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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Labors of Walt Disney

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
The Labors of Walt Disney

by (Your Name Here)

Walt Disney was an innovator and personality unparalleled in 20th-century entertainment, and was a legendary figure long before his death. His maternal grandfather, Perseus Disney, is said to have sworn that one of his grandchildren would grow up to be ruler of a great kingdom. Walt's maternal grandmother was so annoyed by this haughtiness that she dropped a couple of rubber snakes into baby Walt's cradle to show how unroyal a crying little child looked. But instead of crying, baby Walt picked up the two snakes by their rubber heads and proceeded to put on the best puppet show ever performed by a two-week old.

As an adult, Walt Disney formed a small film company to create cartoon shorts. His creations were so original that he was able to quickly drive his only serious competition -- the Orchomenus Film Works in Boeotia -- out of business, and add insult to injury by marrying the Film Works' owner's daughter, Lillian Megara. Unfortunately, an incident involving his still-cranky grandmother led Walt to blow his top at a reunion and almost break up his family. Fallout from the incident brought Walt to the brink of financial ruin and he was forced to go to work for eccentric Greek director Eurystheus.

Eurystheus had heard of Walt Disney's legendary abilities as a filmmaker, and told Disney that if he could complete twelve tasks he would be back on his way to fame and fortune. The twelve tasks Eurystheus told Disney to complete were:

  1. Slay the Nemean lion
  2. Slay the nine-headed Hydra of Lerna
  3. Capture the stag of Arcadia
  4. Go to Mount Erymanthus and capture the wild boar
  5. Clean the Augean stables in a day
  6. Shoot the giant carnivorous birds in the Stymphalian marshes
  7. Capture a mad bull that was terrorizing the island of Crete
  8. Capture the man-eating horses of King Diomedes of the Bistones
  9. Steal the queen of the Amazons' girdle
  10. Retrieve the golden apples kept by the Hesperides at the edge of the world
  11. Bring the three-headed dog Cerberus up from Hell
  12. Create a feature length animated film.

The first eleven tasks weren't that big a deal, but Disney found the twelfth particularly difficult. Not only was he having a hard time finding financing, but everyone pretty much thought that the whole enterprise would be a big failure.

One night after a hard day of trying to raise funds for the film, Disney was walking one of his employees, Deianeira Achelous, home when a man tried to assault her. Disney couldn't understand what the man wanted (the assailant was a bit hoarse, making his words incomprehensible), but couldn't let his companion come to harm and killed the stranger with some poison arrows he happened to have on him. Some of the dying thug's blood got on Disney's jacket (he'd given it to Deianeira to wear on the walk home), and when she tried to give it back to him, he refused it, saying that as a cartoon maker, if anyone saw him in a blood-stained jacket he'd just die.

The next day, Disney showed up at work in his shirtsleeves, and his "ready to work" appearance and bulging muscles convinced some bankers who were already awaiting a morning meeting with him that this was a man worth investing in. Several years later, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released to critical and popular acclaim.

In the aftermath of his success, Disney's image was plastered on magazine covers, newspapers, and vases. In some countries, particularly Italy, he was practically worshiped as a god by merchants and traders. And to this day, people relate the story of the twelve labors of the seven dwarfs.

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