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12 July 2010

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Over at the blog Treble Clef, a contest is going on - a short story contest. How fun! :) It lasts until the 16th of July. Click the button for more info!

I wrote this story for the contest, a revising of the classic fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is 1,695 words (it just barely squeezes into the 2,000 word limit!). Please let me know what you think!

   I had eaten the poisoned apple. What a fool I was. How could I not have seen that coming? The old woman who stopped by my door when the dwarfs were out mining seemed too kind, almost sickeningly so. And yet, underneath that kindness, there had been a spark of evil, of treachery. And I hadn’t seen it.
My mind ran over the previous events that had led me to this day, to this death-like state. I had been born beautiful. I was always beautiful. Raven-black hair that swished into gorgeous waves, deep blue eyes, skin white as snow, lips the color of blood. Many of my tutors and governesses always exclaimed at my beauty, marveling how one little child could posses such astonishing looks. “You’ll have the young men all crowdin’ ‘round to see you, my dear,” said my old nurse. “They’ll come from far and wide to marry such a pretty thing.”
Hearing these words from my nurse and trusted companion, I knew them to be true. And so, I grew vain. I grew more and more aware of my beauty and good looks. You could call me arrogant or “stuck-up.”
The only person whom I knew did not admire me was my stepmother, the Queen. I always found this offensive; everyone else admired me, so why couldn’t she? 
She looked very like me, although we were not related by blood. But her black hair was wicked, her blood-red lips suspicious when she murmured soothing lies. I could never trust her again after that first day…
The Queen had a mirror. It hung on a wall, and it always told which maiden in the land was the “fairest of them all.” The mirror normally answered in the favor of my stepmother, who would then preen and be content for one more day. But one day, the mirror answered “There is another that I see, one who is more fair than thee.” The Queen grew very angry, for she was jealous of my beauty. She had always had a secret fear that I would be more beautiful then she one day. And that day had come.
I could hear her screams of anger and rage, for they had lasted the better part of an hour. And then, it seemed, she grew tired. She summoned her hunter and spoke to him a deadly order: he was to take me into the part of the woods where it was dark and the shadows grew long. There, he was to draw his hunting knife and stab me through the heart. The Queen even gave him a box to put my heart in when he had followed her orders.
He was very upset. I had never seen my kind friend wear such a tortured expression as he did on that walk to the deepest part of the woods. I tried to ask him what was wrong, little knowing that I was being lead to my death. When we came to the forest’s heart, he stopped.
Holding my arm with one hand, so as to stop me from fleeing, he drew his knife and raised it over my head. Shocked, I screamed, closing my eyes and wishing death would come quickly. It wasn’t until I heard the thump of the knife hitting the ground that I realized he had plunged it into the forest floor and not me.
“Forgive me!” he pleaded. “This evil deed is not done on my own accord. Your mother, the Queen, wishes you dead. She forced me to do this to you. But I can’t! How could I kill an innocent young girl?”
My breath caught in my throat and I lifted my head. 
“But she will not rest until you are dead. So, run away! Run away into the forest! And never return. Go!”
His command shocked me, but I ran, stumbling over roots and tree stumps. My dress sleeve caught on a limb, tearing the silken fabric, but I ran on. For once, I was not worried about my clothes. Fear for my life put wings on my heels, and I stumbled and ran faster than ever before. It was not until I grew tired and weary that I dropped to the ground and wept. The fear for my life combined with the fact that I did not have a home and I knew not to where I was running, and it made the tears run freely down my face, wetting the damp ground that pillowed my head. Eventually, my tears slowed, and in my weariness, I fell asleep. I slept there through the night.
When I awoke in the morning, I wandered through the trees a bit further, coming upon a small cottage no bigger than a dolls house. The door only came to my shoulder. I knocked, but no one was there. "How rude," I thought. "They ought to answer." Finally, after peaking in a window, I concluded that the house was empty. The door was unlocked, and so, ducking my head, I stepped in.
The house was chaos in the literal sense of the word. "Disgusting," I thought. "You’d think they could take better care of their home." But suddenly, I realized that perhaps, just maybe they couldn’t. Perhaps no one had taught them. So, I resolved to give the house a tidying-up, in the hopes that the little people who lived here would let me stay. For I had no other place to go.
It took some time. The floor was matted with age-old dirty boot prints, and it took almost an hour to clean those up alone. Then came the pile of dirty dishes in the sink, the unmade beds (which were rather small, I noted), the dusty shelves… the list went on and on. But I pressed on, and soon, after a long and tiring day, the cottage was clean. "There," I thought. "That wasn’t so bad."
I had grown very tired after my cleaning day, so I stretched myself across three of the seven little beds and soon settled into an exhausted slumber.
I awoke with a start to find seven little men all crowding around me, curiously staring at this strange creature they had found in their house. I sat up quickly, embarrassed. The men were very small, explaining the small beds and the short door. They each had a long gray or white beard, and their eyes bulged out of their pudgy little faces. One was taller than the rest, and he wore spectacles. He seemed to be their leader. 
“Now then,” he said in a surprisingly deep voice. “Who might you be?”
“A princess,” I answered. “A princess, one who’s stepmother wishes to kill. I had to flee my home, helped by a kindly hunter whom my stepmother had ordered to kill me. Risking his own life, he let me flee.” I stopped there, astonished at the great sacrifice the hunter had made. "He may be killed because he saved me," I thought in surprise and disbelief. "How could one man give his life for me?"
The dwarfs, for that was what they were, interrupted my musings. “You poor girl,” they all said. “You must stay with us,” to which their leader added, “I insist upon it.”
I explained to them how I had found their cottage a mess, and how I had straightened up a bit for them, and the dwarfs looked around in shock. Their eyes bulged even more as they took in the now-tidy cottage, and they stared in wonder at me. I blushed and looked down. 
“You have done us a great favor,” spoke the leader. “On behalf of all of my fellow companions, I thank you most humbly.”
And that settled it. I was to stay with them. 
The next few days passed pleasantly enough. The dwarfs left the house every day. to mine for diamonds, and they always gave me extremely strict instructions not to ever let any strangers in the house. Never, they warned. And until yesterday, their instructions had been useless, for I never let anyone in.
I could picture the old lady’s face as she tapped upon the door lightly, her face screwed up into a smile. Yet another lie. For, unbeknownst to me, this seemingly pleasant old woman was the Queen in disguise. And I did not know that.
I had, foolishly, let her in. “Taste these apples, dear,” she said. “I insist, you must try them. After all, the men folk like apple pies, do they not?”
Lured in by the bright red hue, I agreed to taste the apple. In a moment, I knew something was wrong. The taste was off, bitter and deathly. The last thing I remembered was the old woman cackling her evil laugh, before everything went black.
The dwarfs found me, dead. They put me in a gold coffin, surrounded by flowers, and wept over me. And that was how I had come to this hopeless state. I thought about what I could have done differently. I could have not bragged about my beauty as a young girl, for then the Queen would not have grown so jealous. And even if she had still attempted to kill me and everything had continued on this path, leading me to the dwarfs’ cottage, the least I could have done was follow the dwarfs’ rules about not letting anyone in. 
But I had foolishly let in the Queen, in disguise, and for that I now would pay.
In my dead stupor, I heard a horse’s hooves approaching. And then a soft, gentle voice. 
“What is wrong? How did she die?” The voice was filled with sorrow and regret. To my surprise, I liked the sound of it. I wished he would say more so that I could hear his voice again.
The dwarfs told how I had died, whispering the sad tale in deep monotones.
“At least let me see her,” the sweet voice spoke again. I heard the click as the glass coffin unlatched under his fingers. And then he bent over me and pressed his lips to mine. I felt myself reviving; awakening. And then I slowly opened my eyes…

I need title ideas, so if you can think of any, I would be most grateful! :)

10 epistles:

  1. Oh, what a lovely post, Lizzy Rose! Here is my title idea:

    "The forbidden apple" OR

    "The apple was nearly fatal"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gianna and Elizabeth:
    You should join my contest! It is a short story contest as well!
    Lizzy: You can enter this story if you wish... email them (it) too: forgiven4ever@hotmail.com

    ~Mandy
    mandysmanuscriptinchrist.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Elizabeth,
    That was a beautiful story! Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop till I was finished.
    Your sister in Christ,
    Liz Darcy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, Lizzy.

    Would you mind stopping bye my blog when you have moment? I have a urgent prayer request posted.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! I am amazed at how were able to condense the story into 1695 words! And i really like your descriptions... The intro is great. Good job! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow... you did a marvalous job!! You should name it "Dwarfs and Apples".

    ~Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow. You are great, so great! Keep it up :)

    K xx -- www.thoseblissmoments.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! Great job! How about:
    The Hidden Princess
    or
    The Kiss of Life

    I loved it! I hope you win!

    www.nuttinetti.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. How about,
    "Skin as White as Snow"
    "I fell asleep"
    "Taste The Apple"

    I just took sentences out of your story. I can' terally think of anything. I like your story though! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am just reading this but I think it's positively lovely!!! :D And being the romance novle enthusist I am, I loved the end. Very, very sweet and good wording. :) GREAT JOB!!!

    ~Quinlyn

    ReplyDelete

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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