Bethany Roberts' Valentine Fun for Kids

 

SNOW WHITE
and the Seven Dwarfs

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 queen sat at a window sewing, and the frame of the window was made of black ebony. And whilst she was sewing and looking out of the window at the snow, she pricked her finger with the needle, and three drops of blood fell upon the snow. And the red looked pretty upon the white snow, and she thought to herself, would that I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the window-frame. Soon after that she had a little daughter, who was as white as snow, and as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony, and she was therefore called little Snow White. And when the child was born, the queen died. 

After a year had passed the king took to himself another wife. She was a beautiful woman, but proud and haughty, and she could not bear that anyone else should surpass her in beauty. She had a wonderful looking-glass, and when she stood in front of it and looked at herself in it, she said, "Looking-glass, looking-glass, on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?"

The looking-glass answered, "thou, o queen, art the fairest of all."

Then she was satisfied, for she knew that the looking-glass spoke the truth. But Snow White was growing up, and grew more and more beautiful, and when she was seven years old she was as beautiful as the day, and more beautiful than the queen herself. And once when the queen asked her looking-glass, "Looking-glass, looking-glass, on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?"  it answered, "thou art fairer than all who are here, lady queen. But more beautiful still is Snow White."

Then the queen was shocked, and turned yellow and green with envy. From that hour, whenever she looked at Snow White, her heart heaved in her breast, she hated the girl so much. And envy and pride grew higher and higher in her heart like a weed, so that she had no peace day or night. She called a huntsman, and said, "take the child away into the forest. I will no longer have her in my sight. Kill her, and bring me back her lung and liver as a token." 

The huntsman obeyed, and took her away but when he had drawn his knife, and was about to pierce Snow White's innocent heart, she began to weep, and said, "ah dear huntsman, leave me my life. I will run away into the wild forest, and never come home again."

And as she was so beautiful the huntsman had pity on her and said, "run away, then, you poor child."  And as a young bear just then came running by he stabbed it, and cut out its lung and liver and took them to the queen as proof that the child was dead.  

But now the poor child was all alone in the great forest, and so terrified that she did not know what to do. Then she began to run, and ran over sharp stones and through thorns, and the wild beasts ran past her, but did her no harm. She ran as long as her feet would go until it was almost evening, then she saw a little cottage and went into it to rest herself. 

Everything in the cottage was small, but neater and cleaner than can be told. There was a table on which was a white cover, and seven little plates, and on each plate a little spoon, moreover, there were seven little knives and forks, and seven little mugs. Against the wall stood seven little beds side by side, and covered with snow-white counterpanes. 

Little Snow White was so hungry and thirsty that she ate some vegetables and bread from each plate, for she did not wish to take all from one only. Then, as she was so tired, she laid herself down on one of the little beds, but none of them suited her, one was too long, another too short, but at last she found that the seventh one was right, and so she remained in it, said a prayer and went to sleep. 

When it was quite dark the owners of the cottage came back. They were seven dwarfs who dug and delved in the mountains for ore. They lit their seven candles, and as it was now light within 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 said, "who has been sitting on my chair?"
The second, "who has been eating off my plate?" 
The third, "who has been taking some of my bread?"  
The fourth, "who has been eating my vegetables?"
The fifth, "who has been using my fork?" 
The sixth, "who has been cutting with my knife?" 
The seventh, "who has been drinking out of my mug?" 

Then the first looked round and saw that there was a little hollow on his bed, and he said, "who has been getting into my bed?" 
The others came up and each called out, "somebody has been lying in my bed too." 
But the seventh when he looked at his bed saw little Snow White, who was lying asleep therein. And he called the others, who came running up, and they cried out with astonishment, and brought their seven little candles and let the light fall on little Snow White. 

"Oh, heavens, oh, heavens," cried they, "what a lovely child." And they were so glad that they did not wake her up, but let her sleep on in the bed. And the seventh dwarf slept with his companions, one hour with each, and so passed the night. 

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 answered.

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

Then 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. 

The dwarfs said, "if you will take care of our house, cook, make the beds, wash, sew and knit, and if you will keep everything neat and clean you can stay with us and you shall want for nothing."

"Yes," said Snow White, "with all my heart." And she stayed with them. She kept the house in order for them. In the mornings they went to the mountains and looked for copper and gold, in the evenings they came back, and then their supper had to be ready.

 The girl was alone the whole day, so the good dwarfs warned her and said, "beware of your step-mother, she will soon know that you are here, be sure to let no one come in."

But the queen, could not but think that she was again the first and most beautiful of all, and she went to her looking-glass and said, "looking-glass, looking-glass, on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?" 

And the glass answered, "oh, queen, thou art fairest of all I see, but over the hills, where the seven dwarfs dwell, snow-white is still alive and well, and none is so fair as she."

When she heard the glass speak thus she trembled and shook with rage. Snow-white shall die, she cried, and she made a very poisonous apple. Outside it looked pretty, white with a red cheek, so that everyone who saw it longed for it, but whoever ate a piece of it must surely die. 

When the apple was ready she painted her face, and dressed herself up as a farmer's wife, and so she went over the seven mountains to the seven dwarfs. She knocked at the door. Snow White put her head out of the window and said, "I cannot let anyone in, the seven dwarfs have forbidden me."

" It is all the same to me," answered the woman, "I shall soon get rid of my apples. There, I will give you one."

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

"Are you afraid of poison?" said the old woman, "look, I will cut the apple in two pieces, you eat the red cheek, and I will eat the white."

 The apple was so cunningly made that only the red cheek was poisoned. Snow-white longed for the fine apple, and when she saw that the woman ate part of it she could resist no longer, and stretched out her hand and took the poisonous half. But hardly had she a bit of it in her mouth than she fell down dead. 

Then the queen looked at her with a dreadful look, and laughed aloud and when she asked of the looking-glass at home, "looking-glass, looking-glass, on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?"  it answered at last, "oh, queen, in this land thou art fairest of all." Then her envious heart had rest, so far as an envious heart can have rest. 

The dwarfs, when they came home in the evening, found Snow White lying upon the ground, she breathed no longer and was dead. They lifted her up, looked to see whether they could find anything poisonous, unlaced her, combed her hair, washed her with water and wine, but it was all of no use, the poor child was dead, and remained dead. They laid her upon a bier, and all seven of them sat round it and wept for her, and wept three days long. Then they were going to bury her, but she still looked as if she were living, and still had her pretty red cheeks. 

They said, "we can not bury her in the dark ground," and they had a coffin of glass made, so that she could be seen from all sides, and they laid her in it, and wrote her name upon it in golden letters, and that she was a king's daughter. Then they put the coffin out upon the mountain, and one of them always stayed by it and watched it. And birds came too, and wept for Snow White, first an owl, then a raven, and last a dove. And now Snow White lay a long, long time in the coffin, and she did not change, but looked as if she were asleep, for she was as white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony. 

It happened, however, that a king's son came into the forest, and went to the dwarfs' house to spend the night. He saw the coffin on the mountain, and the beautiful Snow White within it, and read what was written upon it in golden letters. Then he said to the dwarfs, "let me have the coffin, I will give you whatever you want for it." 

But the dwarfs answered, "we will not part with it for all the gold in the world."

 Then he said, "let me have it as a gift, for I cannot live without seeing Snow White. I will honor and prize her as my dearest possession." As he spoke in this way the good dwarfs took pity upon him, and gave him the coffin. And now the king's son had it carried away by his servants on their shoulders. And it happened that they stumbled over a tree-stump, and with the shock the poisonous piece of apple which snow-white had bitten off came out of her throat. And before long she opened her eyes, lifted up the lid of the coffin, sat up, and was once more alive. 

"Oh, heavens, where am I?" she cried. 

The king's son, full of joy, said, "you are with me." And told her what had happened, and said, "I love you more than everything in the world, come with me to my father's palace, you shall be my wife."

And Snow White was willing, and went with him, and their wedding was held with great show and splendor. 


Grimm Fairy Tale, abbreviated
illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith


 

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