Friday’s Fairy tales: Snow White and Rose Red

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Snow-White said “We shall never desert each other”,

Rose-Red answered “No, not as long as we live.”

(Lang 1965: 259)

Following on from last week’s installment, which discussed the original version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”- this week we have a tale similar by name, but very different in nature: Snow White and Rose Red.

Origins: Another German tale, collected by those pesky Grimms brothers. The only similarity between this and the popular tale “Snow White” is that one of the sisters shares the same name. On the Aarne Thompson scale, it falls under 426- “Supernatural/Enchanted Relatives: Husband.”

Story: Once upon a Time…

  • There was once a cottage in the woods, where two young girls lived with their mother, who was a poor widow. Rose Red was outspoken, cheerful and loved to play outside. Snow White, of course, was the opposite. Shy, quiet and liked house work and reading.

  • One winter’s night, there came a knock at their front door. Snow White opened the door to find a bear, who asks the family not to be afraid of him and that they let him inside to warm up.

  • They decide to let the bear into the house and he lies down in front of the fire. The girls brush the snow from the bears back and quickly become friends with him.

  • They let the bear sleep in front of the fire for the night and he leaves the next morning.

  • Every night the bear returns, and the family grow ever attached to him over time.

  • Summer arrives, and the bear tells them he must go away for a while, as he has to guard his treasure from a wicked dwarf.

  • One day, during the summer, the girls are walking through the woods and they come across a dwarf stuck in a tree.

  • The girls rescue him by cutting his beard, and he proceeds to yell at them for doing so. (Grouch.)

  • This occurs numerous times over the summer, and each time, the dwarf yells at them for cutting his beard. (That is one stupid dwarf.) First a tree, then a river of fish, then a bird- this guy is a hazard.

  • The final time they meet the dwarf, he is terrified because the bear is about to kill him, apparently. The dwarf begs the bear to eat the girls instead (charming!), the bear ignores the dwarf and instead kills him in a single swipe with his paw.

  • The bear instantly turns into a price, turns out that years ago, that very dwarf had cursed him by stealing his precious stones, turning him into a bear (I don’t even know…) but the curse could be wiped out by killing the dwarf.

  • Snow White marries the Prince, and Rose Red marries his brother

Variations/Random Facts:

  1. Snow White and Rose Red are featured in the comic book series “Fables” (which I’ve had recommended to me a few times, now…)

  2. Apparently the close friendship between Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood on the tv show “Once Upon a Time” is a reference to this tale.

Re-tellings:

  1. Snow White and Rose Red – Patricia C Wrede

  2. Snow White and Rose Red- Kallie George, Kelly Vivanco

  3. Snow White and Rose Red: the Curse of the Huntsman- Lilly Fang

This is actually one of the much lesser known tales, and as a result, there are not many re-tellings out there. I’ve personally yet to read any of them- but what worries me is that from looking at what little there is, so much of them are “erotic” novels! I don’t quite know how I feel about that…

Have any of you read any re-tellings of this tale?

Also, stemming from this, how do you guys feel about “Erotic” re-tellings of the classic fairytales?

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7 thoughts on “Friday’s Fairy tales: Snow White and Rose Red

  1. Elen @ A World of Reviews says:

    I never realised that Snow White and Red Rose gets so weird towards the end! It’s definitely an interesting fairy tale. 🙂

    Not sure I’d want to read an erotic retelling though…

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