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Snow White: Original Story

1937

The below text of "Little Snow What" was first published in the 19th century. Translated from whatever language it used to be in by Heidelberg R. Normerbausterhauerhauer, it is a fairly typical version of the story, and is intended to give the reader an idea of just how much liberty Walt Disney took with the original tale.

Grimm's Fairy Tales
"Little Snow White"

Long, long ago, in wintertime, when the snowflakes were falling like little white feathers from the sky, and covering poor homeless children until they froze in place like porcelain figurines, a beautiful Queen sat beside her window, which was framed in black ebony carved with little screaming skulls, and stitched. As she worked, she looked sometimes at the falling snow, and so it happened that she stabbed her finger mightily with her needle, so that three streams of blood gushed out upon the snow. How pretty the red blood looked upon the dazzling white! The Queen said to herself as she saw it, "Woah! If only I had a dear little child as white as the snow, had lips as rosy as blood, and with hair as black as the ebony window-frame."

Soon afterwards a little daughter came to her, who was white as snow, had lips as rosy as blood, and whose hair was as black as ebony, so the Queen asked the King to have the child's parents put to death so that she could come live in the castle. The Queen named the child Little Snow Blood Red Black Head, but she came to be known as Little Snow White.

But alas! After the little one came, the good Queen died in a freak hunting accident.

A couple of days passed, and the King took another wife. She was very beautiful, and a good thirty years younger than the old Queen, but so proud and haughty that she could not bear to be surpassed in beauty by anyone, and would often order young women with firm figures put to death for her entertainment. She possessed a wonderful plate that could answer her when she stood over it and said:

"Plate, plate on the table, say who's fairest, if you're able."

The plate answered:

"Honey, I like what you got. Thou, oh Queen, art smokin' hot!"

and the Queen was contented, because she knew the plate could speak nothing but the truth.

But as time passed on, Little Snow White grew more and more beautiful, until when she was seven years old, she was as lovely as a presidential pardon, and still more lovely than the Queen herself who, to be frank, wasn't getting any younger. So that when the lady one day asked her plate:

"Plate, plate on the table, say who's fairest, if you're able."

it answered:

"Oh Lady Queen, though you be fine, Snow White's looks kick boot on thine."

The Queen was filled with blood-boiling rage, and from that moment envy and pride grew in her heart like a hideous grey fungus that slowly overwhelms the poor swine on whose back it grows until one day the poor squeeling animal has been reduced to a throbbing pool of protoplasmic waste. So one day she called her private executioner and said, "Take the child away into the woods and kill her slowly and with malice aforethought, for I can no longer bear the sight of her. And when you return bring with you her heart in this handy little pleather purse, that I may know you have obeyed my will, and trail her innards behind you so that you can find your way back if you get lost."

Her private executioner dared not disobey, so he led Little Snow White out into the woods and picked up his club to smash in her little head, but the little maid had been taking lessons at her father's knee, and she executed a beautiful foot sweep that knocked the executioner to his behind, and followed through with a bird-song-perfect spear thrust that crushed his ribcage and laid him out.

When the executioner came to, he staggered back to the castle to find the Queen waiting for him. He fell before her, his heart rolling from his chest, and the Queen, none too observant for all her self centeredness, thought she had received the child's heart, and smiled even as she called for someone to clean up the mess.

Poor Little Snow White was now all alone in the wild wood, and her right arm was red to the elbow with mess. So frightened was she that she trembled at every leaf that rustled, and feared to see so much as a squirrel, even though she had killed herself a bear when she was only three. So she began to run, and ran on and on until she came to a little hovel, where she snapped the lock with a kick and went in to rest.

In the little hovel everything she saw was tiny and disgusting, like a fraternity hovel in one-sixth scale.

Upon a bare table stood seven little pizza boxes, and there were seven little beer steins besides. Against the wall, and side by side (but not so close that anyone could get the wrong idea), stood seven little beds covered with stiff brown sheets that at one time might have been Little Snow White.

Little Snow White was so hungry and thirsty that she took a little stale pizza from each of the seven plates, and drank a few drops of beer from each stein, for she did not wish to leave obvious evidence. Then, because she was so tired, she crept into one bed after the other, seeking one that was not too foul, until she came to the seventh, which she could tolerate, so she said a silent prayer that she wouldn't catch anything and fell fast asleep.

When night fell the masters of the filthy hovel came home. They were seven dwarfs, who spent each day in the mountains looking for gold because they couldn't hold down a real job.

They lit their seven candles and then saw that someone had been to visit them. The first said, "Who has been sitting on my chair?"

The second said, "Who has been eating my pizza?"

The third, "Who has been drinking my beer?"

The fourth, "You don't think those bears came back?"

The fifth, "Didn't they eat everything last time?"

The sixth, "Maybe it's that blonde girl again?"

The seventh, "Yeah, baby!"

The first looked round and saw that his bed was rumpled, so he said, "Well, my bed looks normal."

Then the others looked round and each one said, "Yep, mine looks normal, too."

But the seventh saw Little Snow White lying asleep in his bed, and called the others to come and look at her; and they cried aloud with surprise because that particular dwarf had never had a girl in his bed before (as the others oft reminded him), and fetched their seven little candles, so that they might see her the better. And they were so pleased with her beauty that they let her sleep on all night, but they stood around staring the whole time, and then they took a picture, so it would last longer.

When the sun rose Little Snow White awoke, and, oh! How frightened she was when she saw the seven little dwarfs. But they were very friendly, if awkward and foul smelling, and asked what her name was. "My name is Little Snow White," she answered.

"How did you get into our hovel?" questioned the dwarfs.

Little Snow White avoided the question and instead told them how her cruel stepmother had intended her to be killed, but how her private executioner had not been able to go through with the act, and she had run on until she reached the little hovel. And the dwarfs said, "If you will take care of our hovel, cook for us, and make the beds, wash, mend, and knit, and keep everything neat and clean, then you may stay with us and sleep in the warm cinders of the fireplace and we will call you Cinder-something."

"Okay," answered Little Snow White; and so she stayed.

Little Snow White kept the hovel neat and clean for the dwarfs, who went off early in the morning to goof off and wander around the mountains "searching for gold," and who expected their meal to be standing ready for them when they returned at night.

All day long Little Snow White was alone, and the little dwarfs warned her to be careful to let no one know she was in the hovel. "Or else," said they, "your stepmother will soon discover that you are living here." But in truth they were worried that if it became known there was another living in their hovel, the landlord would raise their rent.

The Queen, believing that Little Snow White busily feeding the worms of the forest and that therefore she was again the most beautiful lady in the land, went to her plate, and said:

"Plate, plate on the table, say who's fairest, if you're able."

Then the plate answered:

"Oh Lady Queen, though you be fine, Snow White's looks kick boot on thine. Outa town an' in the woods, the dwarfs' li'l crib has got the goods."

How angry she was, for she knew that the plate spoke the truth, and that her private executioner had fallen down on the job. She thought and thought about all of the new, deliciously slow ways she might kill Little Snow White, for she knew she would have neither rest nor peace until she really was the most beautiful lady in the land, and just throwing lye in the young thing's face wouldn't be nearly as satisfying. At length she decided what to do. She disguised her face with flesh-colored putty from a plastic egg and a set of goofy teeth from the local novelty merchant, rolled around in the pig wallow, and dressed herself like an old peddler woman, so that no one would want to be anywhere near her, let alone recognize her. In this disguise she climbed the seven mountains, crossed the seven forests, defeated the black knight, answered the cursed man's questions about bird flight, and passed through all the other obstacles that lay between her and the dwarfs' hovel. When she got there, rather knackered, she knocked at their door and cried, "Good wares to sell! Very cheap today!"

Little Snow White welcomed the interruption because it allowed her to put off scraping the crust from the bottom of the wash basin for a few moments and peeped from the window. She panted, "Good day, good woman, and what are your wares?"

"All sorts of pretty things, my dear," answered the woman. "Silken laces of every color," and she held up a bright-colored one, made of plaited silks, that could barely be called a handkerchief, let alone an outfit.

"Surely I might let this honest old woman come in?" thought Little Snow White, and unbolted the door. When the woman came in, Little Snow White bought the pretty lace, not really understanding that it wasn't quite appropriate for a girl of seven.

"My, my, what a figure you have, child," said the old woman. "Here, let me lace show you how to wear that properly."

Little Snow White had no suspicious thoughts, so she got undressed so that the stinky old woman might help her put on her new silk lace. But in less than no time the wicked creature had laced her so tightly that she could not breathe, but fell down upon the ground as though she were dead. "Now," said the Queen, "I am once more the most beautiful lady in the land," and she went away, kicking Little Snow White once in the head for good measure. "Bitch!"

When the dwarfs came home they were very grieved to find their dear Little Snow White looking more pleasing to the eye than ever, but lying upon the ground as though she were dead. They lifted her gently and, for reasons they later explained away as attempts to bring aid, cut away the lace. When Little Snow White, now unconstricted, drew a long breath, she gradually came back to life.

When the dwarfs heard all that had happened they said, "The peddler-woman was certainly the wicked Queen. Now, take care in future that you open the door to none when we are not with you, and wear that lace always as a reminder."

The wicked Queen had no sooner reached home and returned her face to normal than she went to her plate, and said:

"Plate, plate on the table, say who's fairest, if you're able."

And the plate answered as before:

"Oh Lady Queen, though you be fine, Snow White's looks kick boot on thine. Now to avoid da mirror's wrath, I suggest you take a bath."

The blood rushed to her face as she heard these words, for she knew that Little Snow White must have come to life again and the simple fact played havoc with her philosophy of life and death.

"But I will manage to plant her firmly within the ground yet," she said. Then, by means of her magic, she made a deadly poisonous toothbrush.

Again she made herself disgusting, climbed the seven mountains and passed the other obstacles, and knocked at the door of the seven dwarfs' hovel, crying, "Fuller Brush! Special sale today!"

Little Snow White got up from where she was trying to separate a cat from the bottom of the stove, looked out of the window and said, "Go away, old woman, for I dare not let you in."

"Surely you can look at my brushes," answered the woman, "This isn't religion or Amway." She held up the poisonous toothbrush, which pleased Little Snow White so well that she opened the door and bought it, using money she'd found in one of the dwarf's pockets while he slept.

"Come, let brush your teeth in the newest way," said the woman, and the poor child, crippled by a bad memory for faces and smells, let her have her way. But no sooner did the toothbrush pass through her lips than the poison began to work, and she fell to the ground, rapping the floorboards with her precious head.

"There, bitch," said the wicked woman, as she went away, "that's the end of you!"

But fortunately it was almost meal time and the dwarfs came wandering home. And as soon as they came in and found Little Snow White lying upon the ground they guessed that her wicked stepmother had been there again, and set to work to find out what was wrong.

They checked her all over, top to bottom, bottom to top. Within a few hours, they saw the poisonous toothbrush sticking from her mouth and drew it out. Almost immediately Little Snow White began to recover, the poison not being a long-lasting one, and told them what had happened.

Once more they warned her to be on her guard, and to open the door to no one. They asked her to show that she was still wearing the lace to remember.

When the Queen reached home, she took a bath, returned her face to normal, went straight to the plate and said:

"Plate, plate on the table, say who's fairest, if you're able."

And the plate answered:

"Oh Lady Queen, though you be fine, Snow White's looks kick boot on thine. The little lady still looks nice, though you kinda kilt her twice."

When the Queen heard these words she shook with rage and kicked a nearby baby animal. "Little Snow White shall die," she cried, "I shall bathe in the steam from her innards!"

She went into a secret chamber, where no one else ever entered, and there she made a poisonous apple. Then she disguised and besmelled herself once again and made her way over the seven mountains and past the myriad obstacles to the dwarfs' hovel.

She knocked at the door. Little Snow White put her head out of the window, and said, "I'm not home."

"Whatever," answered the peasant woman; "I shall soon get rid of these fine apples. But before I go I'll make you a present of one."

"Oh! No," said Little Snow White, remembering the lesson of her underwear, "I must not take it."

"Surely you are not afraid of poison?" said the woman, holding up an apple. "See, does this look like a toothbrush?"

Now, the apple had been so cleverly made that it in no way resembled the poison toothbrush with which Little Snow White was familiar. After so many days of eating nothing but twigs and whatever else the dwarfs discovered in their wanderings, Little Snow White longed for the delicious-looking fruit, and stretched out her hand and took it. But no sooner had she tasted it than she fell down dead, half in and half out of the window, a feast for the passing buzzard.

The wicked Queen laughed aloud with joy as she gazed at her. "White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony," she said, "this time the dwarfs cannot awaken you. Bitch!"

And she went straight home, bathed, fixed her face, and asked her plate:

"Plate, plate on the table, say who's fairest, if you're able."

And at length it answered:

"You be one conceited snot, but thou, oh Queen, art smokin' hot!"

So her black, barely beating heart had peace -- at least, so much peace as a bile-filled lump of conceit can have.

When the little dwarfs came home at night they found Little Snow White lying upon the ground, haven fallen out of the window. No breath came from her parted lips, and ants sought to make a home of her, for she was dead. They lifted her tenderly and checked her everywhere for some poisonous object which might have caused the mischief, unlaced her frock, combed her hair, gave her a bath, but all in vain. Dead she was and dead she remained. They laid her upon a bier, and all seven of them sat round about it, and wept as though their hearts would break, for three whole days, pining that poor Little Snow White had not been long enough upon the earth for even the youngest of them to get lucky.

When the time came that she should be laid in the ground they could not bear to part from her. Her pretty cheeks were still rosy red, she looked just as though she were still living, and after years of living in their hovel, they were largely without a sense of smell.

"We cannot hide her away in the dark earth," said the dwarfs, and so they made a transparent coffin of shining glass, and laid her in it, and wrote her name upon it in letters of gold. Also they wrote that she was a King's daughter and dressed her in the pretty lace before sealing her within. Then they placed the coffin upon the mountain-top, and sold tickets for two pieces of silver. And all the animals came and wept for Little Snow White, first an owl, then a raven, and then a little dove, but no cash customers.

For a long, long time Little Snow White lay in the coffin, but her form did not wither; she only looked as though she slept, for she was still as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony.

It chanced that a happy prince, memorialized in the Wilde story of the same name, came into the wood, and went to the dwarfs' hovel, meaning to spend the night there, whether they liked it or not. He saw the coffin upon the mountain-top, with Little Snow White lying within it, and after paying his two pieces of silver he read the words that were written upon it in letters of gold.

And he said to the dwarfs, "If you will but let me have the coffin, you may ask of me what you will, and I will give it to you. Within reason."

But the dwarfs answered, "We would not sell it for all the gold in the world." But then they thought better of it and sold him the coffin for two pieces of gold and a keg of ale.

The King's son then bade the dwarfs place it upon their shoulders and carry it away, but they were not in the prime of their condition and stumbled. The coffin fell, and the violent shaking shook the piece of poisonous apple which had lodged in Little Snow White's throat out again, so that she opened her eyes, raised the lid of the coffin, and sat up, alive once more.

"Where am I? And wherefore can I find a bathroom?" she cried. The happy Prince answered, "Thou art with me, dearest," and pointed to the nearby woods.

When Little Snow White returned, he told her all that had happened, and how he loved her better than the whole world after seeing her in her lace, and begged her to go with him to his father's palace and be his wife. Little Snow White consented, and went with him to his wonderful kingdom where the age of consent was six. The wedding was celebrated with great splendor and magnificence, and Little Snow White had great joy directing the actions of others to make perfect her special day.

Little Snow White's wicked stepmother was bidden to the feast, and evil witch Maleficent mistakenly excluded, and when the stepmother had arrayed herself in her most beautiful garments, she stood before her plate, and said:

"Plate, plate on the table, say who's fairest, if you're able."

And the plate answered:

"Oh Lady Queen, though you be fine, Snow White's looks kick boot on thine."

Oh! How angry the wicked woman was then, and so terrified, too, at the imagining of a girl thrice returned from the dead, that she scarcely knew what to do. At first she thought she would not go to the wedding at all, but then she felt that she could not rest until she had seen the young Queen and stuck something sharp in her eye. No sooner did she enter the palace than she recognized Little Snow White, and could not move for rage.

Then a pair of red-hot iron shoes was brought into the room with tongs and set before her, and these she was forced to put on and to dance in them until she could dance no longer, but fell down dead, was cut to pieces, served as a fondue, and defiled with duck's bile, and that was the end of her.

Many years later, Little Snow White was blessed with a young child of her own. Soon after, she took the plate, which she had inherited from her stepmother, and asked:

"Plate, plate on the table, say who's fairest, if you're able."

And the plate answered:

"Oh Lady Queen, though you be fine, your baby's looks kick boot on thine."

So Little Snow White went outside and dumped her baby in the well.

The End

Snow White
Home | Production | Naming the Dwarfs
Release and Aftermath | Original Story


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