Snow White

Fictional Character

Born: 1812
Birthplace: Fiction
Best known as: The story princess who befriends seven dwarfs
Snow White is a character from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (originally "Schneewittchen" or "Schneeweissen"), one of the folk tales collected and published by The Brothers Grimm in the early 19th century. In the story she is a king's daughter, a seven year-old whose natural beauty drives her jealous step-mother to attempted murder. The vain queen learns from a magic mirror that little Snow White outranks her as the "fairest in the land." The queen orders her huntsman to kill Snow White in the woods and return with the girl's liver and lungs (in later versions, her heart). Snow White escapes and finds refuge in the home of a group of dwarf miners. While the dwarfs are away at the mines, Snow White is visited by the evil queen in disguise. The queen tries to kill Snow White in three attempts, finally succeeding with a poisoned apple. But Snow White isn't quite dead and the dwarfs stick her in a glass coffin and hold a constant vigil...for years, apparently: when she is resurrected by a handsome prince she is old enough to marry him. At their wedding the evil queen is punished by being forced to dance to death in hot iron slippers. The most popular re-telling of this German folk tale is the Walt Disney animated version, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), in which Snow White is a young woman and the dwarfs have names: Doc, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, Dopey, Grumpy and Sneezy.
Extra credit: The most popular translation of what the queen routinely asks her magic mirror is "Magic mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?"

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