hunter returned to the Queen with the heart of a deer.
Snow White fled until she came upon a cottage in the middle of the woods. The door was open. She went inside and saw that the furniture was child-sized. She curled up on one of seven little beds and fell asleep.
The owners of the cottage were seven dwarfs, who spent the day mining for gold in the heart of the mountain. When they came home that night, they lit their seven candles, and saw that an uninvited visitor was sleeping in one of their seven beds.
“Oh my, what a pretty child!”one of them exclaimed.
“Ssshh!”ordered another. “Don’t wake her up!”
“Where shall I sleep?” asked a third. “She’s taken my bed?”
“Well,” said a fourth. “There are seven hours in the night, so every hour, one of us must get out of bed and take a turn at sleeping in the chair.”
And they all agreed that was only fair.
When the sun rose, Snow White awoke. How frightened she was when she saw the seven dwarfs! But they were friendly, and asked her name. “Snow White,” she replied.
The eldest dwarf said, “Well, Snow White, if you will take care of our house, then you may live here.”
And Snow White agreed with all her heart. Every morning, the seven dwarfs went out to the mountain, and Snow White stayed at home to cook and keep the house.
Meanwhile, the Queen asked her mirror, “Who is the fairest of all?”
And the mirror answered.
“O Lady Queen, though fair ye be, Snow White is fairer far to see. Over the hills and far away, she lives with seven dwarfs today.”
“Liar!” screeched the Queen in her rage.
But she soon realised that the hunter must have tricked her.
She decided to dress herself like an old pedlar woman, and in this disguise she visited the dwarfs’ cottage, and knocked at their door crying: “Pretty things, very cheap, very cheap.”
Snow White peeped from the window and said: “Good day, good woman. What are your wares?”
“All sorts of pretty things, my dear.”
“Thank you,” said Snow White. “Your scarves and laces are indeed pretty, but I will not buy any today.”
“‘It is a pity,” said the old woman. “But never mind. I will give you this apple, and perhaps you shall remember me another time.”
The pedlar woman took a bite out of the green side of the apple, and handed the rest through the window. Snow White thanked the old woman and bit into the fruit. Little did she realise that the Wicked Queen had poisoned the rosy side of the apple, the part that Snow White now swallowed.
That night, when the dwarfs came home, they found Snow White lying upon the floor. No breath came from her lips. They sat round her and wept for three whole days.
Then they made a coffin of shining glass, laid her in it, and placed her on top of the mountain.
It happened that a prince, out hunting, came across the glass coffin. He was very much taken by the pale girl who lay so still inside it, and he thought she must be a statue left there by the ancients. He ordered his servants to pick up the unusual object and carry it home. In doing so, one of them stumbled, and the glass box fell to the ground. It shook terribly, and the piece of poisonous apple which had lodged in Snow White’s throat came out, so that she opened her eyes, alive once more.
Snow White and the Prince were soon wed. They and the Seven Dwarfs, lived long and happy lives, while the Wicked Queen went mad with envy, for she could never be the fairest of them all.
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