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Snow White

One winter’s day a queen sat sewing at her window, watching the white snow fall beyond the black ebony window frame. As she sewed she pricked her finger with the needle, and three drops of blood fell on the snow. When she saw the three colours she thought, ‘One day I wish I had a child as white as snow, red as blood, and black as ebony.”
Soon a child was born exactly like that, but sadly the queen died not long after.
A year went by, and the king married again. The new queen was very attractive, but also very vain. She hated the idea that anyone was more beautiful than her, and each morning would talk to the magic mirror she owned:

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?”

The mirror would answer:

“You, Queen, are the fairest of all.”

However, as time passed Snow White, the Queen’s stepdaughter, began to grow into a beautiful princess. When she turned seven years old the queen went to the mirror and once again asked:

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?”

This time, however, the answer was not what she wanted:

“Though you are fair, O Queen, ’tis true,
Snow White is fairer still than you.”

When the queen heard this, her pride and envy went mad. She hated Snow White, and after a while thinking she called for a huntsman.
“Take the girl into the woods so I don’t have to see her, kill her, and bring me back her heart as proof.”
The huntsman agreed, and took the princess out into the woods. However, as he drew his sword to kill the girl, Snow White begged,
“Please don’t kill me! I shall go away and live in the forest, and never return, but do not kill me.”
To this, the huntsman agreed, and he brought a pig’s heart back to the queen. Meanwhile Snow White ran into the forest, further and further, until she found a small cottage. She walked inside.
The furniture of the house was very strange: there was seven of everything, and it was all so small. Seven tiny beds, covered in seven clean quilts. On the table were seven plates, seven forks, seven knives, and seven cups. On each of the plates was a meal. Snow White was very hungry, but did not want to eat a person’s dinner, so took a small piece from each plate instead. Then she went to bed.
Later, the seven dwarfs came home after finishing their work in the mountains. They lit seven candles and sat down at the table, only to see things had changed.
“Who has been sitting in my chair?”
“Who has been eating from my plate?”
“Who has eaten a bit of my bread?”
“Who has been tasting my porridge?”
“Who has been using my fork?”
“Who has been cutting with my knife?”
“Who has been drinking out of my cup?”
One of the dwarfs, however, now noticed Snow White asleep in the bed. Seeing how tired she was, they let her sleep.
The next morning Snow White woke up and saw the seven dwarfs. For a while she was frightened, but they seemed friendly, and soon she told them the story of how her stepmother had wanted to kill her.
“If you keep our house for us – cook, wash, make the beds, sew our clothes and keep everything tidy – then you can stay here with us” the dwarfs told her. Snow White agreed, and this was how they lived for some time.
Back at the palace the queen had been happy to think Snow White dead, but one day she had to ask the mirror again:

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?”

The mirror answered,

“O Queen, yours is a beauty rare,
But Snow White, living in the glen,
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair.”

The queen was furious at learning that Snow White was not dead. She thought that if the huntsman would not kill the girl, then she herself would have to kill Snow White, and so she dressed as a peddler selling lace and went to find the dwarfs’ home.
When Snow White saw the peddler woman, she did not think there was any danger, and so let the woman in. However, as the woman began to dress Snow White in lace, she also began to pull the lace tighter and tighter, until Snow White could not breathe and fell on the floor. Then the queen left.
When the dwarfs came home they saw Snow White and quickly cut the lace and revived her. They told her to not let anyone into the house while they were away.
Back at the palace the queen went back to her mirror.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?”

The mirror again answered,

“O Queen, yours is a beauty rare,
But Snow White, living in the glen,
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair.”

“She’s alive?!” cried the queen. And so the queen began a new plan: a poisoned comb. Again the queen disguised herself – this time as an old woman – and again she went out to the house.
“I shouldn’t let you in, Old Woman” said Snow White.
“But I am only selling combs. You can just have a look.”
And Snow White opened the door. Soon the queen was brushing Snow White’s hair with the poisoned comb, and it was not long before Snow White again fell to the ground.
“Finally, my little beauty, that is your end.”
The queen left, but again the dwarfs came home and saw Snow White. They took out the poisoned comb, and Snow White woke up. Again they told her not to let anyone in.
At the palace the queen went back to her mirror.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?”

The mirror answered, for a third time,

“O Queen, yours is a beauty rare,
But Snow White, living in the glen,
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair.”

“I must kill Snow White” the queen said, “even if it kills me.” She thought of a new plan – a poisoned apple – and disguised herself as a farmer’s wife. One more time, she went back to the cottage.
“I can’t let you in” said Snow White.
“Ok. Well, let me leave this apple for you.”
“I’m not going to eat it.”
The queen, disguised as the farmer’s wife, held up the apple.
“It is not poisoned, my girl. Look, I shall take a bite myself.” The queen, however, took a bite from the half in which she knew there was no poison. She gave the rest to Snow White.
Snow White took the apple and bit it. The poison was quick, and Snow White fell to the ground, dead.
“The dwarfs cannot help you this time!” And the queen went back to the palace one last time.
When the dwarfs came home they found the girl dead. They did not see anything they could do – no lace, and no comb. For three days they sat next to her, but could not find a way to save her.
Finally they decided they would, because she was so beautiful, build a glass coffin for her, and take her to the mountains.
For years Snow White sat in the mountains, with the dwarfs watching over her, until one day a prince arrived. He saw the dwarfs’ house, and coffin on the mountain, and so knocked on the door.
“Excuse me, I would like to take that coffin and girl. I will pay you for it.”
The dwarfs, however, said no.
“Please, I beg you. She is so beautiful, I must look at her.”
Eventually the dwarfs agreed to let the prince take the coffin and the girl, and the prince called his men to come and carry the coffin. They were, however, quite careless, and as they carried the girl they stumbled and shook the coffin until a piece of apple came out of Snow White’s throat.
“Where am I?” she asked.
The prince was overjoyed.
“You are by me, and I love you. Please, come with me to the castle and be my wife.”
Soon a wedding was planned between the prince and his mysterious new bride, and everybody was invited, including the queen, who put on her best clothes and went back to the mirror;

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?”

The mirror answered,

“Though you are fair, O Queen, ’tis true,
But the young queen is a thousand times fairer than you.”

In a great rage the queen went to the wedding, and when she saw who the bride was she gave out a scream.
“You?!”
“Who is that woman?” asked the prince, and Snow White explained this was her stepmother, as well as the four efforts the queen had made to kill the young Snow White. The prince then also became angry at hearing how cruel the queen had been, and ordered she be punished. From the crowd a pair of red-hot shoes, long heated in the fire, were brought forward and put on the queen’s feet.
The shoes burnt the queen’s feet, but she could not take them off, and so she danced, screaming, until the heat and pain became too much and she dropped dead. The prince and Snow White were now free to live happily ever after.

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