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Snow White and Narcissus

by baranaxoy

Dear reader, you have most likely read the tale of Snow White. However, few people know that the most common, traditional version does not reflect the reality. Now, what we will tell here may sound unreal, nevertheless, they are, indeed, the genuine facts. We assure you that the story told below reflects the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

In bygone days, a Queen and her Consort lived happily, ruling over a vast realm, expanding upon the frigid mountains, the bloomy plains, and the everlasting shores whence sailed ships carrying gems and clothes. The Queen being busy with state affairs, the Consort often wandered among the commons to hear the voice of the ones who sought help, thereby gaining the love and affection of all the subjects of the queendom.

One gloomy night, whilst the nature, the animals, the stars and the ghost of the night were all in their most profound state of sleep, leaving their place to the ruthless winds and snow of the winter, the queenly couple was awake, discussing to whom this earthly realm would be bequeathed, should they enter eternal rest. In the meantime, the Consort had also begun to sew a nightgown at the open window, when a needle pricked the finger and three drops of blood fell on the snow that had started to cover the windowsill.

“Oh, the Ghost of winter, I wish you bestowed upon me and my wife, a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony”, said the Consort.

Nine months had just passed that a child that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony was born. They named her Snow White. The entire realm came to see this unbelievable child. Only her smile was enough to brighten a room. A baby as pretty as Snow White was never seen before. The couple’s lives were lit up by the birth of a miracle. Alas, passing away shortly thereafter, it is a great woe that the Consort was not lucky enough to see with earthly eyes the upbringing of this wonder. Sorrow had befallen the entire land. The trees wept, the mice wept, the wind wept and the Queen wept. Nothing could bring gaiety back to the realm; or, so thought everyone.

Three years later, the Queen married again. She married a man!The young man had been distinguished among the knights of Her Majesty for being one of the sole men that had the chance to become one of them. He was of great intellect. Such a vast knowledge was unparalleled. In addition to that, one could qualify him as handsome – though handsome is a relative term and no clear qualifications shall be needed to be so. His name was Narcissus. Notwithstanding his wit and looks, he was vain and wicked, and practiced wizardry. Among his possessions figured, an enchanted mirror endowed with the ability to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Every morning, after looking at his six-pack abs and pumped biceps for an unmeasurable timespan, Narcissus sought the answer to one single question:

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best-looking one of all?” And Narcissus was always pleased by the answer.

As time went by, however, the Queen died as well, and Narcissus became the Regent, on behalf of Snow White who was growing more and more beautiful; so beautiful that birds were singing songs about her beauty. Every household in the realm was talking about her. Albeit Snow White’s body shape and weight defied the common prejudices, it was her heart and her kindness that truly made pretty. She brought help to needy homes and she spoke to be the voice of the unheard.

Hence, one day came and the looking glass’ response did anything but to please Narcissus. Thus, spoke the mirror… Deeply shaken by the words his ears had heard, Narcissus became envious and from that moment on, his heart turned against the princess, whom he increasingly grew to despise with time. He cast spells and curses but none could do any harm to her. Seeing that dark magic was not powerful enough, Narcissus ordered a huntsman to take the princess to the woods and put an end to her life, and, as proof that Snow White succumbed, Narcissus had demanded that her heart, which he would consume in order to become immortal, be returned by the huntsman.

The huntsman obeyed and led the child out into the woods. It was dark and eerie. Just as he had drawn his hunting knife and was about to stab Snow White in her innocent heart, she got hold of a stone and threw it to the huntsman’s head, playing for time to run away. How foolish of a man was this huntsman! Had he really thought that it would be so easy to get rid of a strong girl?

The huntsman understanding that he would not be able to catch her again, said:

"Flee then, child, the wild animals will soon have eaten you up” but even so, he felt as if a stone had been lifted from his heart because he didn't need to take her life. Meanwhile, as a young deer came leaping by just at that moment, he stabbed him, took out his heart, and took it to the vain man as a token. The cook was commanded to stew them in salt, and the wicked man ate it up, imagining it was Snow White's pure heart he had eaten.

There, the miserable girl was all alone among the wild beasts, and she was so terrified that she stared at the trees and owls, not knowing what to do. She ran. She ran because she did not know where to go. She ran. She ran over the sharp rocks and through the spikes while the savage creatures vaulted past her. She ran. She ran for as long as her weary feet could bear her weight. She ran. She ran until she noticed a teeny-weeny house that stood amid the high-rising trees. She knocked. No one seemed to answer. She knocked again. Nothing. The young girl was, however, drained; she needed to rest. Hence, Snow White went inside.

All the objects in the tiny house was, not surprisingly, tiny. It is, nonetheless, not possible to tell how clean and neat was everything. A little table full of dishes, with a white cloth laid with seven little plates, with seven miniature forks and knives, each with its wee spoon and Lilliputian cup, stood in the midst of the room. Against the wall, there were seven little beds organized side by side and covered with snow-white sheets. Since the princess was starving and thirsty, she ate some bread and vegetables from each little plate, and drank a drop of milk from each cup. Afterwards, she lay down on one of the beds, but none was big enough for her. Hence, she decided to lie down across the seven beds, and fell instantly asleep.

As it grew quite dark and evening came, the owners of the hut arrived. They were seven dwarves who dug for gems in the mines of the high mountains. They lit their seven tiny lanterns and noticed that something odd had happened inside their home. Somebody had broken into their house! The first one said:

“Who sat on my chair?”

“Who has taken some of my bread?” said the other.

“Who has been eating from my plate?”

“Tell me! Who ate my vegetables? I am asking once!” said the grumpiest one.

“My fork! Who used my fork?” cried one of them.

“Who has been using my knife?”

“Stop! More importantly, who is the girl lying on our beds?” exclaimed the eldest. Then, he called the others, who came running up, and they cried out in amazement. They fetched their seven little lanterns and threw their light on Snow White.

“Leave it to me, I will handle the situation” muttered the grumpy one, Grumpy – that was his name, and then started to poke the girl until she woke up.

“Ma’am, this is private property, and you have been trespassing the whole time. Now, before I call the knights, leave our house, at once.”

"Oh, good Lord! Good Lord! This is not any person; it is the princess, the kindest person on Earth, and Grumpy, you just disrespected Her Royal Highness,” uttered the eldest one, Maurice, noticing that the girl was no other than Snow White.

Then she told them the story of how her stepfather had wanted to have her killed, but she had escaped the senseless huntsman and then she had run and run all day long until at last she had found their little hut. Understanding their mistake, the dwarves decided to let Snow White stay with them as long as she needed, with only one condition:

"If you will keep house for us, cook and make the beds, wash and sew and knit, and if you will keep everything tidy and clean, you can stay with us and you shall lack for nothing."

“I am sorry, what? Do we live in a patriarchal society? I remind you gentlemen that this a queendom. The fact that I am a female human being does not mean that I am predestined to do the chores. I might as well come to the mines with you. Who says I can’t”

“Fair”, they exclaimed all together, and so, in the mornings they went out into the mountains in search of ore and gold. On Fridays, however, they stayed at home and rested.

As for Narcissus, once he believed he had eaten Snow White's heart he had no other thought but that he was once again the first and foremost and most handsome of all. He, thus, came and stood in front of his enchanted possession and said:

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best-looking one of all?"

Then the mirror answered:

"My Lord, you are the fairest here, but Snow White, living far away with the seven dwarves this day, is still a thousand times better-looking."

At that he was horrified, for he knew that the looking glass did not lie, and he understood that the huntsman had deceived him and that the princess was still living. Then, he racked his brains repeatedly to think how he could kill her, for as long as he was not the most handsome one of all his envy would not leave him in peace. He shook and shuddered with rage.

"Snow White shall die," he shouted.

Straight away, he went off to the most secret, lonely little dungeon, where no one came, and there, he enchanted an apple with vicious curses. On the outside, it looked delightful, white with rosy cheeks, so that the sight of it would make you want to eat it, but whoever took one bite would be bound to die. When the apple was ready, Narcissus stained his face, disguised himself as a beggar tramp, and crossed the seven rivers to the seven dwarves. It was quite early; everyone except Snow White was sleeping and snoring. He knocked at their door. When Snow White put her head out of the window, he said:

“Good morning, lovely child. I am a needy man wandering through the woods to find my family. During my everlasting journey, I have seen hunger and starvation; for that, I had collected some apples, in order to eat. Now, however, they are too heavy to bear. I want to be rid of them. There – I will give you one.”

“Oh! You are so kind, but I cannot accept this. I beg your pardon,” Snow White exclaimed melancholically.

“Child, do not be frightened. I beseech you. Are you afraid of being poisoned?" said the old woman. "Look, I'm cutting the apple in two; you shall eat the red cheek and I'll eat the white." However, the apple had been made so cleverly that only the red cheek was poisoned.

“Sir. Look. I said that I don’t want it. Perhaps, it seems normal to you, but people, often, do not trust to foreigners that they encounter in the middle of nowhere. I, genuinely, don’t want to seem prejudicial, but I don’t think that you’re trustworthy”

Narcissus hearing these words was at the end his tether, but did not do anything. Leaving the apple there, he went back to the palace to plan a cleverer conspiracy. Yet, before beginning to conspire, he desired to look at himself in his mirror. Oh, he was handsome. He was very handsome. He was unbelievably handsome. He looked and looked again. He looked. Again. And again. He could not hinder. Hence, Narcissus was consumed by his narcissism, and died a couple of days later, from starvation.

In the meantime, Snow White had left the apple where it was. As Narcissus was dying, the Prince of the neighboring kingdom was travelling through the forest, when he saw a fruit standing in the windowsill of a house. Hungry, he took a bite of the wicked fruit. And fell.

As they heard a sound, Snow White and the seven dwarves went out to look. When Snow White saw the Prince lying on the ground, she instantly knelt down and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Since the morsel he had taken, had stuck in his throat, the poison could not kill the Prince. The Princess had saved him.

They married each other and went back to the palace. Snow became Queen and it was only a matter of time before the Prince was pregnant.

Is this a review?



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8 Reviews

Points: 0
Reviews: 8

Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:01 am
TheRandomWriter wrote a review...

there's nothing I love more than a nice story this was very nice and put in a way where i can enjoy this, cause sometimes books will put me straight to sleep or maybe they are boring but this one is good, it didn't have me falling to sleep or anything and i could go on and lead the story on and on because some people don't know how to type or i don't really know maybe they f up with the key board but i swear people mess the story up so bad sometimes and you can't understand what's going on.

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66 Reviews

Points: 4785
Reviews: 66

Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:47 pm
aooborromeo wrote a review...

I quite enjoyed this short story. I found myself admiring the witty spirit of your Snow White, which is usually hard for me since fairy tale rewrites often become more repetitive or sloppy with character development. Overall, it was very engaging and easy to read and analyze.

There are quite a few grammar mistakes, which can easily be fixed if you take the time to re-read it. There are couple of sentence structure issues, punctuation mistakes. The examples I found actually have been pointed out in the other reviews. The gender-bending twists are nice, but slightly inconsistent with their purpose, henceforth taking away from the narrative and potentially confusing the reader. One example is the very end with the Prince being pregnant. I'm not quite sure how necessary that is, and it is quite perplexing unless the Prince is biologically female.

The line dialogue where Snow White explains her opinion on cooking and cleaning is tad off-putting. I can tell your intention was rid the fairy tale of it's gender role stereotypes and encourage a more independent Snow White, which you accomplished in other parts of the story, don't worry about that. Perhaps it's because I personally believe that a woman that cooks and sews (aka me because I do both) is more than just a Mary Sue trait as well as implying those particular tasks are lesser than mining. Perhaps if you word the line a bit better and concise it might give the affect you desire without Snow White coming off as arrogant.

An example could be Snow White stating that she will help around the house but to expect the dwarves to assist her and contribute as well. Snow White could also offer help at the mines. Make her assertive in her opinion that she should not be their maid. Which is why Snow White in the Disney film isn't as off putting since she seems to wholeheartedly offer to do the chores.

Narcissus, surprisingly is a very intriguing and well developed character. I enjoyed his inner dialogue and his ultimate downfall. The male Evil Queen strangely works well with the Snow White you created. My only problem is the Prince. Him eating the poison apple makes sense with the themes and changes you are attempting. My issue is that he just, to be frank, shows up. She has never seen this Prince before, and although being a good Samaritan she offers mouth to mouth to save him, them marrying doesn't seem good for the story.

A tentative courtship could have worked a bit more in Snow White's favor, or at the very least dialogue between them or formal introductions. The nature of his poisoning, in my opinion, takes away from Snow White's development. I like the idea of the Prince being poisoned instead, but if you added more to it, for example the apple not being on a strange house's windowsill, might have worked a bit better. If she knew him before hand, it could have been a more emotional weight on her since she truly cares about him and his potential death could have left a mark on her heart.

The story is a bit rushed, but then again that usually happens with short stories, Your intention might have been to leave the reader to their imagination about what happened.

Overall, I loved your retelling much more than others I've seen, (thank you for doing Snow White, because I have read way to many Cinderella retellings).

Snow White is a lovely character for her dry humor, spunk, sharp witt, and no-nonsense air about her. I found her absolutely captivating and adorable in her own way. I would love to see more of her.

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109 Reviews

Points: 1940
Reviews: 109

Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:47 am
Gnomish wrote a review...

Hi there! I love fairy tale retells, so I was very excited to read this!

A few grammar things I noticed...

In the meantime, the Consort had also begun to sew a nightgown at the open window, when a needle pricked the finger and three drops of blood fell on the snow that had started to cover the windowsill.
Do you mean to say "the finger"? Shouldn't it be "their finger"?

Nine months had just passed that a child that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony was born.
I had to reread this sentence a couple times, I think because of the use of the word "that". I'm not sure about this, but would it sound better to say "Nine months had just passed when a child who had skin as white as snow..."

Nothing could bring gaiety back to the realm; or, so thought everyone.
Is the comma after or necessary? I'm notorious for overusing commas, and see what sounds better to you, but when I read this line I say it without a pause. (Also, I think "or so everyone thought" feels smoother, but I understand you're trying to use a certain tone and writing style, just something to think about.)

Albeit Snow White’s body shape and weight defied the common prejudices, it was her heart and her kindness that truly made pretty
Alright, so I have a few things to say about this line. First of all, I find it very interesting that you made Snow White pretty on the inside as well as the out, especially since so much of this story centres on shallow beauty. Secondly, I think you forgot the word "her" after made. ("Made her pretty")

the looking glass’ response did anything but to please Narcissus.
I don't think you need the word "to" here.

Hence, Snow White went inside.
This is the second time you've used the word "hence" in a few paragraphs. Nothing wrong with it, you just might want to consider changing it up.

All the objects in the tiny house was, not surprisingly, tiny
Were, not was. (I think).

Who says I can’t”
You forgot the ?.

I really like how Snow White is more independent and smart, but the ending feels a bit rushed to me. The prince just happened to see an apple and eat it, even though it was on someone else's windowsill. He doesn't seem like the type of person Snow White would marry, even if she saved his life. Also, I don't think the Prince being pregnant is a necessary part of the story, unless you're trying to portray something about him being biologically female but using he/him.

Overall, very interesting story, I like the genderbended twist to it and more realistic characters.

baranaxoy says...

Hi. Thank you for your review. To be honest, I wrote this story very late at night so I guess this explains the grammatical mistakes (they are really horrifying).The ending with the Prince being pregnant actually shows that in this fairy tale realm the roles aren't the same as the roles in our own society. This links to the whole point of this story, because I wanted to de-stereotype the fairytale, and as you have noticed such fairytales are heavily stereotyped :)

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1260 Reviews

Points: 1630
Reviews: 1260

Sun Dec 27, 2020 1:22 am
Elinor wrote a review...

Hi baranaxoy!

My name is Elinor, and when I saw that you had written a retelling of Snow White, I just new I had to give it a review!

I like your writing and think this is an engaging and readable retelling of the fairytale, and I'd be curious as to how much is from the fairytale itself and how much is inspired by the Disney movie. I get what you're trying to do, but I wasn't sure what this changes about the story other than gender-bending a few of the characters, though the inclusion of Narcissus is clever.

“I am sorry, what? Do we live in a patriarchal society? I remind you gentlemen that this a queendom. The fact that I am a female human being does not mean that I am predestined to do the chores. I might as well come to the mines with you. Who says I can’t?”

I'm not a fan of this line for a few reasons. Why is cooking and cleaning an inherently lesser task than mining? Personally, don't believe that it is. Furthermore, at this time, Snow White would have been taught to wash, sew, cook, etc. I'm not sure what happens in the original story, but in the Disney movie, Snow White offers to do these chores herself, which, to me, is her expressing agency.

Having the villain of this story be a man in your telling works because of Narcissus. But I also think, by having the Prince eat the poisoned apple instead of Snow White, it makes Snow a less interesting character to follow because the emotional weight isn't with her.

What if the Prince took Snow White's place in the story? He's the one under Narcissus' thumb, the one he wants to kill and Snow White is the Princess from a different Kingdom to save him with true love's kiss.

I understand if you don't want to take the focus away from Snow White, but she could be the main character in the way that Phillip is the main character of Sleeping Beauty-- she's the one who finds out about the Prince being poisoned and has to find him and save him before it's too late. Everyone already knows the story about the magic mirror, the dwarves, and the poisoned apple. Personally, I'd love to see you use characters we already know and turn the story on its head in a new and different way.

Of course, I just thought I'd offer my perspective, though I don't want to step on your toes. :) You also have this under satire, but it felt rather serious to me, so I guess I'd be curious more about what your goals with this are.

I'm confused by the line about the Prince being pregnant and I don't think it is necessary in the context of the story.

Hope this helps!

baranaxoy says...

Thank you for your review. My objective here was to remove the stereotypical portrayal of women in fairytales such as Snow White. My choice of having her refuse to do the chores stems from this. And as you have unnderstood, when stereotypes are removed the stories are not the same :)

We all share half a braincell that bounces like a windows screensaver
— WeepingWisteria