Featured Fairy Tales, Young Adult

Featured Fairy Tales: Snow White

snow white apple

Featured Fairy Tale: There are a lot of versions of Snow White, but I’m going to go with the original written by the Grimm Brothers:

Originated by the Grimm Brothers, Snow White, or Sneewittchen as it was originally called (Yeah, it sounds like a Dr. Seuss book), tells the story of a queen who wanted a daughter. One day she was sitting by an ebony window frame, sewing. She pricked her finger and three drops of blood fell onto the snow and she wished for a daughter who was white as snow, red as blood, and black as ebony. She was soon pregnant and then gave birth to a daughter who had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and eyes black as ebony.

Now, here comes the darker parts… it’s the MOM who has the mirrors. In the Grimm’s original tale, it was not a step-mother who had the mirrors and who asked who was the fairest of them all, but Snow White’s MOM. Yeah. I know.

So the queen was super vain and often asked her mirrors

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall Who in this land is fairest of all?

And of course the mirror replied that she was the fairest and all was happy. That is, until Snow White turned seven.

The queen asked her mirror who was fairest, expecting its same reply, only to have it tell her that Snow White was fairer than her. Say what?!

The queen, in a jealous rage, ordered her huntsman to take Snow White into the woods and kill her. To prove that he had done so, she ordered him to bring back her lungs and her liver so she could cook them with salt and eat them. The huntsman did as he was told, but Snow White begged him not to kill her. Seeing how beautiful she was, he could not bear to kill her. He knew the forest creatures would kill her anyway, so he let her go, killing a young boar in her place and returning to the queen with its lungs and liver. The queen then cooked them with salt and ate them.

Snow White ran through the woods until she came upon a small house. When she entered she saw there was a table set with seven little place settings and against the wall were seven little beds. She ate some of the vegetables and drank some of the wine before trying out all the beds. She finally fell asleep on the 7th one.

Then the seven dwarfs come home and spend an outrageous amount of time trying to figure out what’s going on/stating the obvious. “My vegetables have been eaten!” “My wine has been drunk!” “My fork’s been used!” “Someone’s sleeping in my bed!”

Snow White wakes up and the dwarfs see how beautiful she is, liking her instantly. They agree she can stay with them if she does everything for them – cook, clean, sew, knit, etc.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch castle, the queen obviously figures out that Snow White is still alive, thanks to her mirror, the cheeky bastard, and devises several attempts to kill Snow White. First, she came after her with bodice laces, meant to crush Snow White’s bones. Then, she came after her with a poisoned comb. Each time, Snow White let the queen in, and each time the queen “killed” her. Luckily, her methods didn’t work very well, because the dwarfs would find her, remove the bodice laces or comb, and tada! Snow White came back to life.

But the third time, the queen came with a poisoned apple. Snow White ate the apple, and fell dead. The dwarfs came home and found her, but could not find any way to revive her. Not wanting to bury her, they built her a glass coffin and kept her in their house. Luckily, Snow White didn’t seem to decay like a normal dead body and stayed fresh.

One day, a handsome prince was riding through the forest (convenient, no?). He came to the dwarfs’ house wanting shelter for the night. They offered it to him and, when he entered the house, he saw the most beautiful girl lying in a glass coffin. He fell instantly in love with her beauty and offered the dwarfs’ money for her. They would not sell. He insisted he must have her and the dwarfs could see how much he loved her so they agreed to let him take Snow White.

The prince had the coffin carried to his castle and placed in a room; he sat next to it for days, his eyes never straying. Whenever he had to leave, he became sad. To remedy this, he ordered the coffin be brought with him whenever he had to leave. His servants became angry at the girl in the coffin; one day one of the servants picked up Snow White and hit her on the back. A piece of apple flew from her lips and she came back to life. She walked to the prince, who was overjoyed, and they sat down to breakfast and ate happily.

When they were married, they invited the queen to the wedding. When she showed up they put a pair of iron shoes into the fire until they glowed, placing them on the queen’s feet to force her to dance herself to death.

mirror-mirror-sw-ss-0066rrgb

Why I love it: I wouldn’t say I really LOVE it in the way that I love other fairy tales, but I love the complex themes it deals with, namely beauty, vanity and jealousy. Here we have this girl who is only good at being beautiful and for that she’s both loved and hated. I think it’s a great commentary on our society, even though this story was written hundreds of years ago. We place so much on being beautiful, that our own vanity leads us to be jealous of those who may be more beautiful than we are. Rather than trying to make ourselves more beautiful, we tend to go after those who may outshine us, which really just makes us less beautiful. I love that that simple theme has lasted through the centuries but hate that it is still highly prevalent today.

*I don’t necessarily mean OUTER beauty; beautiful also includes INNER beauty.

Can anyone guess who this is?!
Can anyone guess who this is?!

Why you’ll love it: There’s something truly magical about a happy ending and this is one of those fairy tales that has one that really shines. Despite the prince’s weird necrophiliac attraction to Snow White at first, it’s pretty romantic that they fall in love, even though you don’t really see it in the original story. However, fleshed out versions really do let this come out, which is really nice.

Awesome Retellings: There are some GREAT retellings of the Snow White out there! Check these out!

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
fairest

Winter by Marissa Meyer (not out til 2015) (and yes, this is Cinder, not Winter)

Mirror, Mirror by Gregory McGuire
mirrormirror

Did you review any of these retellings? Let me know and I’ll add your review link on here!

3 thoughts on “Featured Fairy Tales: Snow White”

  1. I love Fairest! Not as much as Ella Enchanted, but it’s totally amazing. And dude, that’s totally Elizabeth McGovern – from Downton Abby! I used to watch that episode of Fearie Tale Theatre all the time!

    Like

  2. LMAO it DOES sound like a Dr. Seuss book!! Also: “and offered the dwarfs’ money for her. They would not sell. He insisted he must have her and the dwarfs could see how much he loved her so they agreed to let him take Snow White.” One word: awkward.

    I actually didn’t know that someone hit her to make the apple fall out. Interesting.

    Like

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