Would you like to read my version of the well-known tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”? Enjoy and please have a look at the rationale below.
Revision of Little Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Once upon a time, it was winter when the mother of the dwarf family living in a dwarf village which is surrounded by a huge forest, set in front of a window, sewing. She was looking out of the window at the brilliant snow when she pricked her finger with the needle. Three drops of blood fell upon the snow, meanwhile the mother of six dwarfs thought that:
“I wish I could have a baby girl as white as snow, as red as blood, and as short as her blissful siblings.”
Shortly after, she had a daughter. She was nearly dying while giving birth, but fortunately she didn’t. However she was very depressed because her daughter was neither red, nor white, but short. She was a black dwarf. Consequently, the mother cursed her luck, and in spite of her blackness, she called her “Snow White”, hoping that someday she could transform into a real Snow White. While her species were looking at her in amazement and terror, they agreed to accept her as she was. They sat all day long in the house, doing nothing but taking care of her. They were afraid that nearby dwarf neighborhoods would recognize this strange being, and when Snow White gets older and becomes a real girl, they thought that she would never get married because of her weirdness. Meanwhile, it was late at night when a bat which was as black as Snow White, saw her through the window. He was also surprised at what he saw and immediately rushed into the Queen’s palace. When he told the Queen about Snow White, she said:
“Hahahahaha! A black dwarf? Why do tell me such nonsense? Is there any chance that she can ever challenge my beauty?
“No, I guess” replied the bat, who was assigned to report all new born girls to the Queen so that she may be aware if her beauty will be challenged or not.
“Then why bother? Come on, let’s try the looking-glass method. Looking-glass, looking-glass on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?”
The looking-glass answered: “You are the fairest of all, my Queen”.
Snow White was growing up and as the years passed, she became surprisingly more and more beautiful. Her mother didn’t let her go out but everyone in the village came to see her beauty through the window in amazement. One day the Queen looked at herself through the looking-glass and asked:
“Looking-glass, looking-glass on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?”
“You are the fairer than all who are here, Lady Queen.
But more beautiful still is Snow-White, as I ween.”
Then the Queen was shocked, from that hour whenever she looked at Snow-White, her heart heaved in her breast and she hated the girl so much. She cried;
“How is it possible for Snow White to become more beautiful than me? She is not only dwarf but also black! And actually she is not “Snow-White” literally, and that’s also problematic!” Then she ordered her huntsmen to go find and kill Snow White and bring her heart back as a proof.
On the other hand, his family had never let Snow White go out so all she did was to look out the window and see other dwarfs chatting and joking with one another. Dwarfs were not used to working, all day long they were drinking wine and at nights they were usually making love to their sweetheart dwarfs. Snow White’s mother was worried because she was seven years old and not only she hasn’t turned white yet but also it was already the time for her to get married. According to the dwarf law, a seven year old girl reaches the peak of her beauty and should be making love. But Snow White was black, and although she was very beautiful, no men and women approached her or touched her black skin. It was later decided that Snow White can no longer live in the village because nobody would ever love her. So the chief of the dwarf community decided her execution. Snow White heard this decision and got very upset. She decided to leave her home for the first time in her life. After she ran away, dwarfs sent their huntsmen to kill her and bring her heart back as proof.
By the way Snow White has already disappeared in the forest. Two days passed and she was still in the forest, and the two huntsmen were still in search of her. In the third day, she was starving, went to a riverside and drank some water. She was about to faint and fell into the river when the two huntsmen found her. They put her aside and came face to face. They both needed Snow White’s heart. It was vital. They had to fight for it. The tall huntsman defeated the dwarf huntsmen, killed Snow White and took her heart. Then the dwarf huntsman came up with a brilliant idea, he killed a boar and took out its heart. They both returned to their villages victorious and proud. At the same time, yet unaware of her huntsman’s succession, the Queen asked:
“Looking-glass, looking-glass on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?”
The looking-glass answered:
“You are the fairest of all, my Queen”.
However, while the Queen’s huntsman was on his way to the palace, a King’s thirsty son arrived at the riverside and saw Snow White lying dead. He fell in love with her not because he was a necrophilic but because she was the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen in his entire life. He was eleven years old, by the way. The King’s son held Snow White and carried her and suddenly Snow White began to breathe deeply. “Oh, heavens.” She cried. “Where am I?” The King’s son, full of joy, said “you are with me and I love you more than everything in the world, come with me to my father’s palace, you shall be my wife because the age required for marriage in our state for women is minimum seven years according to law.” Besides, the King’s son suggested sharing his heart with Snow White so that she would fully perform her vital biological activities besides their love which would make them live happily ever after.
In the meantime the Queen’s huntsman has arrived at the palace. The Queen saw Snow White’s heart, and ordered her professional cook to service it with champagne. Afterwards the service was ready and the Queen set on her fabulous dining table, with her looking-glass in front of her. She said:
“Looking-glass, looking-glass on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?” She ate a bit from Snow White’s baked heart.
“Oh, Queen, of all here the fairest are you,
But the young Queen is fairer by far as I trow.”
After these shocking words, Queen vomited immediately, she was not uneasy with this because Snow White’s heart was not that much delicious. So she would puke anyway. In the meantime, she threw away the mirror and it was broken. The king’s son has invited the Queen and her husband, but they couldn’t make it to the wedding. They rejected the opportunity of integration and communication because they were political rivals of each other. Later the Queen couldn’t make it anymore without her looking-glass, and committed suicide. In the meantime, Snow White and the King’s son lived happily forever.
The revision shares characters in common with Grimm’s version of the tale, such as little snow white, seven dwarfs, the Queen, the King’s son and the huntsman. In this revision, my intention was to write a fairy tale in which I would be able to stay critical to certain points presented in the original fairy tale. In doing so, first of all I tried to emphasize the notion of race. Little Snow White is born in a dwarf family. And unlike the original fairy tale, she is black. In fairy tales that I’ve read since, all characters are white, maybe it is because most of those fairy tales were written in Europe, under white hegemony. Their imagination is just white. Therefore I intended to revise this tale accordingly so that the readers may be encouraged to imagine a fairy tale in which there is a black girl amongst the whites. Secondly, when I was a child and heard this fairy tale, I was very interested in the lifestyle of the dwarfs and I thought that in daily life, dwarfs were actually living like this.
It was much later that I found out this is not the case. In this respect, the representation of dwarfs in the fairy tale is very problematic. According to Bruno Bettelheim (in “The Uses of Enchantment”) it is unfortunate to represent dwarfs as beings who fail to develop into mature humanity. In addition to what Bettelheim points at, the fairy tale makes it clear that dwarfs are “de-sexualized” beings. They don’t involve in sexual relations whatsoever. All dwarfs are male, there are no female dwarfs. They all nearly look the same and are “standardized” in terms of physical appearance. In this revision, dwarfs in some parts are represented as “bad people”; they send their huntsman to kill little Snow-White. On the contrary, in Grimm’s fairy tale, dwarfs were absolute kind-hearted people. In their homes, they don’t possess such kind of a “family” structure; no mother, no father. They live in the forest isolated, with no other people nearby. Besides, they do nothing but work; they don’t have leisure times or hobbies. In this sense, my intention was to reverse these representations.
At this point, I was influenced by Tanith Lee’s Wolfland, in which she played with some of the established meanings on gender. In my revision, Snow White neither belongs to an upper class of society nor aristocracy. She is a black dwarf, and a beautiful one. Not only white girls are beautiful. The village of dwarfs has rules, traditions and laws especially on marriages. When the little girls come to the age of seven, they enjoy the peak of their beauty and have to get married. This is absolutely not something that I long for in contemporary society, I just wanted to make fun of it because in Grimm’s version of the tale, Snow White is only seven years old when the events begin to happen around her “sexuality”. Surely, Freud had found out that children are sexual beings but this fairy tale proposes this fact in order not to teach Freudian psychoanalysis to young minds but to simply entertain them with a story at the end which suggests a parable. This is a contradiction, and what I intended, by using elements of satire like Saxton did in her poem, stay critical to this. Grimm’s tale actually announces Snow White’s beginning to a sexual competition with the Queen.
Lastly, at the end of this revised story, the Queen doesn’t go to Snow White’s wedding. Politics in Grimm’s tale is problematic. Two Kings and Queens rule in a forest basically. So they should be rivals, and the Queen is right not to attend Snow-White’s wedding. She would rather sit at home, and die in there, instead of a dance hall, with a totally irrelevant style of death.