As a welcome back to the blog after a long hiatus, I thought I’d introduce a new series I hope to become a regular on the blog:
My hope is to post something about whatever I’m writing about once a week.
Today, I thought I’d post a snippet of my book.
Well, let me define “snippet”.
In First Laugh: A Fairy Tale, (which is getting an overhaul that I’m really excited about!) the fairy, First Laugh retells the story of Snow White. I had a lot of fun writing my own version of the classic fairy tale, so I thought it would be a fun way to restart blogging.
So here it is, First Laugh’s Snow White:
Once upon a time there was a beautiful Queen who was going to have a princess. As she sat next to an open window making a dress for the princess, she pricked her finger with the needle. She watched a drop of her blood fall onto the pure white snow.
“I pray my daughter will be white as snow, red as blood, and black as the ebony window sill.”
Her wish was granted and the princess was born with skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony. But sadly, the Queen only lived long enough to name her daughter Snow White.
Just a year later, the king remarried. His new wife was beautiful…and she knew it. Her prized possession was a mirror, but not just any mirror. This was a magic mirror. Each morning the Queen would stand in front of it and repeat the magic chant.
“Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”
And the mirror would always answer:
“Thou, oh Queen,
Are the fairest to be seen.”
The Queen gloried in this praise. She was so vain that she didn’t notice that Snow White was growing up to be a great beauty herself. So she was furious when, one day, the Mirror answered back:
“Thou, oh Queen,
Were the fairest to be seen,
But now in your place
Is another with fairer grace.
The daughter of the king
Is now the fairest to be seen.”
The Queen stormed out of her chamber and summoned her huntsman.
“I have a mission for you. Complete it and you will be handsomely rewarded. Take Snow White, daughter of the king, into the woods and kill her. Bring me her heart as proof that you have accomplished this task and I will let you and your family live.”
She dismissed him.
The Huntsman took the princess into the woods, but he couldn’t bring himself to kill the beautiful young princess before him.
“My princess, the Queen has ordered me to kill you.”
The horrified look she gave him pierced his heart.
“But I cannot. However you mustn’t come back to the castle. The Queen will only try again. You must fly! Fly!”
His voice rang out after her as she ran blindly through the woods. She ran and ran. She ran all night. Finally her legs gave way just outside a clearing. She looked through the trees and saw a little house. She made her way to the front door and knocked. When no one answered, she tried the door handle; it was open. She walked in, hoping that someone was there and just hadn’t heard her knocking.
The sight that met her eyes was shocking. The house was a mess! There were socks and jackets hung up all over. The kitchen sink was full of pots and pans.
Snow White searched the downstairs and called, but couldn’t find anyone else.
“Maybe if I clean up, they’ll let me stay.”
She worked hard all morning and by lunch the place was sparkling. She was exhausted and decided to go upstairs. It was just one long room. In two rows were seven small beds. Snow White went to the longer row, pushed the beds together, and lay across the four beds. When she woke the light was filtering through the leaves on the trees right into Snow White’s eyes. But that’s not what made Snow White blink. There were seven little men standing around the beds. Snow White sat up.
“Oh, hello. I hope you don’t mind. I was running all night and I came in and began to clean. Then I just had to rest.”
The oldest looking little man stepped forward.
“We are glad you chose our house.”
The dwarves muttered amongst themselves.
“Excuse me, but are you the princess?”
“Why, yes, I am.”
“We are honored that you are here, but if you don’t mind us asking…why?”
Snow White told the tale of her journey to the cottage. The dwarves were sympathetic and invited her to live at the cottage with them. Excited at the prospect, Snow White eagerly agreed.
The next morning Snow White fixed breakfast for the dwarves. When they left for the mines where they worked, Snow White finished tidying the kitchen.
She gathered an armload of socks that needed darning and sat by the fire to work.
She had finished three pairs when there was a knock on the door. She quickly answered it. An old woman stood on the step with a basket on her arm.
“Hello there, my beauty. Would you like one of these laces? Just a penny.”
She held up a stunning clue lace that perfectly matched the dress she was wearing. But Snow White hesitated. She knew she didn’t have the money for such beautiful laces. As is she read her thought, the old woman spoke up.
“Oh, look how perfectly this lace goes with your dress. Here, you take it. As a gift.”
She pressed the lace into Snow White’s hand.
“Thank you. That’s very kind.”
“Would you like me to put it on for you?”
Snow White accepted and the old woman took out her old lace and threaded the new one in. Snow White glanced down and admired the belt tightening. Her joy turned to concern when the old woman didn’t stop tightening the lace. As she tried to ask her to stop, the world spun and then went black. The old woman watched with satisfaction as Snow White slumped to the floor.
As she slipped out and left through the wood, she transformed from an old woman into the evil Queen.
The dwarves were heading home for lunch. When they stepped into the clearing, they saw their front door opened. Fearing what they would find, they rushed inside.
The youngest dwarf hurried to the girl. Seeing the tight belt he quickly cut the lace. All the dwarves gathered around Snow White.
Much to their relief, Snow White gasped. They helped her to a chair. Concerned they asked what had happened. She explained about the old woman.
“Without a doubt, it was the Queen. She is still determined to kill you. You musn’t let anyone in. We want you to be safe.”
Snow White agreed. Insisting she felt fine, she made lunch for the dwarves. Sending them off again, she cleaned up the kitchen and then sat down to finish the socks. She had just put the last pair away and was in the kitchen starting dinner, when a face appeared at the window. It was a young woman dressed in rags. Pausing, Snow White greeted her.
“May I help you?”
“I have some combs for sale. Would you like to buy one?”
“I’m sorry. I don’t have any money.”
“Well, if you would let me in, maybe I have one that you can have.”
“That’s very kind of you, but I’m not allowed to let people in.”
“Oh, that’s all right. If you just come out, I’ll put the comb in your hair.”
Snow White considered for a minute. The dwarves hadn’t told her not to go outside. And the combs were very pretty.
Snow White stepped outside. The young woman took on of the combs out of her basket and pushed it into Snow White’s hair. A moment later Snow White fainted. The young lady laughed as she disappeared through the clearing and again changed into the evil Queen.
The dwarves had finished their work for the night and returned to find Snow White unconscious in the clearing. The eldest noticed the beautiful comb and quickly pulled it out. Still Snow White didn’t move. They carried her to their beds upstairs and watched her closely.
At long last, her eyes fluttered and she awoke.
Somewhat sternly, the oldest dwarf asked what had happened. Snow White told them of the young woman and her combs.
“Sounds like another trick of the Queen. Snow White, you must promise me that tomorrow you won’t let anyone in the house or leave the house yourself.”
Snow White agreed. The dwarves insisted that she stay in bed while they got dinner and tidied up.
By the next day, Snow White felt as right as dew drops on a buttercup. She got up, fed the dwarves, and sent them on their way. The dwarves warned Snow White not to forget her promise.
The day passed uneventfully. The dwarves came home for lunch and left again. Snow White was setting the table for dinner when she heard a knock on the door. She went to it, but didn’t open it.
“May I help you?”
“I’m selling apples, my dear, would you care for one?”
“No, thank you. I’m not supposed to let anyone in or go out the door myself.”
“Oh, that’s okay. If you will open the window I can hand it to you. They are such lovely apples. Juicy and red.”
The voice moved to the window and Snow White saw the face that went with it. A truly ugly face. Snow White was scared…but those apples really did look delicious…
The hag saw her hesitate and pressed her advantage.
“Deary, there’s nothing to be afraid of. I won’t come in and you don’t have to come out. Here, have a sample.”
The hag cut off a part of the apple and foolishly, Snow White took it. She took one bite and fell to the floor. The hag scurried away as the dwarves came home. They found Snow White, but this time nothing they did could restore her.
As they watched her lying there so peacefully, they realized they couldn’t bury her beautiful face with dirt. They built a glass coffin and placed her in it. They stacked some large stones for a base and put the coffin in the clearing. For almost a month the dwarves kept watch.
One day a prince from a neighboring kingdom stumbled into the clearing. He was immediately captivated by the beauty of the lady who lay in the coffin. He waited for the dwarves to come home. When they arrived in the clearing, the prince hurried forward and introduced himself. The dwarves accepted his introduction, but were wary. After all, the Queen had played so many tricks on them they couldn’t be sure this wasn’t another trick.
“I assure you, I have no association with the Queen of this land. I was on a royal visit to a neighboring country. On our way back, I decided to take this shortcut ahead of my people. They will catch up to me by tomorrow. They can vouchsafe for who I am.”
After listening to his story, the dwarves were inclined to be more friendly to him. Then the Prince made his request.
“When I walked into the clearing I saw the beautiful maiden encased in glass. I want to marry her. When will she awake?”
Sadly, the dwarves told the Prince her story. The Prince was heartbroken that the beautiful maiden would not wake up, but he felt that he couldn’t leave the princess in the woods.
“I will build a house for her coffin in my palace. She will be admired by all who come.”
The dwarves talked amongst themselves. They agreed that letting the prince take Snow White away would be the most honorable thing they could do for her.
The prince stayed with the dwarves for the night, until the rest of his group arrived. The next day they put the coffin on a wagon. Eager to get the beautiful princess back to his palace and honor her, the prince set off right away.
The road to the palace was rough and the coffin was jostled quite a bit. The prince walked behind the wagon to steady the precious cargo. After a particularly bad bump, the prince saw something fall out of the princess’ mouth. Hurriedly he called for the driver to stop the wagon.
Lifting off the glass top of the coffin, the prince reached in and took a piece of apple from her pillow. The princess started breathing steadily. The prince reached his arm under her shoulders and lifted her to help her breath more easily. The princess’ eyes opened.
Snow White smiled into the prince’s face. He gently lifted her out.
And they lived happily ever after.