may_lily: (Snow White in Spring)
may_lily ([personal profile] may_lily) wrote2012-11-23 05:02 pm

Snow White

From my tumblr.

I’ve been reading the Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. What’s great about this book is that it includes stories that were left out of later editions of their Children’s and Household Tales, that were only in the annotations, or that were found in their notes and never made it into the book at all.

There’s a super interesting version of Snow White included. The version in which Snow White’s persecutor is not her stepmother but her mother (from the first edition of Children’s and Household Tales in 1812) is relatively well known. D. L. Ashliman has a translation on his site. However, it turns out that an even earlier version was included in an 1806 letter from Jacob Grimm to Friedrich Carl von Savigny. This version has several significant differences to the version that is best known today.

- Snow White doesn’t have black hair, but golden hair. It’s her eyes that are ‘black as ebony’.
- Like the 1812 version, her persecutor is her mother, not her stepmother.
- In order to get rid of her, the queen takes Snow White into the forest in order to pick roses, and leaves her there to be eaten by wild beasts. There’s no huntsman to take pity on her, nor any attempted cannibalism.

The ending is the most interesting part for me. Instead of a random prince happening along, it was her father! Naturally, she wasn’t revived with a kiss (that wouldn’t get attached to the story until much later). However, it doesn’t seem to be the ‘knock the piece of apple out of her throat’ method either. I found it somewhat difficult to interpret how it was done. The king got some doctors, and:

"When they took the body, they tied a rope to the four corners of the room, and Snow White came to life again."

The story does end with Snow White marrying a prince her father found for her, and the queen is forced to dance in red-hot shoes at the wedding.

Does anyone know if it was Disney that first added ‘revived by a kiss’ to the Snow White story? I’m pretty sure it had been done that way in Sleeping Beauty for a while, but I haven’t found any version of Snow White prior to Disney that included the kiss.