"SNOW WHITE" is a nineteenth-century German fairy tale which is today
known widely across the Western world. The
Brothers Grimm published it
in 1812 in the first edition of their collection Grimms\' Fairy Tales
. It was titled in German: Sneewittchen (in modern orthography
Schneewittchen) and numbered as Tale 53. The name "Sneewittchen" was
Low German and in the first version it was translated with
"Schneeweißchen". The Grimms completed their final revision of the
story in 1854.
The fairy tale features such elements as the magic mirror, the
poisoned apple, the glass coffin, and the characters of the evil queen
Seven Dwarfs . The seven dwarfs were first given individual
names in the 1912 Broadway play
Snow White and the
Seven Dwarfs and
then given different names in
Walt Disney 's 1937 film
Snow White and
Seven Dwarfs . The Grimm story, which is commonly referred to as
"Snow White", should not be confused with the story of "Snow White
and Rose Red " (in German "Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot"), another
fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm.
Aarne–Thompson folklore classification, tales of this kind
are grouped together as type 709, Snow White. Others of this kind
Bella Venezia ", "
Myrsina ", "
Nourie Hadig ", "Gold-Tree and
The Young Slave and
La petite Toute-Belle .
* 1 Plot
* 2 Inspiration
* 3 Variations
* 4 From other European traditions
* 5 Modern uses and adaptations
* 6 Trademark
* 7 In art
* 8 Religious interpretation
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 Further reading
* 12 External links
1. The Queen asks the magic mirror 2.
Snow White in the
forest 3. The dwarfs find
Snow White asleep 4. The
Snow White 5. The Queen visits
Snow White 6.
The Queen has poisoned
Snow White 7. The Prince awakes Snow
White 8. The Queen arrives at the wedding
At the beginning of the story, a queen sits sewing at an open window
during a winter snowfall when she pricks her finger with her needle,
causing three drops of red blood to drip onto the freshly fallen white
snow on the black windowsill. Then, she says to herself, "How I wish
that I had a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as
blood, and hair as black as ebony ." Some time later, the queen gives
birth to a baby daughter whom she names Snow White, but dies shortly
A year later, Snow White's father, the king, takes a new wife, who is
very beautiful, but a wicked and vain woman. The new queen possesses a
magic mirror, which she asks every morning, "Magic mirror in my hand,
who is the fairest in the land?" The mirror always replies: "My queen,
you are the fairest in the land." The queen is always pleased with
that, because the magic mirror never lies. But as
Snow White grows up,
she becomes more beautiful each day and even more beautiful than the
queen, and when the queen asks her mirror, it tells her that Snow
White is the fairest.
This gives the queen a great shock. She becomes envious, and from
that moment on, her heart turns against Snow White, whom the queen
grows to hate increasingly with time. Eventually, the angry queen
orders a huntsman to take
Snow White into the deepest woods to be
killed. As proof that
Snow White is dead, the queen demands that he
returns with her lungs and liver. The huntsman takes
Snow White into
the forest. After raising his knife, he finds himself unable to kill
her and he spares her life. He tells
Snow White that her stepmother
wants her dead and orders her to flee as far away from the kingdom as
possible. He instead brings the queen the heart of a wild animal.
After wandering through the forest,
Snow White discovers a tiny
cottage belonging to a group of seven dwarfs. Since no one is at home,
she eats some of the tiny meals, drinks some of their wine, and then
tests all the beds. Finally, the last bed is comfortable enough for
her and she falls asleep. When the dwarfs return home, they
immediately become aware that someone had snuck in secretly, because
everything in their home is in disorder. During their loud discussion
about who had snuck in, they discover the sleeping Snow White. She
wakes up and explains to them what happened, and the dwarfs take pity
on her and let her stay with them in exchange for housekeeping. They
warn her to be careful when alone at home and to let no one in when
they are away delving in the mountains.
Meanwhile, the queen asks her mirror once again: "Magic mirror in my
hand, who is the fairest in the land?" The mirror replies: "My queen,
you are the fairest here so true. But
Snow White beyond the mountains
Seven Dwarfs is a thousand times more beautiful than you". The
queen is horrified to learn that the huntsman has betrayed her and
Snow White is still alive. Planning to kill Snow White, the queen
disguises herself as an old peddler. The queen appears at the dwarfs'
cottage and offers
Snow White colorful, silky laced bodices and
Snow White to take the most beautiful laces as a present.
Then the queen laces her up so tightly that
Snow White faints, causing
the queen to leave her for dead. But the dwarfs return just in time,
Snow White revives when the dwarfs loosen the laces.
The queen then consults her magic mirror again, and the mirror
reveals Snow White's survival. The queen dresses as a comb seller and
Snow White to take a beautiful comb as a present. She
brushes Snow White's hair with the poisoned comb and the girl faints
again. She is again revived by the dwarfs when they remove the comb
from her hair. When the mirror again indicates that
Snow White still
lives, the queen makes a third and final attempt on
Snow White by
disguising herself as a farmer's wife, and offering a poisoned apple
to her. The girl is at first hesitant to accept it, so the queen cuts
the apple in half, eating the white (harmless) half and giving the red
poisoned half to Snow White. The girl eagerly takes a bite and falls
into a state of suspended animation . This time, the dwarfs are unable
to revive Snow White. Assuming that she is dead, they place her in a
After a short period of time, a prince traveling through the land
sees Snow White. He strides to her coffin. Enchanted by her beauty, he
instantly falls in love with her. The seven dwarfs succumb to his
entreaties to let him have Snow White. The moment he lifts the coffin
to carry it away, the piece of poisoned apple falls from between her
Snow White awakens saying "Where am I?" The Prince then
declares his love for her and soon a wedding is planned. Snow White
and the prince invite everyone to come to their wedding party,
including Snow White's stepmother.
Meanwhile, the queen, still believing that
Snow White is dead, again
asks her magic mirror who is the fairest in the land. The mirror says:
"Thou, lady, art loveliest here, I ween; but lovelier far is the
new-made queen", which enrages the queen. Not knowing that the
Prince's bride is her stepdaughter, the queen arrives at the wedding
and sees that the bride is Snow White, whom she thought dead. She
chokes with rage, falls down, and dies.
Snow White and the prince
reign happily over the land for many, many years and sometimes
traveling into the mountains and visiting the dwarfs, who had been so
kind to Snow White.
The origin of the Snow White tale
Many scholars have theorized about the possible origins of the tale.
In 1994, a German historian named Eckhard Sander published
Schneewittchen: Märchen oder Wahrheit? (Snow White: Fairy Tale or
Truth?), claiming he had uncovered an account that may have inspired
the story that first appeared in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. According to
Sander, the character of
Snow White was based on the life of
Margaretha von Waldeck , a German countess born to Philip IV in 1533.
At the age of 16, Margarete was forced by her stepmother, Katharina of
Hatzfeld, to move away to
Brussels . There, Margarete fell in love
with a prince who would later become
Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain .
Margarete’s father and stepmother disapproved of the relationship as
it was ‘politically inconvenient’. Margarete mysteriously died at
the age of 21, apparently having been poisoned. Historical accounts
point to the King of Spain, who opposing the romance, may have
dispatched Spanish agents to murder Margarete.
Scholar Graham Anderson compares the story of
Snow White to the Roman
legend of Chione , recorded in
Metamorphoses . The name Chione
means "Snow" in Greek and, in the story, she is described as the most
beautiful woman in the land, so beautiful that the gods
Mercury both fell in love with her. Mercury put her to sleep with the
touch of his caduceus and raped her in her sleep. Then Apollo,
disguised as an old crone, approached her and raped her again. These
affections led Chione to openly boast that she was more beautiful than
the goddess Diana herself, resulting in Diana shooting her through the
tongue with an arrow.
Karlheinz Bartels, a pharmacist and scholar from
Lohr am Main , a
town in northwestern
Bavaria , found evidence that
Snow White was
Maria Sophia Margarethe Catharina, Baroness von und zu Erthal, who was
born in Lohr on June 25, 1725. Her father, Philipp Christoph von
und zu Erthal, was the local representative of the Prince Elector of
Mainz . After the death of Maria Sophia’s birth mother in 1738, her
father remarried in 1743. The stepmother, Claudia Elisabeth von
Reichenstein, was domineering and employed her new position to the
advantage of her children from her first marriage. A magic mirror
referred to as “The Talking Mirror”, known as always telling the
truth, can still be viewed today in the Spessart Museum in the Lohr
Castle, where Maria Sophia’s stepmother lived. This mirror was
presumably a present from Maria Sophia’s father to his second wife.
It was a product of the Lohr Mirror Manufacture (Kurmainzische
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In their first edition, the
Brothers Grimm published the version they
had first collected, in which the villain of the piece is Snow White's
jealous mother. In a version sent to another folklorist prior to the
first edition, additionally, she does not order a servant to take her
to the woods, but takes her there herself to gather flowers and
abandons her; in the first edition, this task was transferred to a
servant. It is believed that the change to a stepmother in later
editions was to tone down the story for children.
One version of
Snow White is the 1937 American animated film Snow
White and the
Seven Dwarfs by
Walt Disney . Disney's variation of Snow
White gave the dwarfs names and included a singing Snow White. Instead
of her lungs and liver, as written in the original, the huntsman is
asked by the queen to bring back Snow White’s heart.
Snow White is
much more mature (about 14). And she is discovered by the dwarfs after
cleaning the house, not vandalizing it. Furthermore, in the Disney
movie the evil queen tries only once to kill
Snow White (by a poisoned
apple) and fails. She then dies by falling down a cliff, after the
dwarfs had chased her through the forest. In the original, the queen
is forced to dance to death.
Snow White (1987), produced by
Cannon Movie Tales , the Evil
Queen, after being informed for the last time that
Snow White is alive
and the most fair, is consumed with rage and hurls an object at the
mirror causing it to crack. As she travels to the wedding, the Evil
Queen begins to age rapidly as the mirror continues to crack. By the
time she reaches the wedding and bursts in, she is an old hag and is
humiliated by the crowd. She leaves and, simultaneously with the
mirror in her castle, disintegrates into a pile of dust while Snow
White and the Prince are married.
In the 2012 adaptation
Snow White and the Huntsman , directed by
Rupert Sanders ,
Snow White becomes a warrior in order to overthrow
the Evil Queen named Ravenna, and the huntsman named Eric is presented
as her mentor and possible love interest.
In 2014, a version of Mattel schools of fairy tale characters, Ever
After High ,
Snow White has a daughter,
Apple White (Royal), which
disputes with Raven Queen (daughter of the Evil Queen and Rebel) who
prefers the Rebels follow the heart, writing their own way.
Many later versions omit the Queen's attempted cannibalism , eating
what she believed to be the lungs and liver of Snow White. This may be
a reference to old
Slavic mythology which includes tales of witches
eating human hearts .
FROM OTHER EUROPEAN TRADITIONS
Many other variations of the story exist across and outside Europe.
In some of these variations the dwarfs are robbers, while the magic
mirror is a dialog with the sun or moon.
* In a version from
Albania , collected by
Johann Georg von Hahn ,
the main character lives with 40 dragons , and her sleep is caused by
a ring. The beginning of the story has a twist, in that a teacher
urges the heroine to kill her evil stepmother so that she would take
her place. The origin of this tale is debated; it is likely no older
than the Middle Ages. In fact, there are possibly two Albanian
versions of Snow White: one in which her stepmother tries to kill her,
and another in which her two jealous sisters try to kill her.
* "The Jealous Sisters" is another Albanian fairy tale. In both
fairy tales the death is caused by a ring.
Bidasari is a Malay tale written around 1750 A.D which tells the
story of a witch queen who asks her magic mirror about the prettiest
lady in the kingdom.
* In parallel to the stepmother's question of her magic mirror, the
Indian epic poem
Padmavat (1540) includes the line: "Who is more
beautiful, I or Padmavati?, Queen Nagamati asks her new parrot, and it
gives a displeasing reply...";
* Nourie Hadag from
Armenia was the daughter of a woman who asked
Moon , "Who is the most beautiful in the world?", and the response
is always "Nourie Hadag". The mother plots to kill her daughter.
* The story in Russian writer
Alexander Pushkin 's poem The Tale of
the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights (1833) is similar to that of
Snow White, with knights replacing dwarfs .
MODERN USES AND ADAPTATIONS
Queen (Snow White) in derivative works
Snow White as
Ginnifer Goodwin in the ABC series, Once Upon a Time .
The Disney version of
Snow White .
* The story of
Snow White is a popular theme for British pantomime .
Anne Sexton wrote an adaptation as a poem called "
Snow White and
the Seven Dwarfs" in her collection Transformations (1971), a book in
which she re-envisions sixteen of the Grimm's Fairy tales.
Snow White is a major character in the comic book series Fables
(started 2002) created by
Bill Willingham . This version was also
adapted into the 2013 video game
The Wolf Among Us by
Telltale Games .
* The 1998 video game
Banjo-Kazooie has a Snow White-like plot, with
the witch Gruntilda acting as the Evil Queen and Tooty acting as Snow
Taeyeon 's concept photo for Girls\' Generation 's third studio
album The Boys (2011) was inspired by Snow White.
* A 1916 silent film titled
Snow White was made by Famous
Players-Lasky and produced by
Adolph Zukor and
Daniel Frohman .
J. Searle Dawley , it was adapted to the screen by Jessie
Braham White from his play
Snow White and the
Seven Dwarfs (1912) .
The film starred
Marguerite Clark as Snow White,
Creighton Hale as
Prince Florimond, and
Dorothy Cumming as Queen Brangomar/Mary Jane.
* A 1933 film Snow-White , also known as
Betty Boop in Snow-White,
is a film in the
Betty Boop series from
Max Fleischer 's Fleischer
Studios released in 1933.
* The 1937 Disney film
Snow White and the
Seven Dwarfs is based on
the fairy tale.
* A 1951 Italian film
I sette nani alla riscossa was released in the
US in 1965 under the title
The Seven Dwarves to the Rescue
* A West German "all new, all live" version, Schneewittchen und die
sieben Zwerge , was released in 1955. The film was later dubbed in
English and released in North America in 1965.
* A 1961 East German Schneewittchen
* Pamuk Prenses ve 7 Cüceler (tr), a 1970 Turkish live-action
remake of the 1937 Disney film.
* A 1984
Faerie Tale Theatre
Faerie Tale Theatre episode is based on the fairy tale and
Vanessa Redgrave as the Evil Queen,
Elizabeth McGovern as Snow
Vincent Price as the Magic Mirror.
* The 1986 picture book by Fiona French ,
Snow White in New York is
based in 1920's New York.
* The 1987
Cannon Movie Tales film
Snow White is based on the fairy
tale and stars
Diana Rigg as the Evil Queen and
Nicola Stapleton and
Sarah Patterson both as Snow White.
* The 1989 three episode Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros. OVA
series features characters from the Mario series in different fairy
tales. The third episode is based on this story.
* A 1992 German film where the dwarwes are royal craftsmen serving
the crown and the ones who made the magic mirror. The true villain of
the piece seems to be a priest who made Snow whites father go on
crusade. The prince lives incognito as a jester at the court.
* The 1997 film Snow White: A Tale of Terror is based on the fairy
tale and stars
Sam Neill as Snow White's father,
Sigourney Weaver as
the Evil Queen and
Monica Keena as Snow White.
* The 2000 album "Charmed" by Sarah Pinsker features a song called
"Twice the Prince" which is told from Snow White's perspective. In the
Snow White realizes that she prefers a dwarf to Prince Charming.
* The 2000 miniseries
The 10th Kingdom features
Snow White as a
* The 2001 film Snow White: The Fairest of Them All is based on the
fairy tale and stars
Kristin Kreuk as
Snow White and Miranda
Richardson as Queen Elspeth.
* The 2001 music video of the song "Sonne " by Neue Deutsche Härte
Rammstein features the band as dwarves mining gold for Snow
* The 2005 film The
Brothers Grimm features a character called the
Mirror Queen, who is based on the Evil Queen from Snow White.
* The 2009 German made-for-television film Schneewittchen featured
Laura Berlin (de) as Snow White.
* The 2011 TV series Once Upon A Time features Snow White, Prince
Charming, their daughter and protagonist Emma Swan, and the Evil
Queen, named Regina, as the main characters. Recurring characters
include the seven dwarfs, Snow White's father, Snow White's mother,
the Huntsman and the Magic Mirror, who is simultaneously the Genie of
Agrabah from the fairy tale
* The 2012 film
Snow White and the Huntsman is based on the fairy
tale and stars
Kristen Stewart as Snow White,
Charlize Theron as the
Evil Queen Ravenna,
Chris Hemsworth as Eric the Huntsman, and Sam
Claflin as Prince William. The film generated a sequel, 2016's The
Huntsman: Winter\'s War , which features
Snow White only briefly.
* The 2012 film Mirror Mirror is based on the fairy tale. It stars
Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen Clementianna,
Lily Collins as Snow
Armie Hammer as Prince Andrew Alcott, and
Nathan Lane as
Brighton, the Queen's majordomo.
* The 2012 silent, Spanish film "
Blancanieves " is based on the
* The 2012 film Grimm\'s
Snow White is based on the fairy tale. It
Eliza Bennett as
Snow White and
Jane March as the Evil Queen
* The 2013 web series
RWBY features a character called Weiss Schnee,
who alludes Snow White, as confirmed by Monty Oum, and her name is
German for "White Snow". Weiss' butler, Klein Sieben, alludes to the
seven dwarves, as his name is German for "Small Seven".
Helen Oyeyemi 's 2014 novel Boy, Snow, Bird adapts the Snow White
story as a fable about race and cultural ideas of beauty.
* The 2015 animated film Charming features
Snow White as one of the
princesses engaged to one prince. Singer
Avril Lavigne voiced the
* The 2015 novel Winter by
Marissa Meyer is loosely based on the
story of Snow White.
In 2013, the
US Patent and Trademark Office issued a trademark to
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Disney Enterprises, Inc. for the name "Snow White" that covers all
live and recorded movie, television, radio, stage, computer, Internet,
news, and photographic entertainment uses, excluding literary works of
fiction and nonfiction.
Snow White in art and illustrations''
Snow White illustration from a German children's book 1919
The evil stepmother and queen
Snow White by Anne Anderson
Snow White, c. 1919
Snow White found by the dwarfs
Snow White sleeping, by
Snow White Iron Shoes
The famous "
Heigh-Ho " sequence from the 1937 film .
Erin Heys' "Religious Symbols" article at the website Religion the
apple; the number seven; and resurrection.
* Children\'s literature portal
* Fictional characters portal
* Germany portal
List of Disney animated films based on fairy tales
Margaretha von Waldeck
Snežana , a Slavic female name meaning "snow woman" with a
similar connotation to "Snow White"
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937 film)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937 film) , first Disney film.
Snow white salad
Snow-White-Fire-Red , an Italian fairy tale
Udea and her Seven Brothers
Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree
The Glass Coffin
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* ^ Jacob Grimm;
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des Spessarts. Geschichts- und Museumsverein Lohr a. Main, Lohr a.
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* ^ Heidi Anne Heiner. "Tales Similar to
Snow White and the 7
Dwarfs". Retrieved 22 September 2010.
* ^ A B C D E F English translation of the original
* ^ Sander, Eckhard (1994). Schneewittchen: Marchen oder Wahrheit?
: ein lokaler Bezug zum Kellerwald.
Ovid , Metamorphoses, Book XI, 289
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des Spessarts. Geschichts- und Museumsverein Lohr a. Main, Lohr a.
Main; second edition. ISBN 978-3-934128-40-8 .
* ^ Vorwerk, Wolfgang (2015). Das ‘Lohrer Schneewittchen’ –
Zur Fabulologie eines Märchens. Ein Beitrag zu: Christian Grandl/
Kevin J.McKenna, (eds.) Bis dat, qui cito dat. Gegengabe in
Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature. Honoring Wolfgang
Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday.
Peter Lang (publisher) Frankfurt am
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* ^ Loibl, Werner (2016). Der Vater der fürstbischöflichen
Erthals - Philipp Christoph von und zu Erthal (1689-1748). Geschichts-
und Kunstverein Aschaffenburg e.V., Aschaffenburg 2016. ISBN
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Aschaffenburg 2012. ISBN 978-3-87965-116-0 . ISBN 978-3-87965-117-7
* ^ Kay Stone, "Three Transformations of Snow White" pp 57-58 James
M. McGlathery, ed. The
Brothers Grimm and Folktale, ISBN 0-252-01549-5
* ^ Maria Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales, p 36,
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* ^ Hahn, Johann Georg von (1864). Griechische und albanesische
Märchen,, Volume 2, "Schneewittchen". W. Engelmann, Leipzig. pp.
* ^ "The Jealous Sisters - Albanian Literature Folktales".
Albanian Literature. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
* ^ Adapted by Amy Friedman and Meredith Johnson (2 June 2013).
Nourie Hadig (an Armenian folktale)".
Uclick . Retrieved 28 January
* ^ Orr, Christopher (2012-06-01). "\'
Snow White and the
Huntsman\': The Visuals Dazzle, the Performances Don\'t". The Atlantic
. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
* ^ Pushkin, Alexander (1974). The Tale of the Dead Princess and
the Seven Knights. Raduga Publishers.
* ^ Anne Sexton. "Transformations". Books.google.com. Retrieved
* ^ "Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
* ^ Barrett, Annie. "Julia Roberts\'
Snow White movie titled
\'Mirror, Mirror\' Inside Movies EW.com". Insidemovies.ew.com.
* ^ "Update: Relativity Confirms
Julia Roberts In
Snow White Pic".
* ^ Breznican, Anthony (2011-03-26). "
Armie Hammer cast as prince
in \'Snow White\'".
Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-03-28.
* ^ "Helen Oyeyemi\'s \'Boy, Snow, Bird\' turns a fairy tale inside
out". LA Times. 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
* ^ "
US Patent and Trademark Office –
Snow White trademark
status". Retrieved June 28, 2013.
* ^ Heys, Erin. "Home". Religion & Snow White. Archived from the
original on October 23, 2014. CS1 maint: Unfit url (link )
* ^ Heys, Erin. "Religious Symbols". Religion & Snow White.
Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. CS1 maint: Unfit url
* Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm & Applebaum, Stanley (Editor and
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* Jones, Steven Swann (1990). The New Comparative Method: Structural
and Symbolic Analysis of the allomotifs of 'Snow White'. Helsinki:
FFC., N 247.
* Works related to
Snow White at