This story is copyrighted by Rosemary Lake. All Rights Reserved.
The Once Upon a Time When the Princess(tm) series

 

Delian Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Once upon a time in the middle of winter, when the flakes of snow were falling like feathers from the sky, a good Queen sat at her window sewing, and her embroidery-frame was made of black ebony. And as she worked, gazing at times out on the snow, she pricked her finger, and there fell from it three drops of blood on the snow. And when she saw how bright and red it looked, she said to herself, "Oh that I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the embroidery-frame!"

Soon after that she had a little daughter, with a skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony, and she was named Snow White. And when the child was born, the Queen died.

After a year had passed the king took to himself another wife. The new Queen was a beautiful woman, but wicked, proud, and haughty, and she could not bear that anyone else should surpass her in beauty. She had a wonderful looking-glass, and she used to stand before it, and look in it, and say:

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?"

And the looking-glass would answer:

"You are the fairest one of all."

And the Queen was contented, for she knew that the looking-glass spoke the truth.

Now, Snow White was growing prettier and prettier, and when she was seven years old she was as beautiful as the day, far more so than the Queen herself. So one day the Queen went to her mirror and said,

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?"

And the mirror answered,

"Queen, you are full fair, tis true,
But Snow White fairer is than you."

This gave the Queen a great shock, and she became yellow and green with envy, and from that hour her heart turned against Snow White, and she hated the girl. So she sent for a huntsman, and said: "Take the child out into the woods, so that I may set eyes on her no more. You must put her to death, and bring me her heart for a token."

The huntsman obeyed, and took Snow White away; but when he drew his knife to pierce Snow White's innocent heart, she began to weep, and said, "Ah dear huntsman, do not kill me. I will run away into the wild forest, and never come home again."

And as she was so lovely the huntsman had pity on her and said, "Away with you then, poor child," for he thought the wild animals would be sure to devour her; but still it seemed as if a stone had been rolled from his heart when he did not put her to death. And as just at that moment a young wild boar came running by, he stabbed it, and cut out its heart and took to the Queen as proof that the child was dead. So the Queen made the cook salt and roast it, and ate it up, thinking that there was an end of Snow White.

Now, when the poor child found herself quite alone in the woods, she felt full of terror, even of the very leaves on the trees, and she did not know what to do. She began to run over the sharp stones and through the thorn bushes; and the wild beasts ran after her, but they did her no harm.

She ran as long as her feet would carry her; then at evening she saw a little cottage and went into it to rest.

Everything there was very small, but as pretty and clean as possible. There stood the little table rady laid, and covered with a white cloth, and seven little plates, and seven knives and forks, and drinking-cups. By the wall stood seven little beds, side by side, covered with clean white quilts.

Snow White, being very hungry and thirsty, ate from each plate a little porridge and bread, and drank out of each little cup a drop of wine, so as not to finish up any one portion. After that she felt so tired that she lay down on one of the beds, but it did not seem to suit her. One bed was too long, another too short, but at last the seventh was quite right; and she lay down on it, committed herself to heaven, and fell asleep.

When it was quite dark the owners of the cottage came back. They were seven dwarfs who dug and delved under the mountains for gems and gold. When they their seven candles in the cottage, they saw that someone had been there, for everything was not in the same order in which they had left it.

The first dwarf said,
"Who has been sitting on my little chair?"

The second said,
"Who has been eating from my little plate?"

The third said,
"Who has been taking my little loaf?"

The fourth said,
"Who has been tasting my porridge?"

The fifth said,
"Who has been using my little fork?"

The sixth said,
"Who has been drinking from my little cup?"

The seventh said,
"Who has been cutting with my little knife?"

Then the first one, looking round, saw a hollow in his bed, and cried,
"Who has been lying in my bed?"

And the others came running, and cried,
"Someone has been on our beds too!"

But when the seventh dwarf looked at his bed, he saw little Snow White lying there asleep. Then he whispered to the others, who came running, almost crying out in their astonishment, and holding up their seven little candles to shine their light upon Snow White. "O goodness! O gracious!" they whispered. "What beautiful child is this?" They were so full of joy to see her that they did not wake her, but let her sleep on. And the seventh dwarf slept with his brothers, an hour at a time with each, until the night had passed.

When it was morning little Snow White awoke, and was frightened when she saw the seven dwarfs. But they were friendly and asked her what her name was.

"My name is Snow White," she said

"How have you come to our house?" said the dwarfs.

She told them that her step-mother had wished to have her killed, but that the huntsman had spared her life, and that she had run for the whole day, until at last she had found their dwelling.

Then the dwarfs begged her to stay with them, saying she should want for nothing.

So she stayed with them, and spent all her time playing in the little house and garden. In the morning the dwarfs went to the mountains, and stayed till evening, so she had the house to herself all day. As they left, the dwarfs warned her, "Beware of your step-mother the Queen; she may learn you are here. Let no one into the house."

Now the Queen, having as she thought eaten Snow White's heart, felt quite sure that she now was again the first and fairest; so she went to her mirror and said,

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?"

But the mirror answered,

"Queen, thou art of beauty rare,
But Snow White living in the glen
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair."

Then she was very angry, for the looking-glass never spoke falsely, and she knew that the huntsman must have deceived her, and that little Snow White must still be alive.

And so the Queen thought and thought again how she might kill her, for so long as she was not the fairest in the whole land, envy left her no rest. At last she thought of a plan: she painted her face, and dressed herself like an old pedlar-woman, and no one could have known her. In this disguise she went over the seven mountains until she came to the house of the seven little dwarfs, and she knocked at the door and cried,

"Fine wares to sell! Fine wares to sell!"

Snow White peeped out of the window and called, "Good-day, good woman. What have you to sell?"

"Good wares, fine wares," answered she. "Laces of all colours." And she held up a piece that was woven of variegated silk.

'I need not be afraid of letting in this good old woman,' thought Snow Shite, and she unbarred the door and bought the pretty lace.

"What a fine figure you are, child!" said the old woman. "Come over and let me lace you properly for once."

Snow White, suspecting nothing, stood up before her, and let her lace her with the new lace; but the old woman laced so quick and tight that it took Snow White's breath away, and she fill down as dead.

"Now you have done with being the fairest," said the old woman as she hastened away.

Toward evening the seven dwarfs came home, and were terrified to see their dear Snow White lying on the ground, without life or motion. They raised her up, and when they saw how tightly she was laced they cut the lace in two. Then she began to draw breath,and little by little she returned to life.

When the dwarfs heard what happened they said,

"The old pedlar woman was no other than the wicked Queen; you must beware of letting any one in when we are not here!"

Now, when the wicked Queen got home she went to the looking-glass and said,

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?"

But it answered as before,

"Queen, thou art of beauty rare,
But Snow White living in the glen
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair."

When she heard that, she was so struck with surprise that all the blood left her heart, for she knew that Snow White must still be living.

"But now," said she, "I will think of something that will be her ruin." And she made a poisoned comb. Then she dressed herself up to look like another, different sort of old woman. Then she went across the seven mountains and came to the house of the seven dwarfs, and knocked at the door and cried,

"Good wares to sell! Good wares to sell!"

Snow White looked out and said,

"Go away, I must not let anybody in."

"But you are not forbidden to look," said the old woman, taking out the poisoned comb and holding it up.

Snow White thought, "Surely this old woman cannot be evil also," and opened the door and bought the comb.

When the bargain was made the old woman said, "Now, for once your hair shall be properly combed."

Poor Snow White, thinking no harm, let the old woman do as she would, but no sooner was the comb put in her hair than the poison began to work, and the poor girl fell down senseless.

"Now, you paragon of beauty," said the wicked woman, "this is the end of you," and went off.

But by good luck it was now near evening, and the seven little dwarfs came home. When they saw Snow White lying on the ground as dead, they thought directly that it was the step-mother's doing, and looked about. They found the posioned comb, and no sooner had they drawn it out of her hair than Snow White came to herself, and related all that had passed. Then they warned her once more to be on her guard, and never again to let any one in at the door.

When the wicked Queen got home again she went to the looking-glass and said,

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?"

But the mirror still answered as before,

"Queen, thou art of beauty rare,
But Snow White living in the glen
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair."

When she heard the looking-glass speak thus she trembled and shook with anger.

"Snow White shall die," cried she, "though it should cost me my own life!" And then she went to a secret lonely chamber, where no one was likely to come, and there she made a poisonous apple. It was beautiful to look upon, being white with a red cheek, so that any one who should see it must long for it, but it contained a deadly poison.

When the apple was ready she painted her face and clothed herself like a peasant woman, and went across the seven mountains to where the seven dwarfs lived.

When she knocked at the door Snow White put her head out of a window and said,

"I dare not let anybody in; the seven dwarfs told me not."

"All right," answered the woman; "I can easily get rid of my apples elsewhere. There, I will give you one."

"No," answered Snow White, "I dare not take anything."

"Are you afraid of poison?" said the woman. "Look here, I will cut the apple in two pieces; you shall have the red side, I will have the white side." For the apple was so cunningly made, that all the poison was in the rosy part of it.

Snow White thought, "Surely every old woman in the world cannot be evil," and stretched out her hand and took the poisoned piece. But no sooner had she taken a morsel of it into her mouth than she fell senseless, and toppled out of the window and down into the the well. And the Queen, casting after her a terrible glance, laughed aloud and cried,

"As white as snow, as red as blood, as black as ebony! This time the dwarfs will not be able to bring you to life again."

And when she went home and asked the looking-glass,

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?"

at last it answered,

"You are the fairest in the land."

Then her envious heart had peace, as much as an envious heart can have.

Now down the well Snow White fell into a peaceful meadow-land, and came to herself, sat up, and looked around at the flowers and the gentle hills. "If every old woman in the upper world wants to kill me," Snow White sighed to herself, "then there is no place for me there." So she went walking around to see what she could find to do here.

She walked on through the meadows till she came to a rail fence covered by red roses, around a small pen. In the pen was a white horse; but the pen was so small that he could scarcely walk about. "Oh, help me, help me," he cried to her, "please let me free."

So Snow White took down the rails and let him free, and he gave her a ride. She rode along through the meadow till she came to a stag who was entangled by his horns in an apple tree. "Oh, help me, help me," he cried out to her, "for I cannot get loose."

So Snow White drew near, and gently untangled the branches from around his horns, till he could shake himself free, and apples fell from the tree all around her feet, and she and the white horse ate their fill.

She rode on till she came to a marsh, in which a great bull was mired in quicksand. "Oh, help me, help me," he cried out to her, "for I cannot climb out."

So Snow White and her horse tugged a dead tree into the marsh, and the bull set his hooves on it and climbed out; and just then along came his wife, a great brown cow, who gave Snow White all the milk she could drink. Then Snow White bade them farewell and rode on further.

At last she came to a little house, and an old woman was peeping out of it, who had very long teeth. 'Another old woman!' Snow White thought, and started to run away.

But the old woman called kindly to her saying, "What are you afraid of, my dear child? Come and live with me. I am Mistress Hulda, and when I shake my bed here, the snowflakes fly like feathers in the upper world. But I am old, I need some help to shake it."

So Snow White took pity on the old woman, and lived with her for a while.

Then one day Snow White came upon Mistress Hulda leaning over the well, and weeping sad tears which dropped into the dark water below. "What is the matter, dear Mistress?" she said.

The old woman shook her head in grief. "I weep for my dear twin brother, who was stolen away by an evil witch many years ago. Sometimes the echoes in this well sound like his voice."

Snow White leaned over the well and listened. Very faintly she heard echoes saying, "Hulda, help me."

"I shall go down and see," Snow White said, tying her white horse to the well rope. "When I am done, ask the horse to pull me up again."

She climbed down the rope. Just at the surface of the water was a grotto in the side of the well. In it she found a knight's helmet. Taking this, she sat in the well bucket, and the horse pulled her to the top.

When she gave the helmet to Hulda, the old woman cried, "Surely this is my brother's!" Immediately her teeth grew shorter, her hair turned from white to gray, and she looked like a woman in the prime of life.

Snow White went down the well again. Deep below the water, covered by black muck, she found a small door with a golden handle. She opened it, and found inside a chamber all lined with gold, with a handsome young Prince asleep there, tossing and calling out in his sleep.

"Wake up," she said, taking his hand. "Your sister misses you."

The young man awoke and smiled on her. So they both sat in the well bucket and the horse pulled them to the top. When brother and sister embraced, all care fell from Hulda's face and she became a beautiful young woman just the same age as Snow White.

They begged Snow White to live with them forever; but she said, "I am lonesome to see my own dear dwarves." So Hulda made a spell which carried Snow White to the glen where the seven little men lived; there Snow White sat down to rest, and feeling hungry, without thinking she took a piece of dried apple from her pocket to eat, forgetting that it came from the poisoned apple. But no sooner than she had taken a morsel of it into her mouth, than she fell to the earth as dead.

The dwarfs, when they came home in the evening, found Snow White lying on the ground, and there came no breath out of her mouth, and she was dead. They lifted her up, sought if anything poisonous was to be found, cut her laces, combed her hair, and washed her with water and wine; but all was of no avail, the poor child was dead, and remained dead. Then they laid her on a bier, and sat all seven of them round it, and wept and lamented three whole days. And then they would have buried her, but that she looked still as if she were living, with her beautiful blooming cheeks. So they said,

"We cannot hide her away in the black ground."

So they had a coffin made of clear glass, so as to be looked into from all sides, and they laid her in it, and wrote in golden letters upon it her name, and that she was a king's daughter. Then they set the coffin out upon the mountain, and one of them always remained by it to watch. And the birds came too, and mourned for Snow White, first an owl, then a raven, and lastly, a dove.

Now all this time, Snow White's horse, back at the house in the meadow-land, had been longing for her, and asking every creature he met for news of her. One day a dove flew by, and this was the same dove that had mourned at Snow White's coffin. So this dove told him the news; and at once the horse galloped off to find her, carrying Hulda's brother the Prince on his back.

When he came to the mountain, the Prince saw the coffin, and beautiful Snow White within it, and read what was written in golden letters upon it. But she lay in the coffin not changed, but looking as if she were asleep, for she was still as white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony.

The Prince dismounted, knelt by the coffin, and gave her a kiss.

At once Snow White awoke and sat up, and smiled on him.

The Prince again begged her to return, and to be his bride, and this time she consented. So the horse carried them to a great castle nearby, which the Prince also owned, and their wedding was announced with great merriment and celebrations.

Now when the wicked Queen heard of this party, she dressed in her grandest clothes, and standing before her looking-glass, she said,

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?"

But the looking-glass answered,

"Oh, Queen, though thou art very fair,
The new young Queen is fairer far."

And when she heard this, the wicked Queen fell down in a fit and died.

So the wedding was held with great rejoicing, and all the friends lived together happily ever after.

The End

Most of this is from Margaret Hunt's or Lucy Crane's translations of "Snow White" and "Mother Hulda". All else is my own.
--RL

 

This story is copyrighted by Rosemary Lake. All Rights Reserved.
The Once Upon a Time When the Princess(tm) series
Once Upon a Time When the Princess Rescued the Prince,
Once Upon a Time When the Princess Beat the Dragon
Once Upon a Time When the Princess Cast the Spell
Once Upon a Time When the Princess Got the Treasure

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