Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Fairy Tale for Grimm Times

Once upon a time in a land far away there lived a queen.  
While sewing, she pricks her finger and three drops of blood fall on the snow that swirls continuously around her. As she looks at the blood on the snow, she says to herself, "Oh, how I wish that I had a daughter that had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony."

A few years later, the queen gives birth to a baby girl who has skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony. They name her Princess Snow White. As soon as the child is born, the queen dies.

In the meantime the king has taken on a new wife, who is beautiful but very vain. The new queen possesses a magical mirror, which answers any question it is polled. The only question that the queen ever wanted to ask, however, was "Mirror, mirror on the wall / Who is the fairest of them all?" to which the mirror always replies "You, my queen, are fairest of all."

But one day Snow White became more beautiful, and the mirror told the queen when she asked: "Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true, but Snow White is fairer than you."

The queen becomes jealous, and orders a huntsman to take Snow White into the woods to be killed.
She demanded that the huntsman, as proof of killing Snow White, return with her lungs and her liver. The huntsman takes Snow White into the forest, but after raising his knife to stab her, he finds himself unable to kill her as he has fallen deeply in love with her. Instead, he lets her go, telling her to flee and hide from the Queen. He then brings the queen the lungs and the liver of a fairy, which is prepared by the cook and eaten by the queen.

In the forest, Snow White discovers a tiny cottage belonging to a group of seven dwarfs, where she rests. There, the dwarfs take pity on her, saying "If you will keep house for us, and cook, make beds, wash, sew, and knit, and keep everything clean and orderly, then you can stay with us, and you shall have everything that you want."

Each of the dwarfs had a name:
Dopey, the youngest, most lovable and most mischievous of the seven…

Grumpy, who found nothing to like in the forest or in the dwarf family…

Doc, the only one of the dwarfs to wear glasses, so presumably an intellectual and in charge…

Happy, the most rotund of the dwarfs, who laughs off all the troubles around him and makes fun of the other dwarfs…

Bashful, who hides his innocent nature behind a classic pose of shyness…

Sneezy, whose words are often hard to distinguish because of his propensity for sneezing all the time…

And Sleepy, who apparently cannot get much work done because of a problem with narcolepsy.

While Snow White travels around with the Seven Dwarfs putting on shows for the forest animals, the Queen asks her mirror once again "Who's the fairest of them all?", and is horrified to learn that Snow White is not only alive and well and living with the dwarves, but is still the fairest of them all.

Outraged, she makes a poisoned apple to kill Snow White, and in the disguise of a farmer’s wife…
offers it to Snow White. When she is hesitant to accept it, the Queen cuts the apple in half, eats the white part and gives the poisoned red part to Snow White, who eats the apple eagerly and immediately falls into a deep stupor. When the dwarfs find her, they cannot revive her, and they place her in a glass vault, assuming that she is dead.

Time passes, and a prince traveling through the land sees Snow White.  
He strides to her vault. The prince is enchanted by her beauty and instantly falls in love with her. He begs the dwarves to let him have the vault. The prince's servants carry the vault away, and the movement causes the piece of poisoned apple to dislodge from Snow White's throat, awakening her. The prince then declares his love for her and soon a wedding is planned.

The vain Queen, still believing that Snow White is dead, once again asks her mirror who is the fairest in the land, and yet again the mirror disappoints her by responding that "You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But the young queen is a thousand times fairer than you."

Not knowing that this new queen was indeed her stepdaughter, she arrives at the wedding, and her heart fills with the deepest of dread when she realizes the truth. As punishment for her wicked ways, a pair of heated iron shoes are brought forth with tongs and placed before the Queen, but before she steps into them, Dopey, who has mistakenly eaten a small bite of the poisoned apple, asks the Queen to marry him. She quickly accepts, and the party continues as before, with everyone living happily ever after.

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