SNOW WHITE
"Queen thou art of beauty rare, but Snow White living in the glen, with the seven little men, is a thousand times more fair."

t was the middle of winter, and the queen sat at her window working, and her embroidery frame was of ebony.

And as she worked, she pricked her finger, and there fell three drops of blood on the snow. And 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!"

Not very long after she had a 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 she was born, the queen died.

Then the king took another wife, a beautiful woman, but proud. She had a magic looking glass, and she used to stand before it and say:

"Looking glass upon the wall, Who is the fairest of us all?"

And the looking glass would answer:

"You are the fairest of them all."

When Snow White was seven years old, she was more beautiful that the queen. So one day when the queen went to the mirror, it said:

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

From that hour, her heart turned against Snow White. She sent her huntsman, and said,

"Take the child out into the woods, and put her to death."

The huntsman led her away; but when he drew his cutlass to kill her, she began to weep, and to say,

"Oh dear huntsman, do not take my life; I will go away into the wild wood, and never come home again."

And the huntsman had pity on her, and said,

"Away with you then, poor child."

Now, when the poor child found herself quit alone in the wild woods, she did not know what to do for fright. She ran as long as her feet could carry her; and when the evening drew near, she came to a little house, and went inside to rest. Everything there was very small, but as pretty and clean as possible. There stood the little table with seven little plates, and seven knives and forks, and drinking cups. By the wall stood seven little beds. Snow White, being very hungry and thirsty, ate from each plate a little porridge and bread, and drank out of each little cup. After that she lay down on one of the beds, but it did not seem to suit her; one was too long, another too short, but at last the seventh was quite right; and so she lay down upon it, and fell asleep.

When it was quite dark, the masters of the house came home. They were seven dwarfs, whose occupation was to dig for gold. When they had lighted their seven candles, and it was quite light in the little house, they saw that some one must have been in. The first said,

"Who has been sitting in my 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 cutting with my little knife?"

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

Then the first one said, "Who has been lying on my bed?"

And the others came running, and cried, "Some one has been on our beds too."

But when the seventh looked at his bed, he saw little Snow White asleep.

"Oh goodness! Oh gracious!" they all cried, "what beautiful child is this?" and they let her sleep on. And the seventh dwarf slept with his comrades, an hour at a time with each, until the night had passed.

When it was morning, and Snow White awoke and saw the seven dwarfs, she was very frightened; but they seemed quite friendly, and she told them what her name was and how she came to be in their house. Then the dwarfs said, "If you will keep our house for us, and cook, and wash, and make the beds, and sew and knit, and keep everything tidy and clean, you may stay with us, and you shall lack nothing."

"With all my heart," said Snow White; and so she stayed and kept house. In the morning the dwarfs went to dig for gold; in the evening they came home. All the day long the maiden was left alone, and the good little dwarfs warned her, saying, "Let no one into the house."

Now the queen came to her mirror, and said," "Looking glass upon the wall, who is fairest of us all?

And the glass 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, and she knew that the huntsman must have deceived her, and that Snow White must still be living. And she thought and thought how she could manage to make an end of her. At last she painted her face and dressed herself like an old peddler woman, and went to the house of the seven little dwarfs, and knocked at the door and cried, "Fine wares to sell! Fine wares to sell!"

"I need not be afraid of letting in this good woman," thought Snow White, and she unbarred the door and bought some pretty lace.

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 fell down as dead.

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

The seven dwarfs came home and raised her up, and cut the lace in two; then little by little she returned to life. W hen the dwarfs heard what had happened, they said, "The old peddler woman was the wicked queen; you must beware of letting any one in when we are not here!"

And when the wicked woman got home she went to the glass and said:

"Looking glass upon the wall, who is fairest of us all?

And 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 knew that Snow White must be still living! Then she made a poisoned comb, and she dressed herself up to look like another sort of old woman, and went 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. It pleased the poor child so much that she opened the door. Then 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 poor girl fell down senseless.

"Now, you paragon of beauty," said the wicked woman, "this is the end of you," and went off. When the seven little dwarfs came home and saw Snow White lying on the ground as dead, they thought directly that it was the stepmother's doing. They found the poisoned 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 never again to let any one in at the door.

And the queen went home and stood before the looking glass and said:

"Looking glass upon the wall, who is fairest of us all?

And 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 the looking glass speak thus, she shook with anger. Then she made a poison apple, beautiful to look upon, being white with red cheeks. Then she painted her face, and clothed herself like a peasant woman, and went to where the seven dwarfs lived. And when she knocked at the door Snow White put her head out of the window and said, "I dare not let anybody in; the seven dwarfs told me not to."

"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 one."

For all the poison was in the rosy half of it. Snow White longed for the beautiful apple, and as she saw the peasant woman eating a piece of it, she took the poisoned half. But no sooner had she taken a morsel of it into her mouth, than she fell to the earth as dead. And the queen laughed aloud and cried, "This time the dwarfs will not be able to bring you to life again." And when she went home and questioned the looking glass as before, it answered: "You are the fairest now of all."

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

The dwarfs found Snow White dead. They cut her laces, combed her hair, washed her with water and wine, but all was of no avail. Then they laid her on a bier, and sat all seven of them round it, and wept three whole days. And they had made a coffin of glass, and they laid her in it, and wrote in golden letters upon it her name. Then they set the coffin out upon the mountain.

Now, for a long while, Snow White lay in the coffin and never changed, but looked 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. It happened, however, that one day a king's son rode through the wood and up to the dwarfs' house which was near it. He saw on the mountain the coffin, and beautiful Snow White within it, and he read what was written in golden letters upon it. Then he said to the dwarfs, "Let me have the coffin, and I will give you whatever you like to ask for it."

But the dwarfs told him that they could not part with it for all the gold in the world. But he said: "I beseech you to give it me, for I cannot live without looking upon Snow White; if you consent I will bring you to great honor, and care for you as if you were my brethren."

When he so spoke the good little dwarfs had pity upon him and gave him the coffin, and the king's son called his servants and bid them carry it away on their shoulders. Now it happened that as they were going along, they stumbled over a bush, and with the shaking, the bit of poisoned apple flew out of her throat. It was not long before she opened her eyes, threw up the cover of the coffin, and sat up, alive and well.

"Oh dear! where am I?" cried she. The king's son answered, full of joy: "You are near me," and, relating all that had happened, he said: "I would rather have you than anything in the world; come with me to my father;s castle and you shall be my bride."

And Snow White was kind, and went with him, and their wedding was held with pomp and great splendor.

But Snow White's wicked stepmother was also bidden to the feast, and when she had dressed herself in beautiful clothes, she went to her looking glass and said:

"Looking glass upon the wall, who is fairest of us all?

And it answered as before:

"Queen, although you are of beauty rare, the young bride is a thousand times more fair."

Then she railed and cursed, and was beside herself with disappointment and anger. First she thought she would not go to the wedding; but then she felt she should have no peace until she went and saw the bride. And when she saw her, she knew her for Snow White, and could not stir from the place for anger and terror. And they had ready red hot iron shoes, in which she had to dance, until she fell down dead.

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