Snow White, Katherine Cameron (1874-1965)
Fairy Tale Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who's the fairest of them all?"
~ Snow White, Grimm's Fairy Tales
f a magic mirror isn't handy, a talking fish may be a good substitute. This most well-known and widespread fairy tale appears in many countries with interesting regional variations. In one Scottish variant, Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree, queen Silver-Tree asks a trout in a well, instead of a magic mirror, who's the most beautiful. When the trout tells her that Gold-Tree, her daughter, is more beautiful, Silver-Tree pretends to fall ill, declaring that her only cure is to eat her own daughter's heart and liver! Trouble ensues. In another Scottish version, the princess heroine's stepmother frames her for the murder of the queen's firstborn and forces her to take an oath of silence. The princess takes refuge with thirteen cats, who turn out to be an enchanted prince and his squires. Thanks to another talking trout, the queen discovers her stepdaughter is still alive, having married the prince and having three sons with him, and sends three giants of ice to put her in a death-like state. 🦈 👑
Snow White Strathspey
"Snow White" is a nineteenth-century German fairy tale published by in the first edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales in 1812. It was titled in German: Sneewittchen (Schneewittchen) and numbered as Tale 53. The Grimms completed their final revision of the story in 1854.
The fairy tale features such archetypical elements as the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, matricide, filicide, and the characters of the Evil Queen (Snow White's evil stepmother), the huntsman, a beautiful princess named Snow White, a sleeping enchantment, a handsome prince and the Seven Dwarfs.
There have been several historical personages proposed as inspiration for the Snow White story, first published in 1812 by the Grimm Brothers as "Sneewittchen." According to a study group in Lohr, Bavaria, Snow White is based on Maria Sophia von Erthal, born in 1729 in Lohr am Main, Bavaria. She was the daughter of 18th century landowner, Prince Philipp Christoph von Erthal and his wife, Baroness von Bettendorff. After the death of the Baroness, Prince Philipp went onto marry Claudia Elisabeth Maria von Venningen, Countess of Reichenstein, who was said to dislike her stepchildren. And even more telling, the castle where they lived, was home to a ‘talking mirror’, an acoustical toy constructed in 1720 by the Mirror Manufacture of the Electorate of Mainz in Lohr, that could speak!
For more on the possible historical origins of this story, click the iconic scene from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs full length feature cartoon of 1937.