| Snow-White And The Seven Dwarfs |
"I CAN LET in this respectable old woman," thought Snow-white; "she will not harm me." So she unbolted the door, and told her to come in. Oh, how delighted Snow-white was with the pretty things; she bought several trinkets, and a beautiful silk lace for her stays, but she did not see the evil eye of the old woman who was watching her. Presently she said, "Child, come here; I will show you how to lace your stays properly." Snow-white had no suspicion, so she placed herself before the old woman that she might lace her stays. But no sooner was the lace in the holes than she began to lace so fast and pull so tight that Snow-white could not breathe, and presently fell down at her feet as if dead.
"Now you are beautiful indeed," said the woman, and, fancying she heard footsteps, she rushed away as quickly as she could.
Not long after, the seven dwarfs came home, and they were terribly frightened to see dear little Snow-white lying on the ground without motion, as if she were dead. They lifted her up, and saw in a moment that her stays had been laced too tight Quickly they cut the stay-lace in two, till Snow-white began to breathe a little, and after a time was restored to life. But when the dwarfs heard what had happened, they said: "That old market-woman was no other than your wicked stepmother. Snow-white, you must never again let anyone in while we are not with you."
The wicked queen when she returned home, after, as she thought, killing Snow-white, went to her looking-glass and asked:
"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Am I most beautiful of all?"
Then answered the mirror:
"Queen, thou art not the fairest now;
Snow-white over the mountain's brow
A thousand times fairer is than thou."
When she heard this she was so terrified that the blood rushed to her heart, for she knew that after all she had done Snow-white was still alive. "I must think of something else," she said to herself, "to get rid of that odious child."
Now this wicked queen had some knowledge of witchcraft, and she knew how to poison a comb, so that whoever used it would fall dead. This the wicked stepmother soon got ready, and dressing herself again like an old woman, but quite different from the last, she started off to travel over the mountains to the dwarfs' cottage.
When Snow-white heard the old cry, "Goods to sell, fine goods to sell," she looked out of the window and said:
"Go away, go away; I must not let you in."
"Look at this, then," said the woman; "you shall have it for your own if you like," and she held up before the child's eyes the bright tortoise-shell comb which she had poisoned.
Poor Snow-white could not refuse such a present, so she opened the door and let the woman in, quite forgetting the advice of the dwarfs. After she had bought a few things, the old woman said, "Let me try this comb in your hair; it is so fine it will make it beautifully smooth and glossy."
So Snow-white, thinking no wrong, stood before the woman to have her hair dressed; but no sooner had the comb touched the roots of her hair than the poison took effect, and the maiden fell to the ground lifeless.
"You paragon of beauty," said the wicked woman, "all has just happened as I expected," and then she went away quickly.
Fortunately evening soon arrived, and the seven dwarfs returned home. When they saw Snow-white lying dead on the ground, they knew at once that the stepmother had been there again; but on seeing the poisoned comb in her hair they pulled it out quickly, and Snow-white very soon came to herself, and related all that had passed.
Again they warned her not to let anyone enter the house during their absence, and on no account to open the door; but Snow-white was not clever enough to resist her clever wicked stepmother, and she forgot to obey.
The wicked queen felt sure now that she had really killed Snow-white; so as soon as she returned home she went to her looking-glass, and inquired:
"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is most beautiful of all?"
But the mirror replied:
"Queen, thou art the fairest here,
But not when Snow-white is near;
Over the mountains still is she,
Fairer a thousand times than thee."
As the looking-glass thus replied, the queen trembled and quaked with rage. "Snow-white shall die," cried she, "if it costs me my own life!"
Then she went into a lonely forbidden chamber where no one was allowed to come, and poisoned a beautiful apple. Outwardly it looked ripe and tempting, of a pale green with rosy cheeks, so that it made everyone's mouth water to look at it, but whoever ate even a small piece must die.
As soon as this apple was ready, the wicked queen painted her face, disguised her hair, dressed herself as a farmer's wife, and went again over the mountains to the dwarfs' cottage.
When she knocked at the door, Snow-white stretched her head out of the window, and said, "I dare not let you in; the seven dwarfs have forbidden me."