I really love the tale of Snow White and Rose Red. It's one of my favorites although it doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you think about it too long. There's some plot holes that didn't get filled in at the end. Maybe that's why I love it. I always think about all the "what if ".
This is not the Snow White who the huntsman let escape. This is a completely different Snow White. Sometimes, the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is called Snow Drop instead to avoid confusion.
If you'd like you can read Snow White and Rose Red here. Or I'll just sum it up.
A widow with two daughters lived in the forest. She had two rose trees, one with white roses, the other with red. The daughters are Snow White and Rose Red. They're very different, as Snow prefers to stay at home and help her mother out, while Rose likes to run around outdoors. Despite their differences though the two girls are inseparable, and love each other very much. To top it off, they are the very essence of pure innocence and goodness.
One cold winter night, there's a scraping knock on the door. A bear stands outside and asks if he may warm himself by the fire. The girls are scared, but the mother saw that he was a good bear and allowed him entrance. The bear lay by the fire and the girls soon got used to him. They played with him and pulled on his fur and. . . beat him with sticks? I don't know why. But that's what it says. Anyhow, the bear didn't mind, although if they got to rough with him he would ask them to be more gentle. And they were. Of course. Because they are good and pure and all that rot. Anyhow every night, the bear would come to stay with them. Yet when spring arrived, the bear told them he must leave to watch over his treasure. They were all very sad, especially Snow. (Yet none of them wondered why a bear would need treasure?)
But when he left, a tuft of his fur caught on the door post and Snow thought she had seen glittering gold underneath. Yet of course, that's all rubbish. Whoever heard of a bear made of gold?
Not many days later, the girls were out in the forest attending to their chores. They found a dwarf with his beard caught in a tree. He tried to free himself with such ferocity but nothing would give. They tried to help him and still he was stuck fast. When they offered to find help, he called them senseless. Which may have been true, as it seems they had a pair of sewing scissors with them. They finally remembered this and said he'd be free quite soon now.
They trimmed his beard. Did you hear me? They trimmed a dwarf's beard! Although it was all to save his life, so under such circumstances it should've been overlooked.
The dwarf was of a different opinion. Such uncivil manners! Trimming a dwarf's beard! Who does a thing like that? He grabbed his bag of gold and cursed them as he disappeared.
Another day, they found their little dwarf friend a second time with his beard tangled in with his fishing line. Unfortunately, his fishing line actually had a fish on the end of it. They tried to free him so he wouldn't drown, but the only way to save him was trim his beard once again. It did seem to be causing him much pain as of late. If he only kept it trimmed better, perhaps he wouldn't find himself in such ludicrous predicaments. So out came the scissors, and the dwarf cursed them again as he left with a sack of pearls. (Who takes a bag of pearls on a fishing trip?)
A couple days later, the girls met him a third time. An eagle had caught up the dwarf and the girls wrestled the little folk free from the fowl. (His beard must have been to short by now to have anything to do with this new peril.) Thankfully, there's was no trimming of the beard involved. But my! Dwarves do not take kindly to having their coats dirtied during a rescue mission. The dwarf grumbled his way off with a sack of precious stones.
Later that day, they found him examining his stones and he whined at them for gawking. (I'm getting the suspicion that he's not a kid person.) A growling bear ran out of the woods just then. The dwarf plead for his life and insisted that the girls would make a better meal then himself. The girls were to smart to hang around and plead. They just ran and hid.
The bear killed the dwarf with one blow of his paw.
The bear called to the girls and they recognized him as their bear. His bearskin fell away and underneath was a prince. He told them that the dwarf had stolen his treasure and he had been cursed to wander as a bear until the dwarf died. Snow married the prince and Rose married his brother. Their mother came to live with them and she replanted the rose trees in the castle garden.
Ideally, they lived happily ever after. Because if you're pure and innocent, and rescue ungrateful dwarves, you get a happily ever after.
With a bear prince (or his brother).
What I've thought about this story
-- The story seems to dwell on the rose trees a lot. But they really have nothing to do with the plot. I'm not really sure why they're mentioned at all. I suppose it was meant as a representation of Snow and Rose, but it didn't run very deep on a symbolic level. The trees were just kinda there.
-- Why in the world was the bear golden underneath his fur? Just what?
-- I never quite understood why the prince was cursed, or how, or anything really. We're kept in the dark about the details. Basically, we just have to accept that he's a prince who was cursed to be a bear. Oh, and the treasure the dwarf had been toting around was actually the prince's.
(I like this one. He's big brotherly in this one.)
-- Another thing. Since the dwarf's death would release the prince from his curse, the girls' aid to the dwarf actually prolonged the prince's cursed state. (Am I making sense or talking in circles?) It seemed as if all of nature was trying to free the prince by attacking the dwarf? But the girls just kept getting in the way? That's not exactly a good moral. Even today, I still read stories and watch movies where they portray the girl making things worse whenever she tries to help the hero save the day. That makes me furious.
-- Unless the moral had something to do with viewing even your enemies as fellowmen in need of help? Like the whole hero helping the villain kind of thing. The girls didn't know that the dwarf was an enemy to a friend of theirs. But the dwarf was really rude and mean to the girls, and they still chose to help him.
-- One of the things I do love about this fairytale is that the sisters and the mother really do love each. Most fairytale families are fractured and there's envy between the siblings or hatred emanating from a parent. Yet in this tale, the family loves each other and gets along well. Yay, for sister relationships!
Despite its flaws, I really like this story for some reason. Also, with all its open-endedness, I think this is one that I'd love to write a retelling of one day.
This is my favorite image of them.
What do you think? Have you heard this story before?