THE ALTERNATE SNOW WHITE
Once upon a time in midwinter, a queen sat sewing by her window sill. As she sewed, rather distractedly, watching the snowflakes fall like feathers from heaven, she pricked her finger on the needle. A single drop of blood fell onto the snow. Just as this drop of blood fell, she wished that her first child would be born to be the wisest of all in the seven kingdoms.
Soon afterward, a daughter was born to the queen. Since her skin was white as snow, they called her Snow White. As soon as the child was born, the queen died.
A year later, the king remarried. The new queen, though extremely beautiful, was also very proud and arrogant. She could not stand it if anyone surpassed her in beauty, so much so, that she had a magic mirror,, telling her of her beauty. Every morning, she would ask the mirror
“O mirror on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?”
To which the mirror would answer
“O Queen, you are the fairest of them all,”
much to the satisfaction of the queen, who knew that the mirror was enchanted to tell only the truth.
The years passed and Snow White grew to be wiser every day. She grew to be so wise, that even as a child her words would have everyone spellbound, completely unable to look away.
One day the queen, upon asking the mirror her usual question, found that she was not satisfied by its answer. She found that despite being the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, it was Snow White that everyone adored. When they sat in the palace gardens, everyone looked at Snow White, when they stepped out of the palace, the people spoke only of Snow White. When the queen saw the little girl, she became yellow and green with envy. From that hour on whenever she looked at Snow White her heart turned over inside her body, so great was her hatred for the girl. The envy and pride grew ever greater, like a weed in her heart, until she had no peace day and night.
She decided that she must get rid of Snow White once and for all. She summoned a huntsman and told him that he must take Snow White out into the woods and kill her. As proof of his deed he must bring backSnow White’s heart and liver.
However Snow White was not oblivious to her step mothers pride and jealousy. So at dusk when the huntsman told her that he would take her out into the forest to play, she immediately thought of her step mother. When she saw the huntsman sharpening his knife, she knew that she was in danger, for he would not need his knife if they were going out to play.
She ran into the forest surrounding the castle. She was all alone, and terribly afraid, but she ran as far as she could. Just as she began to feel like she would collapse, she noticed a little cottage. She walked into the little shelter hoping to get some rest. All the things in the house were small and very neat. At the table there were seven plates and seven mugs, seven forks and spoons all neatly laid out. She went into the kitchen and found a little to eat, and then went and hid away, not knowing who might live in the house, and if they would be friend or foe.
Sometime later, seven little dwarfs came into the house. Revealing herself, she told them eloquently of what had happened, and how she had escaped from the cruel fate that surely awaited her. She begged they have mercy and be kind, and such was her power of convincing that they readily took her in.
In the meanwhile, the huntsman, realising that Snow White had run away, killed a boar and presented its heart and liver to the queen. The cook had to boil them so that the wicked woman could eat them, but upon tasting them, she knew immediately that she had been deceived. Looking upon her magic mirror she asked it where she might find Snow White.
She thought, and thought again, of how she might kill Snow White, who she knew, with her beautiful words and charm would let the envious queen have no rest.
Finally the queen thought of something. Disguising herself as an old peddler woman, so that no one would recognize her, she went to the house of the seven dwarfs. Knocking on the door she called out, “Beautiful wares for sale, for sale!”
Snow White peered out of the window, asking “Good day woman, what have you for sale?”
“Good wares, beautiful wares,” she answered. “Bodice laces in all colours.” And she took out one that was braided from colourful silk. “Would you like this one?”
Snow White thought she could let this good woman in, but only briefly, for her good sense told her that no peddler woman would come selling bodice laces so far into the forest. She bid the peddler goodbye, saying she had no need for such fanciful articles in this forest. The queen, in the guise of a peddler, did not know what to do, since Snow white would not let her in. Though she burned with rage, she decided to keep her patience.
Again, she disguised herself as a peddler woman, keeping amongst her wares a poisoned comb. She knocked on the door of the dwarfs’ cottage, calling out “Wares for sale, for sale.”
Snow White, once again, peered out the window. Seeing the peddler again, she was less suspicious, but still, would not open the window. “What have you for sale, good woman?” she asked. “Good wares, useful wares,” asked the queen, cunningly. “Look at this comb,” she said, citing its usefulness. Snow White stretched her arm out to receive the comb, but seeing how the teeth of the comb glistened, she asked the woman to display its effects on her own hair first. Upon hearing this, the queen, knowing the comb was poisoned, with a speedy trick changed the comb for another before running it through her own hair. Alas for the queen, it was this comb that Snow White bought, and once again her plan was foiled.
The Queen was absolutely furious, and began once again to plot against Snow White. This time she came up with an infallible plan. With her magic, she created an apple, half of which was poisoned, and the other half was completely edible.
In the meanwhile, a handsome young prince heard of Snow White and her wisdom. He searched far and wide, and finally came to the dwarfs’ cottage in the forest. Upon meeting her, he explained to her his dilemma. He had, upon the wishes of his father, the king, gone away for some years to vanquish an evil dragon that had been destroying the kingdom. While he was gone, his Godless younger brother had imprisoned his father and announced himself king.
Snow White, out of empathy for the prince agreed to help him. She promised him she would draw a perfect plan to defeat the evil brother. However, before giving him her word, she extracted from him a promise that, in return, he would give her an army to win back her own kingdom.
In the Royal Palace, the Queen, in the meanwhile, was still planning Snow White’s fall. She, once again dressed as a peddler selling apples, and made her way to the dwarfs’ cottage.
When she reached, once again, she called out her wares. However, Snow White had gone into the forest to collect some herbs, and it was the prince that answered. He too, having been warned by Snow White, did not let the door open to the peddler queen. It was by this chance, that the queen unknowingly handed the poisoned half of the apple to the prince. The prince, tempted by the beauty of the fruit, took a bite, and immediately fell dead on the ground. The Queen, not knowing that it was the prince she had poisoned, left in great joy.
Snow White, when she returned, found the prince’s lifeless form on the ground. Unable to fathom what had transpired in her absence, she was overcome with sorrow. With some effort she tried to lift him onto one of the seven little beds. As she did this, the piece of apple that he had swallowed dislodged from his throat and he spluttered back to life.
A few months passed, and they planned, steadily.
Then one day, together, they declared war upon the Prince’s brother. With Snow White’s meticulous strategy, they managed to defeat the Prince’s Godless brother. True to his word, the Prince then gave Snow White an army.
When the last battle was won, and the queen saw Snow White standing before her, leading her army of ten thousand men, she fell to the ground, made unconscious by utter shock. Snow White took back her kingdom, much to the joy of the people. She married the handsome prince whose kingdom she had saved, and they lived happily ever after.
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