Welcome to day four of Winter Faerytale Week! For this post, I have chosen Snow White and Rose Red as my topic. The Snow White of this tale is not the same character as the Snow White of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Instead, this is a tale of two sisters who are raised in the forest by their mother. In this faerytale, the father is missing instead of the mother, which is slightly different from many other fairytales.
Each of the sisters was named after one of their mother’s rose bushes. These two rose bushes were beautiful and lovingly tended, which is why the girls were named for them. The sisters are given personalities that relate to the color of the rose they were named after. Snow White is more soft-spoken and sweetly pure in nature. Rose Red is more passionate and likely to sing and dance in self-expression.
The small family feels at home in the woods, not fearing the creatures that reside in the wild forest. But one evening in Winter, they are startled by a Bear who knocks on their door. Given their trust in the creatures, they soon realize that the Bear means them no harm. It certainly helps that he is able to speak and explain his intentions to the women. Over the course of the Winter, the family invited the Bear to stay with him, which is apparently what he does in opposition to hibernating as a normal bear would.
It is Snow White that grows closest to the Bear, forming a special bond. When the Bear leaves in Spring the whole family misses him, but none so much as Snow. It is also around this time that Snow White and Rose Red finally meet the antagonist of the tale for the first time. A Wicked Dwarf, whom they have to save three times in total, by cutting off parts of this beard that have been lodged or tangled in various ways. After the third time, they save him, the girls are about to be attacked by the Dwarf, who wants to kill them when the Bear shows up and kills the Dwarf. It is at this time that both the Bear, and also an Eagle that Rose Red had become interested in after they encountered him during their interactions with the Dwarf, begin to change shape. They turn into two Princes who explain that the Dwarf had cursed them into animal forms. Killing the Dwarf undid the magic and allowed them to become human once more.
Of course, the tale ends with Snow White marrying the Bear Prince and Rose Red marrying the Eagle Prince. The tale shows the importance of empathy and compassion towards all creatures, emphasizing the power of kindness! Finally, I would like to mention the book Magickal Faerytales by Lucy Cavendish, in which she wrote a lovely version of this tale that is similar to the Grimm’s telling but gives more weight to the older and more Pagan aspects of the tale. Cavendish also gives a lot of insight into the meanings within the tale in the second half of the Snow White and Rose Red chapter. I hope that you have enjoyed this short post about this lovely fairytale. Did you know there were two fairytale heroines named Snow White? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a lovely artwork depicting Snow White and Rose Red. I found the image on https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/2547532.
- Snow White and Rose Red by The Brothers Grimm
- Magickal Faerytales: An Enchanted Collection of Retold Tales by Lucy Cavendish
- https://youtu.be/SjVZMYsnwYg (This is my own YouTube video about this very faerytale.)