Once upon a time in a great castle, a Prince's
daughter grew up happy and contented, in spite of a jealous stepmother.
She was very pretty, with blue eyes and long black hair. Her skin was
delicate and fair, and so she was called Snow White.
Though her stepmother was a wicked woman, she too was very beautiful,
and a magic mirror told her this every day, whenever she asked it. "Mirror,
mirror on the wall, who is the loveliest lady in the land?" The reply
was always; "You are, your Majesty," until the dreadful day
when she heard it say, "Snow White is the loveliest in the land."
The stepmother was furious and, wild with jealousy, began plotting to
get rid of her. Calling one of her servants, she bribed him with a rich
reward to take Snow White into the forest, far away from the castle.
unseen, he was to put her to death. The greedy servant, attracted to the
reward, agreed to do this deed, and he led the sweet little girl away.
However, when they came to the fatal spot, the man's courage betrayed
him and, leaving Snow White sitting beside a tree, he mumbled an excuse
and ran off. Snow White was thus left all alone in the forest.
Night came, but the servant did not return. Snow White, alone in the dark
forest, began to cry bitterly. She thought she could feel terrible eyes
spying on her, and she heard strange sounds and rustlings that made her
heart thump. At last, overcome by tiredness, she fell asleep curled under
Snow White slept fitfully, wakening from time to time with a start and
staring into the darkness round her. Several times, she thought she felt
something, or somebody touch her as she slept.
At last, dawn woke the forest to the song of the birds, and Snow White
too, awoke. A whole world was stirring to life and the little girl was
glad to see how silly her fears had been. However, the thick trees were
like a wall round her, and as she tried to find out where she was, she
came upon a path. She walked along it, till she came to a clearing. There
stood a strange cottage, with a tiny door, tiny windows and a tiny chimney
pot. Everything about the cottage was much tinier than it ought to be.
Snow White pushed the door open.
"l wonder who lives here?" she said to herself, peeping round
the kitchen. "What tiny plates! And spoons! There must be seven of
them, the table's laid for seven people." Upstairs was a bedroom
with seven neat little beds. Going back to the kitchen, Snow White had
"I'll make them something to eat. When they come home, they'll be
glad to find a meal ready." Towards dusk, seven tiny men marched
homewards singing. But when they opened the door, to their surprise they
found a bowl of hot steaming soup on the table. Upstairs was Snow White,
fast asleep on one of the beds. The chief dwarf prodded her gently.
"Who are you?" he asked. Snow White told them her sad story,
and tears sprang to the dwarfs' eyes. Then one of them said, as he noisily
blew his nose:
"Stay here with us!"
"Hooray! Hooray!" they cheered, dancing joyfully round the little
girl. The dwarfs said to Snow White:
"You can live here and tend to the house while we're down the mine.
Don't worry about your stepmother leaving you in the forest. We love you
and we'll take care of you!" Snow White gratefully accepted their
hospitality, and next morning the dwarfs set off for work. But they warned
Snow White not to open the door to strangers.
Meanwhile, the servant had returned to the castle, with the heart of a
roe deer. He gave it to the cruel stepmother, telling her it belonged
to Snow White, so that he could claim the reward. Highly pleased, the
stepmother turned again to the magic mirror. But her hopes were dashed,
for the mirror replied: "The loveliest in the land is still Snow
White, who lives in the seven dwarfs' cottage, down in the forest."
The stepmother was beside herself with rage.
"She must die! She must die!" she screamed. Disguising herself
as an old peasant woman, she put a poisoned apple with the others in her
basket. Then, taking the quickest way into the forest, she crossed the
swamp at the edge of the trees. She reached the bank unseen, just as Snow
White stood waving goodbye to the seven dwarfs on their way to the mine.
Snow White was in the kitchen when she heard the sound at the door: KNOCK!
"Who's there?" she called suspiciously, remembering the dwarfs
"I'm an old peasant woman selling apples," came the reply.
"I don't need any apples, thank you," she replied.
"But they are beautiful apples and ever so juicy!" said the
velvety voice from outside the door.
"I'm not supposed to open the door to anyone," said the little
girl, who was reluctant to disobey her friends.
"And quite right too! Good girl! If you promised not to open up to
strangers, then of course you can't buy. You are a good girl indeed!"
the old woman went on.
"And as a reward for being good, I'm going to make you a gift of
one of my apples!" Without a further thought, Snow White opened the
door just a tiny crack, to take the apple.
"There! Now isn't that a nice apple?" Snow White bit into the
fruit, and as she did, fell to the ground in a faint: the effect of the
terrible poison left her lifeless instantly.
Now chuckling evilly, the wicked stepmother hurried off. But as she ran
back across the swamp, she tripped and fell into the quicksand. No one
heard her cries for help, and she disappeared without a trace.
Meanwhile, the dwarfs came out of the mine to find the sky had grown dark
and stormy. Loud thunder echoed through the valleys and streaks of lightning
ripped the sky. Worried about Snow White they ran as quickly as they could
down the mountain to the cottage.
There they found Snow White, lying still and lifeless, the poisoned apple
by her side. They did their best to bring her alive, but it was of no
They wept and wept for a long time. Then they laid her on a bed of rose
petals, carried her into the forest and put her in a crystal coffin.
Each day they laid a flower there.
Then one evening, they discovered a strange young man admiring Snow White's
lovely face through the glass. After listening to the story, the Prince
(for he was a prince!) made a suggestion.
"If you allow me to take her to the Castle, I'll call in famous doctors
to waken her from this peculiar sleep. She's so lovely I'd love to kiss
her!" He did, and as though by magic, the Prince's kiss broke the
spell. To everyone's astonishment, Snow White opened her eyes. She had
amazingly come back to life! Now in love, the Prince asked Snow White
to marry him, and the dwarfs reluctantly had to bid good bye to Snow White.
From that day on, Snow White lived happily in a great castle. But from
time to time, she was drawn back to visit the little cottage down in the
forest, to her dwarf friends.
Back to Fairytales Main