Once upon a time… there lived an unhappy young girl. Unhappy she was, for her mother was dead, her father had married another woman, a widow with two daughters, and her stepmother didn’t like her one little bit. All the nice things, kind thoughts and loving touches were for her own daughters. And not just the kind thoughts and love, but also dresses, shoes, shawls, delicious food, comfy beds, as well as every home comfort. All this was laid on for her daughters. But, for the poor unhappy girl, there was nothing at all. No dresses, only her stepsisters’ hand-me-downs. No lovely dishes, nothing but scraps. No nice rests and comfort. For she had to work hard all day, and only when evening came was she allowed to sit for a while by the fire, near the cinders. That is how she got her nickname, for everybody called her Cinderella. Cinderella used to spend long hours all alone talking to the cat. The cat said,
«Miaow», which really meant, «Cheer up! You have something neither of your stepsisters have and that is beauty.»
It was quite true. Cindaralla, even dressed in rags with a dusty gray face from the cinders, was a lovely girl. While her stepsisters, no matter how splendid and elegant their clothes, were still clumsy, lumpy and ugly and always would be.
One day, beautiful new dresses arrived at the house. A ball was to be held at Court and the stepsisters were getting ready to go to it. Cinderella, didn’t even dare ask, «What about me?» for she knew very well what the answer to that would be:
«You? My dear girl, you’re staying at home to wash the dishes, scrub the floors and turn down the beds for your stepsisters. They will come home tired and very sleepy.» Cinderella sighed at the cat.
«Oh dear, I’m so unhappy!» and the cat murmured «Miaow».
Suddenly something amazing happened. In the kitchen, where Cinderella was sitting all by herself, there was a burst of light and a fairy appeared.
«Don’t be alarmed, Cinderella,» said the fairy. «The wind blew me your sighs. I know you would love to go to the ball. And so you shall!»
«How can I, dressed in rags?» Cinderella replied. «The servants will turn me away!» The fairy smiled. With a flick of her magic wand… Cinderella found herself wearing the most beautiful dress, the loveliest ever seen in the realm.
«Quick! Get me a pumpkin!» she ordered.
«Oh of course,» said Cinderella, rushing away. Then the fairy turned to the cat.
«You, bring me seven mice!»
«Seven mice!» said the cat. «I didn’t know fairies ate mice too!»
«They’re not for eating, silly! Do as you are told!… and, remember they must be alive!»
Cinderella soon returned with a fine pumpkin and the cat with seven mice he had caught in the cellar.
«Good!» exclaimed the fairy. With a flick of her magic wand… wonder of wonders! The pumpkin turned into a sparkling coach and the mice became six white horses, while the seventh mouse turned into a coachman, in a smart uniform and carrying a whip. Cinderella could hardly believe her eyes.
«I shall present you at Court. You will soon see that the Prince, in whose honor the ball is being held, will be enchanted by your loveliness. But remember! You must leave the ball at midnight and come home. For that is when the spell ends. Your coach will turn back into a pumpkin, the horses will become mice again and the coachman will turn back into a mouse… and you will be dressed again in rags and wearing clogs instead of these dainty little slippers! Do you understand?» Cinderella smiled and said,
«Yes, I understand!»
When Cinderella entered the ballroom at the palace, a hush fell. Everyone stopped in mid-sentence to admire her elegance, her beauty and grace.
«Who can that be?» people asked each other. The two stepsisters also wondered who the newcomer was, for never in a month of Sundays, would they ever have guessed that the beautiful girl was really poor Cinderella who talked to the cat!
When the prince set eyes on Cinderella, he was struck by her beauty. Walking over to her, he bowed deeply and asked her to dance. And to the great disappointment of all the young ladies, he danced with Cinderella all evening.
«Who are you, fair maiden?» the Prince kept asking her. But Cinderella only replied:
«What does it matter who I am! You will never see me again anyway.»
«Oh, but I shall, I’m quite certain!» he replied.
Cinderella had a wonderful time at the ball… But, all of a sudden, she heard the sound of a clock: the first stroke of midnight! She remembered what the fairy had said, and without a word of goodbye she slipped from the Prince’s arms and ran down the steps. As she ran she lost one of her slippers, but not for a moment did she dream of stopping to pick it up! If the last stroke of midnight were to sound… oh… what a disaster that would be! Out she fled and vanished into the night.
The Prince, who was now madly in love with her, picked up her slipper and said to his ministers,
«Go and search everywhere for the girl whose foot this slipper fits. I will never be content until I find her!» So the ministers tried the slipper on the foot of all the girls… and on Cinderella’s foot as well… Surprise! The slipper fitted perfectly.
«That awful untidy girl simply cannot have been at the ball,» snapped the stepmother. «Tell the Prince he ought to marry one of my two daughters! Can’t you see how ugly Cinderella is! Can’t you see?»
Suddenly she broke off, for the fairy had appeared.
«That’s enough!» she exclaimed, raising her magic wand. In a flash, Cinderella appeared in a splendid dress, shining with youth and beauty. Her stepmother and stepsisters gaped at her in amazement, and the ministers said,
«Come with us, fair maiden! The Prince awaits to present you with his engagement ring!» So Cinderella joyfully went with them, and lived happily ever after with her Prince. And as for the cat, he just said «Miaow»!
A long time ago there were a king and queen who were unhappy because they were childless. But it happened that once when the queen was bathing, a frog crept out of the water on to the land, and said to her, «Your wish shall be fulfilled, before a year has gone by, you shall have a daughter.»
What the frog had said came true, and the queen had a little girl who was so pretty that the king could not contain himself for joy, and ordered a great feast. He invited not only his kindred, friends and acquaintances, but also the wise women, in order that they might be kind and well disposed towards the child. There were thirteen of them in his kingdom, but, as he had only twelve golden plates for them to eat out of, one of them had to be left at home.
The feast was held with all manner of splendor and when it came to an end the wise women bestowed their magic gifts upon the baby – one gave virtue, another beauty, a third riches, and so on with everything in the world that one can wish for.
When eleven of them had made their promises, suddenly the thirteenth came in. She wished to avenge herself for not having been invited, and without greeting, or even looking at anyone, she cried with a loud voice, «The king’s daughter shall in her fifteenth year prick herself with a spindle, and fall down dead.» And, without saying a word more, she turned round and left the room.
They were all shocked, but the twelfth, whose good wish still remained unspoken, came forward, and as she could not undo the evil sentence, but only soften it, she said, it shall not be death, but a deep sleep of a hundred years, into which the princess shall fall.
The king, who would fain keep his dear child from the misfortune, gave orders that every spindle in the whole kingdom should be burnt. Meanwhile the gifts of the wise women were plenteously fulfilled on the young girl, for she was so beautiful, modest, good-natured, and wise, that everyone who saw her was bound to love her.
It happened that on the very day when she was fifteen years old, the king and queen were not at home, and the maiden was left in the palace quite alone. So she went round into all sorts of places, looked into rooms and bed-chambers just as she liked, and at last came to an old tower. She climbed up the narrow winding staircase, and reached a little door. A rusty key was in the lock, and when she turned it the door sprang open, and there in a little room sat an old woman with a spindle, busily spinning her flax.
«Good day, old mother,» said the king’s daughter, «what are you doing there?»
«I am spinning,» said the old woman, and nodded her head.
«What sort of thing is that, that rattles round so merrily,» said the girl, and she took the spindle and wanted to spin too. But scarcely had she touched the spindle when the magic decree was fulfilled, and she pricked her finger with it.
And, in the very moment when she felt the prick, she fell down upon the bed that stood there, and lay in a deep sleep. And this sleep extended over the whole palace, the king and queen who had just come home, and had entered the great hall, began to go to sleep, and the whole of the court with them. The horses, too, went to sleep in the stable, the dogs in the yard, the pigeons upon the roof, the flies on the wall, even the fire that was flaming on the hearth became quiet and slept, the roast meat left off frizzling, and the cook, who was just going to pull the hair of the scullery boy, because he had forgotten something, let him go, and went to sleep. And the wind fell, and on the trees before the castle not a leaf moved again.
But round about the castle there began to grow a hedge of thorns, which every year became higher, and at last grew close up round the castle and all over it, so that there was nothing of it to be seen, not even the flag upon the roof. But the story of the beautiful sleeping Briar Rose, for so the princess was named, went about the country, so that from time to time kings’ sons came and tried to get through the thorny hedge into the castle. But they found it impossible, for the thorns held fast together, as if they had hands, and the youths were caught in them, could not get loose again, and died a miserable death.
After long, long years a king’s son came again to that country, and heard an old man talking about the thorn hedge, and that a castle was said to stand behind it in which a wonderfully beautiful princess, named Briar Rose, had been asleep for a hundred years, and that the king and queen and the whole court were asleep likewise. He had heard, too, from his grandfather, that many kings, sons had already come, and had tried to get through the thorny hedge, but they had remained sticking fast in it, and had died a pitiful death.
Then the youth said, «I am not afraid, I will go and see the beautiful Briar Rose.» The good old man might dissuade him as he would, he did not listen to his words.
But by this time the hundred years had just passed, and the day had come when Briar Rose was to awake again. When the king’s son came near to the thorn hedge, it was nothing but large and beautiful flowers, which parted from each other of their own accord, and let him pass unhurt, then they closed again behind him like a hedge. In the castle yard he saw the horses and the spotted hounds lying asleep, on the roof sat the pigeons with their heads under their wings. And when he entered the house, the flies were asleep upon the wall, the cook in the kitchen was still holding out his hand to seize the boy, and the maid was sitting by the black hen which she was going to pluck.
He went on farther, and in the great hall he saw the whole of the court lying asleep, and up by the throne lay the king and queen. Then he went on still farther, and all was so quiet that a breath could be heard, and at last he came to the tower, and opened the door into the little room where Briar Rose was sleeping.
There she lay, so beautiful that he could not turn his eyes away, and he stooped down and gave her a kiss. But as soon as he kissed her, Briar Rose opened her eyes and awoke, and looked at him quite sweetly.
Then they went down together, and the king awoke, and the queen, and the whole court, and looked at each other in great astonishment. And the horses in the courtyard stood up and shook themselves, the hounds jumped up and wagged their tails, the pigeons upon the roof pulled out their heads from under their wings, looked round, and flew into the open country, the flies on the wall crept again, the fire in the kitchen burned up and flickered and cooked the meat, the joint began to turn and sizzle again, and the cook gave the boy such a box on the ear that he screamed, and the maid finished plucking the fowl.
And then the marriage of the king’s son with Briar Rose was celebrated with all splendor, and they lived contented to the end of their days.
Beauty and The Beast
Once upon a time as a merchant set off for market, he asked each of his three daughters what she would like as a present on his return. The first daughter wanted a brocade dress, the second a pearl necklace, but the third, whose name was Beauty, the youngest, prettiest and sweetest of them all, said to her father:
«All I’d like is a rose you’ve picked specially for me!»
When the merchant had finished his business, he set off for home. However, a sudden storm blew up, and his horse could hardly make headway in the howling gale. Cold and weary, the merchant had lost all hope of reaching an inn when he suddenly noticed a bright light shining in the middle of a wood. As he drew near, he saw that it was a castle, bathed in light.
«I hope I’ll find shelter there for the night,» he said to himself. When he reached the door, he saw it was open, but though he shouted, nobody came to greet him. Plucking up courage, he went inside, still calling out to attract attention. On a table in the main hall, a splendid dinner lay already served. The merchant lingered, still shouting for the owner of the castle. But no one
came, and so the starving merchant sat down to a hearty meal.
Overcome by curiosity, he ventured upstairs, where the corridor led into magnificent rooms and halls. A fire crackled in the first room and a soft bed looked very inviting. It was now late, and the merchant could not resist. He lay down on the bed and fell fast asleep. When he woke next morning, an unknown hand had placed a mug of steaming coffee and some fruit by his bedside.
The merchant had breakfast and after tidying himself up, went downstairs to thank his generous host. But, as on the evening before, there was nobody in sight. Shaking his head in wonder at the strangeness of it all, he went towards the garden where he had left his horse, tethered to a tree. Suddenly, a large rose bush caught his eye.
Remembering his promise to Beauty, he bent down to pick a rose. Instantly, out of the rose garden, sprang a horrible beast, wearing splendid clothes. Two bloodshot eyes, gleaming angrily, glared at him and a deep, terrifying voice growled: «Ungrateful man! I gave you shelter, you ate at my table and slept in my own bed, but now all the thanks I get is the theft of my favorite flowers! I shall put you to death for this slight!» Trembling with fear, the merchant fell on his knees before the Beast.
«Forgive me! Forgive me! Don’t kill me! I’ll do anything you say! The rose wasn’t for me, it was for my daughter Beauty. I promised to bring her back a rose from my journey!» The Beast dropped the paw it had clamped on the unhappy merchant.
«I shall spare your life, but on one condition, that you bring me your daughter!» The terror-stricken merchant, faced with certain death if he did not obey, promised that he would do so. When he reached home in tears, his three daughters ran to greet him. After he had told them of his dreadful adventure, Beauty put his mind at rest immediately.
«Dear father, I’d do anything for you! Don’t worry, you’ll be able to keep your promise and save your life! Take me to the castle. I’ll stay there in your place!» The merchant hugged his daughter.
«I never did doubt your love for me. For the moment I can only thank you for saving my life.» So Beauty was led to the castle. The Beast, however, had quite an unexpected greeting for the girl. Instead of menacing doom as it had done with her father, it was surprisingly pleasant.
In the beginning, Beauty was frightened of the Beast, and shuddered at the sight of it. Then she found that, in spite of the monster’s awful head, her horror of it was gradually fading as time went by. She had one of the finest rooms in the Castle, and sat for hours, embroidering in front of the fire. And the Beast would sit, for hours on end, only a short distance away, silently gazing at her. Then it started to say a few kind words, till in the end, Beauty was amazed to discover that she was actually enjoying its conversation. The days passed, and Beauty and the Beast became good friends. Then one day, the Beast asked the girl to be his wife.
Taken by surprise, Beauty did not know what to say. Marry such an ugly monster? She would rather die! But she did not want to hurt the feelings of one who, after all, had been kind to her. And she remembered too that she owed it her own life as well as her father’s.
«I really can’t say yes,» she began shakily. «I’d so much like to…» The Beast interrupted her with an abrupt gesture.
«I quite understand! And I’m not offended by your refusal!» Life went on as usual, and nothing further was said. One day, the Beast presented Beauty with a magnificent magic mirror. When Beauty peeped into it, she could see her family, far away.
«You won’t feel so lonely now,» were the words that accompanied the gift. Beauty stared for hours at her distant family. Then she began to feel worried. One day, the Beast found her weeping beside the magic mirror.
«What’s wrong?» he asked, kindly as always.
«My father is gravely ill and close to dying! Oh, how I wish I could see him again, before it’s too late!» But the Beast only shook its head.
«No! You will never leave this castle!» And off it stalked in a rage. However, a little later, it returned and spoke solemnly to the girl.
«If you swear that you will return here in seven days time, I’ll let you go and visit your father!» Beauty threw herself at the Beast’s feet in delight.
«I swear! I swear I will! How kind you are! You’ve made a loving daughter so happy!» In reality, the merchant had fallen ill from a broken heart at knowing his daughter was being kept prisoner. When he embraced her again, he was soon on the road to recovery. Beauty stayed beside him for hours on end, describing her life at the Castle, and explaining that the Beast was really
good and kind. The days flashed past, and at last the merchant was able to leave his bed. He was completely well again. Beauty was happy at last. However, she had failed to notice that seven days had gone by.
Then one night she woke from a terrible nightmare. She had dreamt that the Beast was dying and calling for her, twisting in agony.
«Come back! Come back to me!» it was pleading. The solemn promise she had made drove her to leave home immediately.
«Hurry! Hurry, good horse!» she said, whipping her steed onwards towards the castle, afraid that she might arrive too late. She rushed up the stairs, calling, but there was no reply. Her heart in her mouth, Beauty ran into the garden and there crouched the Beast, its eyes shut, as though dead. Beauty threw herself at it and hugged it tightly.
«Don’t die! Don’t die! I’ll marry you . . .» At these words, a miracle took place. The Beast’s ugly snout turned magically into the face of a handsome young man.
«How I’ve been longing for this moment!» he said. «I was suffering in silence, and couldn’t tell my frightful secret. An evil witch turned me into a monster and only the love of a maiden willing to accept me as I was, could transform me back into my real self. My dearest! I’ll be so happy if you’ll marry me.»
The wedding took place shortly after and, from that day on, the young Prince would have nothing but roses in his gardens. And that’s why, to this day, the castle is known as the Castle of the Rose.
There was once a couple who had long in vain wished for a child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire. They had a little window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of beautiful flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the woman was standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion – rapunzel, and it looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, and had the greatest desire to eat some. This desire increased every day, and as she knew that she could not get any of it, she quite pined away, and began to look pale and miserable. Her husband was alarmed, and asked, «what makes you sad, dear wife.» «Ah», she replied, «if I can’t eat some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, I shall die». The man, who loved her, thought, sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will. At twilight, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily. It tasted so good to her – so very good, that the next day she longed for it three times as much as before. If he was to have any rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden. In the gloom of evening, therefore, he let himself down again. But when he had clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the enchantress standing before him. «How dare you», said she with angry look, «descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief. You shall suffer for it». He answered, «let mercy take the place of justice, I only made up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she would have died if she had not got some to eat». Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and said to him, if the case be as you say, I will allow you to take away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring into the world. It shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a mother. The man in his terror consented to everything, and when the woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her. Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun.
When she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself beneath it and cried, «Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair to me».
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the king’s son rode through the forest and passed by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so charming that he stood still and listened. This was
Rapunzel, who in her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The king’s son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower, but none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so deeply touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest and listened to it. Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried,
«If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I too will try my fortune». thought he, and the next day when it began to grow dark, he went to the tower and cried, «Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair». Immediately the hair fell down and the king’s son climbed up. At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as her eyes had never yet beheld, came to her. But the king’s son began to talk to her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her. Then rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought, he will love me more than old dame gothic does. And she said yes, and laid her hand in his. She said, I will willingly go away with you, but I do not know how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk every time that you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready I will descend, and you will take me on your horse. They agreed that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once Rapunzel said to her, tell me, how it happens that you are so much heavier for me to draw up than the young king’s son – he is with me in a moment. Ah. You wicked child, cried the enchantress. What do I hear you say. I thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you have deceived me. In her anger she clutched rapunzel’s beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of scissors with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut off, and the lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she took poor rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great grief and misery.
On the same day that she cast out rapunzel, however, the enchantress fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off, to the hook of the window, and when the king’s son came and cried, rapunzel, rapunzel, let down your hair, she let the hair down. The king’s son ascended, but instead of finding his dearest rapunzel, he found the enchantress, who gazed at him with wicked and venomous looks. Aha, she cried mockingly, you would fetch your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest. The cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is lost to you. You will never see her again. The king’s son was beside himself with pain, and in his despair he leapt down from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes. Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but roots and berries, and did naught but lament and weep over the loss of his dear wife. Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at length came to the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins to which she had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness. He heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it, and when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept. Two of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear again, and he could see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and contented.
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. Then, 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 a tree.
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 an idea.
«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! KNOCK!
«Who’s there?» she called suspiciously, remembering the dwarfs advice.
«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!» Then 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 use.
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.