Friday’s Fairytales: Snow White

311px-Franz_Jüttner_Schneewittchen_4

My queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White beyond

the mountains at the seven dwarfs is a thousand times more beautiful than you.

This week’s Friday Fairytales is focussing on one of the most classic, most beloved and most traditional of Fairytales: that of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. As a two parter, the next installment will be “Snow White and Rose Red”- two very different tales.

Original Sources: the good ol’ Brothers Grimm bible

Origins: Snow White is Germanic in origin and falls on the Aarne Thompson scale as: 709- Snow White. It actually gets a whole genre unto itself. The tale was originally published in 1812 by the Grimm brothers.

Original Story:

  • Once Upon a Time, a Queen pricked her finger on a needle, causing three drops of blood to fall into the snow, which was on a black windowsill. Admiring the colours (clearly picking out her next Dulux scheme), the queen said to herself “How I wish I had a daughter who had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony” (personally, I’d just get a plaster, but you know- two types of people…)

  • Soon after, the Queen has a baby girl (huzzah!) who has skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony. They name her Snow White but unfortunately, the Queen dies during childbirth.

  • After a year, the King remarried (a beautiful woman who is of course, a bitch). The new queen had a magic mirror in her posession and every morning she asked it “Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?”. Every day, she got told she was the fairest and this pleased the Queen because the mirror could never lie.

  • Snow White gradually reached the age of 7 and started to become more beautiful than the Queen. The mirror did not lie. The Queen was not a happy bunny.

  • This causes the Queen to decide to have Snow White bumped off. She hires a huntsman to lure Snow White into the heart of the forest to be killed. As proof of the deed, the Queen demands Snow White’s lungs and liver.

  • The huntsman does as his Queen wishes- until he actually had to kill her anyway. He decides he doesn’t have the guts to do it as Snow White begs him to let her live. He lets her go after she promises to run away, and he brings the Queen the lungs and liver of boar instead- which the cook prepares and feeds to the Queen- yum.

  • Snow White wanders for days in the woods and eventually comes across a small cottage. Nobody is at home so, what the hell, she makes herself comfortable.

  • The residents return home to find S.W sleeping in their bed, who wakes up and explains the situation to them- they take pity on her and tell her basically “you can stay as long as you stay in the kitchen like a woman should hurr hurr”.

  • They warn her to be careful when left alone in the cottage and to let nobody in while they are away – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE REASONS.

  • The Queen, upon asking her mirror her favourite question ever, has discovered that yes- S.W is actually still alive. She decides to disguise herself as an old peddler.

  • The Queen visits the cottage and offers S.W colourful bodices (don’t take undies from strangers, kids!). The Queen laces the corset so tightly that S.W faints, however the dwarves return home in time and loosen the laces.

  • Same thing happens again, Queen finds out, is raging with anger. Disguises herself as a Comb seller, and offers them to S.W- who somehow stupidly takes the comb (idk about you, but I would be weary after the laces incident…). Anyway, it turns out the comb has been poisoned. S.W faints and again is revived by the dwarves.

  • Finally, the Queen is ready to flip and gives S.W the poisoned apple we all recognise. (Seriously, a THIRD time you accept something off a stranger?!)

  • The Queen eats the white half of the apple to “prove” it isn’t poisonous, S.W gets the red poisoned part. S.W falls into a deep sleep and the dwarves presume she is dead as they cannot find the source of her ill health. They place her in a glass coffin (ever the optimists there, guys.)

  • Some time passes, and soon, a prince is passing through the woods, comes across the glass coffin and instantly falls in love with S.W on sight (er….nothing says “sexy times” like a dead person in a glass coffin I guess?). He orders his servants to carry the coffin.

  • The servants stumble on some tree roots and this bump in the road causes the piece of apple caught in S.W’s throat to dislodge, which results in her waking up.

  • The prince declares his love and soon after, they marry.

  • The Queen winds up going to the ceremony, having no idea the “young queen” whom her mirror has now praised as being fairest in the land is her “dead” Snow White. As punishment for her attempts to murder S.W, the Queen is then forced to “Dance” in red hot iron shoes until she falls down dead.

Fun Facts:

The Broadway Musical from 1912 saw the dwarves having individual names for the first time, however these were not the usual Disney names we are accustomed to: Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick and Quee. Prior to this, the dwarves were unnamed.

Variations

In 1987, an interesting movie version theorises that the Queen’s beauty actually came from her magic mirror, and with every time Snow White accidentally defied her plans, the mirror would gain a crack in the glass. By the time she got to the wedding, the mirror shatters and she appears as her true self: an old hag. She leaves the wedding and her and her mirror disintegrate into dust.

Also, in the Grimm’s “original” original version, the villain was actually Snow White’s mum, not the stepmother.

Re-tellings:

  1. Mirror, Mirror- Gregory MacGuire

  2. Mira, Mirror – Mette Ivey Harrison

  3. Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves- Tracy Lynn (OUAT Series)

I haven’t actually read that many re-tellings of S.W, any favourites out there?

Obvious shout out mentions also go to the recent movie adaptations “Snow White and the Huntsman”, “ Mirror, Mirror” and then of course the popular tv show “Once Upon a Time”. (I’ve not seen any of s3 yet so shh on spoilers ;3).

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3 thoughts on “Friday’s Fairytales: Snow White

  1. Elen @ A World of Reviews says:

    I recently The Reflections of Queen Snow White, which is about Snow after Charming’s death. That was definitely an interesting take on the story. I don’t think I’ve read any other retellings though, although I love Once Upon a Time’s version!

    • thebookheap says:

      I’ll have to look into that one, I’ve not heard of it before! -Thanks! Once upon a Time’s version of snow white is brilliant!

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