We all are, or should be, familiar with the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is a fairy tale, written as an object lesson for children so they won’t be tempted to take poisoned apples from strange ladies. Little Snow-White (the original title) was written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, A.K.A. the Brothers Grimm, and first published in 1812. The title Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was an invention of Walt Disney for his animated motion picture.
What very few are familiar with is the story that Jacob and Wilhelm are rumored to have used as the basis for their fairy tale. In that story there was a Snow White, and a wicked Queen, and seven... but I’m getting ahead of myself. Read on, and you, too, will learn the story that influenced the Brothers Grimm to take pen to paper. Is it true? That will be for you to decide. But remember, this is a fairy tale!
Let us start by retelling the beginning of this original fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm, Little Snow-White, if only to refresh our memories, so we can soon concentrate on and understand our version of the story.
Once upon a time in midwinter, when the snowflakes were falling like feathers from heaven, a Queen sat sewing at her window, which had a frame of black ebony wood. As she sewed she looked up at the snow and pricked her finger with her needle. Three drops of blood fell into the snow. The red on the white looked so beautiful that she thought to herself, “If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in this frame.”
Soon afterward she had a little daughter whose skin was as white as snow, whose lips were as red as blood, and whose hair was as black as ebony wood, and therefore they called her Little Snow-White. And as soon as the child was born, the Queen died.
A year later the king took himself another wife. She was a beautiful woman, but she was proud and arrogant, and she could not stand it if anyone might surpass her in beauty. She had a magic mirror. Every morning she stood before it, looked at herself, and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?
To this the mirror answered:
You, my Queen, are fairest of all.
Then she was satisfied, for she knew that the mirror spoke the truth.
Snow-White grew up and became ever more beautiful. When she was seven years old she was as beautiful as the light of day, even more beautiful than the Queen herself.
One day when the Queen asked her mirror:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?
You, my Queen, are fair, it is true.
But Snow-White is a thousand times fairer than you.
The Queen took fright and turned yellow and green with envy. From that hour on, whenever she looked at Snow-White her heart turned over inside her body, so great was her hatred for the girl. The envy and pride grew ever greater, like a weed in her heart, until she had no peace day and night.
Then she summoned a huntsman and said to him, “Take Snow-White out into the woods. I never want to see her again. Kill her, and as proof that she is dead bring her lungs and her liver back to me.”
The huntsman obeyed and took Snow-White into the woods. He took out his hunting knife and was about to stab it into her innocent heart when she began to cry, saying, “Oh, dear huntsman, let me live. I will run into the wild woods and never come back.”
Because she was so beautiful the huntsman took pity on her, and he said, “Run away, you poor child.”
He thought, “The wild animals will soon devour you anyway,” but still it was as if a stone had fallen from his heart, for he would not have to kill her.
Just then a young boar came running by. He killed it, cut out its lungs and liver, and took them back to the Queen as proof of Snow-White’s death. The cook had to boil them with salt, and the wicked woman ate them, supposing that she had eaten Snow-White’s lungs and liver.
The poor child was now all alone in the great forest, and she was so afraid that she just looked at all the leaves on the trees and did not know what to do. Then she began to run. She ran over sharp stones and through thorns, and wild animals jumped at her, but they did her no harm. She ran as far as her feet could carry her, and just as evening was about to fall she saw a little house and went inside in order to rest.
[A note from the author: Apologies to those with sensitive stomachs. The vision of the Wicked Queen eating what she thought were Snow White’s lungs and liver is horrible and grotesque, I know. But I’m just including exactly what the Brothers Grimm wrote in their fairy tale, and do not accept any responsibility for those words or anyone’s reactions to them!]
Now we will deviate from the tale written by the Brothers Grimm that we each were told at our mother’s knee, and may have seen in its animated motion picture version, and we will now present the story upon which we believe it is based, the story that you have been promised.
Let us go back some years prior to the day when Snow White was left in the forest. This will let us establish the venue and circumstance of our version of the story, and the events that parallel what we have just read that was written by the Brothers Grimm.
A coal miner and his wife were having money problems. You see, money problems are part of the human condition, even in the 13th century when this tale is set. While the business of mining and selling coal was lucrative during the cold winters, there was a much smaller need for the miner’s product during the warm and hot months. The miner, whose name was Froderich, and his wife, whose name was Helga, sat at their table counting the few coins left in their purse.
“Froderich,” Helga said to her husband, “what are we going to do? We soon won’t have enough money to buy food and pay our taxes. We will go to debtors’ prison, and our lives will lie in ruin.” Helga burst into tears.
Suddenly, there was a loud knocking at their door. Who could it be? Someone coming to buy some coal? The miner rushed to the door and flung it open.
There stood an elderly woman, a grandmotherly type, holding fast to the arm of a small boy who was in tears.
Froderich looked at the woman and the boy, and stepped aside. “Come in, my good woman, sit down and tell us why you are here, and why this child is in tears.”
“Ah, Herr Falkstein, I am Frau Kemp. My husband Gerhard, the blacksmith, was a customer of yours for many years, but has recently passed away.” She wiped a tear from her cheek as Froderich nodded his recognition. “My daughter married well, a dashing soldier in the King’s army, but he was killed in a hunting accident last week.” She wiped a tear from her other cheek. “Alas, my daughter was so distraught that she too passed away, of a broken heart, just two days later.” She wiped a stream of tears from both cheeks. “I was left with their son, Oscar, who is 7. I am too old and frail to care for him. I know that you are good people, and that you do not have any children of your own. I thought that perhaps you would be willing to take little Oscar and raise him as your own. My daughter was granted a stipend from the King’s Army, and it can be yours to use to raise and care for Oscar.” Frau Kemp burst into tears.
“Frau Kemp, please! Do not cry so! This is a strange request you make of us, and it is something that my wife and I will need to discuss. While we have wanted a child of our own, God’s will for us is bent otherwise.”
Froderich turned to Helga, and saw that the decision had been made without his participation. The boy Oscar was being hugged to Helga’s ample bosom, his tears had subsided, and Helga’s expression made it clear to her husband that this was something she wanted.
He turned back to his visitor. “Frau Kemp, this stipend, should you not be using it for yourself?”
“I have enough for my meager needs. Gerhard left me sufficient coins so I will be comfortable until, with the grace of God, I can join him and the Angels in Heaven. If you have the kindness to accept my request and provide Oscar with a loving home, I will deliver a paper to the paymaster of the King’s Army asking that each year’s stipend be delivered to you. In addition, I will give you the first month’s stipend of two gold coins, which I carry in my purse.” She gazed fondly at Oscar, now sitting on Helga’s lap. “He is a good boy, polite and honest, an attentive student, though sad at the loss of his father and of his mother. I am certain that he will be a joy to you and your wife. I ask only that I be able to come and visit with him every fortnight and give him my own love.”
Two gold coins! Froderich was overwhelmed. This was a generous stipend for each month, indeed. Frau Kemp’s son-in-law must have been an important soldier in the King’s Army for his heirs to be provided with such a generous death stipend. It was much more than would be needed to raise Oscar as their son. It would solve their money problems as well. A quick private conversation with Helga, and the deal was agreed to and consummated. Frau Kemp hugged Oscar, softly said her good-byes to him, and took her leave.
Oscar watched his grandmother leaving with a sad expression on his face, but soon brightened as Helga talked to him about what foods he preferred and which he didn’t care for, and the two went out to the kitchen-house and Helga began preparing supper for her family, which now included a son.
Good to Frau Kemp’s word, early the next month a courier delivered a pouch with the balance of the year’s gold coins, fourteen in all, with a document that Froderich and Helga had to sign. They were to receive each following year’s stipend in advance, in January of every year until the year that Oscar reached the age of 19 or, if he was attending the university as a full-time student, until the year that he reached the age of 24. The tax laws in the 13th century were as complex and forbidding as those we have today. But I digress. On with our story!
All went well with Froderich, Helga, and Oscar. Helga taught Oscar reading, writing, history, and geography, and Froderich taught him his numbers and arithmetic and algebra, and they both taught him songs to sing. Oscar showed a particular interest in music, and Froderich went into the storage room and found his father’s lute, still in its case and needing only to be restrung and tuned. Oscar soon became adept at the lute, and provided entertainment for his new family.
After several months, Helga noticed that Oscar was not as happy a boy as before. He seemed distracted during studies, and often sat at the window-seat looking morosely through the pane to the outside. The next time Frau Kemp came to visit Oscar, Helga asked her if the two of them could walk outside to have a private conversation before she left, to which Frau Kemp readily agreed.
“Frau Kemp, I have noticed that Oscar is not as happy as he was just a month ago. Did you find out anything when you visited together today?”
“Yes, I noticed and asked Oscar what is the matter. He told me that he was lonely, that he missed having other boys to play with like he had when he lived with my daughter and his father.”
Helga looked stricken. “Oh, my! I should have realized that. Boys do need other boys for play, don’t they. But we live so far from the town, and it is so isolated here in the hills, there are not many other families about and thus no boys for Oscar to meet. I don’t know what to do. I want Oscar to be happy!”
“Hmm.” Frau Kemp stopped and seemed to be deep in thought for a few minutes. Helga watched her, nervously, thinking that perhaps she would take Oscar back with her so he would be able to play with other boys.
“Helga, I have what you may think is a strange proposition, but it would resolve Oscar’s problem and another as well. There is a boy in a village a league south of where I live who has lost his parents. He is staying with the pastor of the church there, but that is not a satisfactory arrangement. Ivar is a nice boy, very polite and quiet, about a half-year older than Oscar. I knew his grandmother until, God rest her Soul, she passed on to our Maker. The pastor has the best intentions, but no knowledge about raising a boy, who is treated more like a servant, and needs a mother’s love and father’s attention. The pastor is at the end of his leash, and has been seeking a solution to this problem. The parents had a small house and orchard, and the sale of that property provided some money for Ivar’s care. I’m certain the pastor would be more than happy to relinquish his claim to those funds if you were willing to take Ivar.”
Helga looked back at her house, at Oscar sitting in the window, looking forlorn. It broke her heart to see him such, and she turned to Frau Kemp.
“I will, of course, have to talk to Froderich and obtain his agreement. Can you return to the house and visit some more with Oscar? I will go to the mine where Froderich is working and discuss this with him. It will take me about a half-hour, at which time I will return and give you our answer.”
Of course, dear reader, the answer was “yes”. Helga was convincing in debate, and soon Froderich was convinced that this had been his idea all along. He was dispatched with Frau Kemp to retrieve Ivar, and returned with him before nightfall. Ivar was introduced to Oscar, and within a quarter-hour they were playing like they had always been friends. More correctly, it was like they had always been brothers. The funds turned over by the pastor were put in safekeeping. There was no immediate need for them, as the stipend from the King’s Army was more than adequate to cover all of the family’s needs.
Oscar returned to his happy, playful demeanor, and Ivar became a happy and delightful member of the household, and proved himself to be a bright and energetic lad with a mischievous sense of humor that made everyone laugh.
Time passed, and the next spring when the coal business had slowed to its typical non-winter trickle, a very large man of imposing girth arrived at the home of Froderich and Helga. He had in tow, that was the only way to describe it, a boy who looked to be about Ivar’s age, which was then nine years old. The boy was tied with a rope that securely bound his arms to his sides, and went around his waist numerous times.
“Ho, Frau Falkstein, I am Herr Hossmeyer. I bring you a boy for your orphanage!”
Helga stood there, looking from the imposing Herr Hossmeyer to the waif bound securely by the rope that led to the man’s beefy hand.
“Sir, we do not run an orphanage! We have taken in, adopted if you will, two young boys who are now valued members of our household, our sons Oscar and Ivar. We treat them well, unlike what I behold through my unbelieving eyes!” Her gaze bore into Herr Hossmeyer, and, if the old saying “if looks could kill” had been fact instead of aphorism, in a blink Herr Hossmeyer would have been moldering in his grave.
“Pardon, Frau, I apologize for what must seem utterly unseemly to you. This ragamuffin is a thief and a malingerer. When he was found stealing apples from one of my orchards He was assigned to my household staff in order to work off the value of his theft. He has failed to do so! He even destroyed something of mine of some value due to his carelessness. I had heard that you took in orphans, and with that certainty I brought him here as a last resort other than he be sent to prison. But you say that you do not run an orphanage, so it’s off to the cells for him!” He turned, and pulled on the rope so sharply that the boy fell to his knees.
“STAY!” bellowed Helga. “It is not correct to treat another human worse than you would treat a mongrel! Herr Hossmeyer, we do not run an orphanage. But I will not allow you to take this young boy and continue to mistreat him in this manner! What was your intention if we had been running an orphanage? What say you for yourself?”
“Frau, I was going to leave him here to be sequestered so he would not thieve from anyone else. What else would you expect?”
“I would expect that you would leave him here, along with funds to feed and clothe and care for him.”
“Faugh! He is not worth a copper. I would rather deliver him to the prison where he can spend his days reconsidering his evil ways! Leave him along with funds, indeed!”
“Our King is a kind man, and loving of children. My husband knows the King, and for many years has been a trusted purveyor of goods to the castle. A word to him, Herr, and his soldiers will be dispatched to resolve this situation in a manner that you would certainly not find agreeable! You will leave this boy into my care, and you will leave fifty gold coins for his upkeep, or I will dispatch my husband to the castle and you will soon find out what it is like to be sequestered yourself!”
Herr Hossmeyer had never encountered a woman with the strength of purpose and directness of Frau Falkstein. It shook him to the core. She had convinced him that, indeed, her husband had the ear of the King. Herr Hossmeyer was somewhat arrears in his tax payments, and having the King involved would exacerbate that situation, and not in his own favor.
“Frau Falkstein, I cannot afford fifty gold coins! Ten is the most.” Helga interrupted. “Let us not haggle at length, Herr. I will settle, but for twenty-five, not one copper less. Pay up, or it’s off to the castle with our complaint!”
He looked into her eyes, closed his for a moment, and pulled his purse from his belt. “Twenty-five. I can see that you will teach this miscreant well, Frau!” He counted out 25 gold coins, and held them out to her.
Helga took the coins, and with a great show counted them again. “You may take your leave, Herr Hossmeyer. Enjoy your ride home, and wherever that may be your trip should go faster unfettered by this young boy and an overly heavy purse!”
Herr Hossmeyer unwound the rope from the boy, not being particularly gentle, and grumbling to himself and taking his rope, walked to where his horse was tethered and took his leave. Helga watched him, and hoped that she’d never see him again. When he was out of sight, she went to the boy who was still on his knees in the path. She bent down, with some difficulty due to her own ample girth, and placed a kind hand on his shoulder.
“What’s your name?”
“Well, Hans, you are safe here, and will be cared for and loved. Come, let’s get up and bring you to the washhouse and get you cleaned up.”
Both stood, and Helga decided that Hans was about the same size as Ivar. She smiled at him, and he cautiously smiled back. It was a major change from the way adults had always treated him, and he was still suspicious. Helga led him to the washhouse.
“How old are you, Hans?”
“Not sure, I think about eleven years.”
“Where are you from?”
“Where are your parents?”
“Don’t know. I never knew my parents.”
“Oh, you poor boy! Where have you been staying?”
“I was a stable-hand for a Lord in Grathgar. That’s where I was raised since I was a babe. I slept in the stables with the horses.”
“How long were you there?”
“Forever, I guess. That’s the only place I can remember.”
“How did you get involved with Herr Hossmeyer?”
Hans blushed. “I can’t tell you.” He burst into tears. “You’d throw me out.”
“Nonsense! What could a young boy of eleven have done that would make me throw him out? Never! Please, Hans, tell me what happened. I promise that I will not throw you out.”
Through his sobs, Hans told his story.
“The Lord had a son, a boy two years older than me. I’d see him almost every day when he’d go riding. He was always nice to me, and soon we started talking and became friends. Very good friends. That was a very happy time for me. Garan was nice, and soon...” Hans started crying again.
Helga hugged Hans, and softly rubbed his back. “Now, Hans, please continue.”
“Garan liked me. Really liked me. And me, him. We were best friends. He arranged that I’d go riding with him, the excuse he gave was that I’d be there to rescue him if his horse threw him. The real reason was... was...” He looked at Helga and blushed. “was... we’d, uh, touch each other, our privates, and pleasure each other.” Again, the tears flowed down his cheeks, this time unabated.
“Hans, I have many brothers. When I was a girl I found out how boys play with each other that way. It’s all right. It’s normal for boys to do that. Please, continue. What happened?”
Hans was relieved that Helga wasn’t revolted by the idea of boys playing with each other in that way. Despite that, he looked at her, somewhat ashamed. “We did lots of things together. Garan had done it with other boys, and he, uh, showed me what to do. I liked it a lot, and so did Garan. One week it was raining, and we couldn’t go riding. After a few days Garan came to the stable anyway. He said he missed me, and wanted to do things. I was afraid, too many people were around, but Garan said he knew a hidden place. We were there, uh...” Hans stopped and blushed, and Helga gave a smile convincing him to continue, “we were there without any clothes on, and someone must have seen us. They must have called Garan’s father, because he caught us.
“They threw me out. They said I had been the one to make Garan do those things, that I had corrupted him. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t want Garan to get into more trouble. I had no place to go, no place to live, no food to eat. I walked for two days. I was hungry, and I saw this apple tree that had a branch sticking out over the road. I reached up and took three apples to eat. Herr Hossmeyer was out riding, I guess he saw me, he rode up and grabbed me and took me back to his scullery where he said I’d have to work off the cost of his apples, one week for each apple. After a week I dropped a plate and it broke, and was told by the scullery maid, who didn’t like me, that I’d have to work for another three weeks to pay off the cost of the plate.” Hans started crying. “I wasn’t given anything except uncooked potato peelings to eat, and had to work from sunrise until everyone else in Herr Hossmeyer’s service went to bed before I could sleep. Finally the scullery maid complained to Herr Hossmeyer that I wasn’t doing any work. It was a lie, but he believed her. Then he brought me here.”
Hans started crying again, and Helga pulled him to her bosom. “It’s not going to be like that here, Hans. You clean yourself here in the washhouse, I’ll get you some clean clothes, then something to eat, and you’ll meet Oscar and Ivar, our sons, who are a little younger than you. You’re going to be part of our family now.”
Hans couldn’t believe his ears. He’d never been treated well, and it was such a strange sensation. This lady seemed like someone he’d dreamt about, maybe it was his mother in his dreams, someone loving and caring. And this lady didn’t care that he’d done those thing with another boy.
Froderich was surprised to find the new boy sitting at the dinner table that evening next to Oscar and Ivar. Helga explained about Herr Hossmeyer and Hans, and Hans and Garan, and Garan’s father, and that caused Froderich to grind his teeth in anger. Some people were not good citizens; they didn’t treat others with kindness. Froderich was a kind man, and those who were not made him mad. So, Hans was accepted as a member of the Falkstein household, and the three boys all got along famously.
The word spread about the Falkstein household, the three young boys they had taken in, adopted into their own family, if you will. In particular, the story about Hans, that he’d been taken in despite what he’d done with Garan, and that Helga and Froderich didn’t seem to care about that at all. As a result, from time to time someone would bring a boy to the Falkstein’s, a boy who was like Hans, because of which his parents no longer wanted him, and he would be added to the Falkstein family. Eventually there were seven boys, all close in age, all lavishing in the love and attention and schooling that they received from Helga and Froderich.
As they got older, and boys being boys, they started to do things with each other, to experiment, doing things like what Hans had done with Garan. Eventually they all paired off, and their relationships deepened.
“Aha,” you say, “how can they all pair off if there are seven of them, eh?”
Well, obviously, one wasn’t part of a pair. And you might be surprised to hear that it was Hans, possibly because he was a little older than the other boys.
Now, in the 13th century, the terms we use today for boys who like boys, boys who pair up with boys, were not in use. The term “gay” meant something else entirely, it meant “being very happy”. But we’re not living in the 13th century, so we can use that term for these boys. And since this is our version of the fairy tale, we’re going to do so. The boys were gay. All seven of them.
“Hold on, wait a minute,” you say. “What about the dwarfs? Where are Sleepy and Happy and Grumpy and all the rest that we’ve come to know?”
First, if you read the fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm, you won’t find dwarfs who have cutesy names. You will find that they don’t have names at all. Those names were an invention, added by Walt Disney for the 1937 animated motion picture “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
Second, in our version of the fairy tale there are no dwarfs at all. Instead it is based on the tale of the Falkstein family, Froderich and Helga, and their seven boys, gay boys. The tale that we are telling you is the tale that we believe was the inspiration for the Brothers Grimm, even if they left out and changed some of the details.
OK, back to our story.
Now it is a few years later. As we know, Snow White was allowed to escape by the huntsman, and she found a little house and went inside. What happened then, especially since we’ve excised the dwarfs and replaced them with seven boys, gay boys, who were a few years older than Snow White herself?
Helga was in the washing-house, washing clothes. This is something that took a lot of time, what with having seven boys! Not to mention a husband who spent his days in the mine, mining coal, and whose clothes were usually covered in coal dust!
The seven boys were in the house, studying. When Snow White walked in it caused a great commotion, you can be guaranteed! “Hi, who are you?” the boys called out in unison.
Snow White didn’t know what to say. Who were these boys? She had lived a rather sheltered life in the castle, and boys were kept away from her. Maybe, more correctly, she was kept away from boys. On reflection, it was probably both. Whatever. So Snow White didn’t have much experience with boys. They crowded around her, asking all kinds of questions, all talking at once. Such a cacophony! It made her very confused. She’d been taken into the forest to be killed by the huntsman at the order of the wicked Queen. She’d been allowed to escape, was chased by wild animals, scratched by brambles, tripped by roots. All in all it had been a rather horrible day. She hadn’t eaten, and was hungry. She hadn’t anything to drink, and was thirsty. And she was tired, ever so tired. Snow White sat down on the floor, in the middle of the circle of boys, and burst into tears.
If Snow White had been sheltered from boys on purpose, the seven Falkstein boys, gay boys, had been sheltered from girls by circumstance. The boys had few friends other than themselves, and none of them were girls. So they didn’t know what to think when Snow White sat down on the floor and burst into tears.
Helga finished in the washing-house and was about to go to the garden to pick some vegetables for dinner when she heard the commotion in the house. She rushed in to see what was the matter.
“Oh, my, what is this! Who is this girl? Why is she crying?” She let her steely gaze wave across the boys, stopping accusingly at each in turn, much to their discomfort. “What have you done to her to make her cry?”
As one, the boys all started to answer. “Please, boys, only one of you answer. When you all talk at the same time it makes my poor old head ache. You, Hans, answer my questions!”
“Mother, we have done nothing to this girl! We were sitting here, at the table, doing our studies. She burst in, and when we asked who she was, and why she was here, she sat on the floor where you see her and began crying as you see her doing!”
Helga knew that Hans was always an honest boy, and she believed him. She looked at the girl, then at her seven boys, her gay boys.
“Shoo, shoo! Go out to the garden and pick some vegetables for our dinner, all of you! Let me talk to this girl and find out why she has come visiting. Go!”
With that the boys went out, though reluctantly, because if there’s anything besides hormones that boys of an age have in abundance, it’s curiosity. But, they were good boys, and they did as Frau Falkstein demanded.
Once alone with the girl, Helga began to question her. “Tell me, my dear girl, where are you from and how did you get here?”
Between sobs the girl told about how her stepmother, the wicked Queen, had tried to kill her, how the huntsman had spared her life, and how she had run the entire day, finally coming to their house. She said that she was afraid that the wicked Queen would find her and try to kill her again. Her father the King wouldn’t believe her if she said the wicked Queen was trying to kill her. At best he wasn’t the brightest tooth on a gear, he was under the spell of the wicked Queen, and he paid his daughter no attention. And now she had no place to go, no place to stay. Snow White once again burst into tears.
This sad, sordid tale that she told caused Helga to bristle with anger and tear up with sadness. “My dear, there’s no need to cry or to fear for your future. if you wish you can stay with us, and you can live here as if you were our daughter. Our sons are all adopted, and we love them dearly the same as if they had issued from our loins.” Helga blushed after making this rather risqué statement, but the girl seemed to not understand. “My dear, what is your name and how old are you?”
“I am called Snow White. I am thirteen years old. My father is the king of Bornholm, a kingdom to the north of here. You seem so nice, saying that I can stay here with you. I hope that way the wicked Queen won’t be able to find me.”
So, Snow White became a member of the Falkstein family, joining Froderich, Helga, and the seven boys, gay boys. Snow White didn’t know about gay boys, she thought that it meant that they were very happy. And they were! Very happy! All except Hans, of course. Time passed, and Snow White realized that she’d never been so happy in her life. She did not miss her father much, he’d been cold and aloof. But best of all it was good being away from the wicked Queen!
To reassure her, Helga would tell Snow White that she was safe in the Falkstein’s home, and she would do so on a regular basis and with great confidence, and that made Snow White feel safe and happy.
But Helga and Snow White did not know about the magic mirror that the wicked Queen had hidden in her chambers. Let us return for a moment to the kingdom to the north, and see what was happening.
Now the wicked Queen, believing that she had eaten Snow White’s lungs and liver, could only think that she was again the first and the most beautiful woman of all. At long last, some weeks later her husband, the King, left on a hunting trip, giving her an opportunity to consult the magic mirror. She stepped before her mirror and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Now who in this land is fairest of all?
You, my Queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow White, living with a coal miner and his wife,
Is still a thousand times fairer than you.
This startled the Wicked Queen, for she knew that the mirror did not lie, and she realized that the huntsman had deceived her, and that Snow White was still alive. Then she thought, and thought again, how she could kill Snow White, for as long as long as she was not the most beautiful woman in the entire land her envy would give her no rest. First she had to find Snow White. She rued the day that she had decided to save a bag of gold coins by purchasing the basic version magic mirror, instead of the advanced version which had more deductive powers and could have told her the exact location of Snow White.
So, she sent her trusted minions, both of them, to scour the country, looking for a coal miner and his wife, with whom Snow White was apparently living and in revoltingly good health. She also attempted to find the huntsman, but he, having feared for his life after letting Snow White escape, had moved on to a much better position in another kingdom, far, far away.
Many months went by, and finally one of the wicked Queen’s minions returned with the news that he had found where Snow White was staying. It was in the next kingdom to the south, over the mountains, a long and difficult journey by foot. He complained that he had developed corns and bunions and blisters and calluses on his feet going there and returning.
Livid at her minion’s impertinence (why should she care about his foot problems!), the wicked Queen cuffed him and demanded that he draw her a map showing how to get to the coal miner’s house. She would go there herself, wait until Snow White was alone, and with her sharpest dagger kill her herself. Despite the cuffing, which still stung, the minion, knowing which side of his bread the butter was on, told the wicked Queen that it wouldn’t be so easy. The coal miner and his wife had seven adopted sons, gay sons, strapping teenagers, who would impede the Wicked Queen and prevent her from carrying out such a mission. He recommended that she go in disguise, and use poison instead of a dagger to dispatch Snow White.
Good advice, even from an impertinent minion, is good advice, and the wicked Queen decided to heed his warning and take his advice. She spent weeks researching poisons, and methods of application. The King, who really didn’t pay much attention to anything other than his hunting, and hadn’t noticed that Snow White was missing from the castle, and probably wouldn’t have cared if he had noticed, saw that his wife, the wicked Queen (of course, he didn’t think of her as wicked!), was deep in study and realized that it would make it easier for him to go on hunting trips because she didn’t seem to notice his presence or absence. Some wonderful marriage, wasn’t it? But, again, I digress.
The wicked Queen had a nasty streak. She liked suffering. Of course, she didn’t want to suffer, she just liked to see others suffer. She had found the instructions for making a poison, a type of sleeping potion that would render its victim unconscious for a very long time, and anyone beholding the victim would certainly think that person had died, and would arrange to have them buried. The wicked Queen cackled at the thought of Snow White, not really dead, being buried in the earth. Good riddance! (See, I told you she had a nasty streak!)
The wicked Queen arranged for her two minions to gather the ingredients necessary for the potion. This took many months, as some of the ingredients were not available in their kingdom, one being a certain type of frog the blood of which was the primary ingredient. The minions had to travel far and wide to obtain everything needed. The recipe was simple enough, given the right ingredients, and she made up a charka’s worth, that’s about 6 ounces in our system of measurement.
Next she needed to test the potion, and make sure the amount would put Snow White to sleep but not kill her. The idea of Snow White being buried alive had totally consumed the wicked Queen. She thought about using her minions as guinea pigs, but thought better of it when she realized that she’d have to advertise for, interview, and hire new minions, and deal with the castle’s Human Relations Department. So, she found a goat-herder from whom she purchased several young goats for testing, each of which was of approximately the same weight as Snow White. The potion was very strong, and a dram, about 1/8th of an ounce, turned out to be precisely the right amount.
Now, how would the potion be given to Snow White? It was a liquid, so it could be administered in a liquid. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be added to water because it was a very dark purple color, and the discolored water would be highly suspicious. Suddenly the wicked Queen had the solution! Plums! Purple plums would hide the color, they were very juicy so the added liquid wouldn’t be noticed, and plums were delicious and rare and thus a special treat that Snow White wouldn’t be able to resist. The minions were once again dispatched, and returned in an hour with a lug of plums purchased at the Sunday farmer’s market in Civic Park just outside the castle walls.
The wicked Queen decided to disguise herself so she would look like an old hag. She packed a bottle containing the potion, a syringe to inject the dose into a plum, and other miscellaneous supplies. She decided to bring the entire lug of plums, and offer them to the boys, complete with a dram of potion in each. That would eliminate the seven boys, gay boys, as well. The wicked Queen was also a homophobe who believed that the world would be better off without any gay boys, and most assuredly without seven of them.
It was a long trip to the house where Snow White, the coal miner and his wife, and the seven boys, gay boys, lived. The wicked Queen decided to go alone, not fully trusting her minions. Now, an old hag should have walked because she wouldn’t have the money for a horse. But the wicked Queen thought, “I’m a Queen, for God’s sake! I don’t walk, I have minions to walk for me! But since I can’t use them for this job, I’ll have to do it myself. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to walk all that way, it would take over a week, I’m going to ride and it’ll be easier and faster.”
The wicked Queen set off the next morning, and by the end of the day had arrived in the general neighborhood of where Snow White, the coal miner and his wife, and the seven boys, gay boys, lived. She found a rude inn, and spent an uncomfortable night, bothered by bedbugs and fleas, and loud noises from the barroom below. The next morning she prepared a dozen plums, injecting each of them with no more or less than a dram of the potion, and carefully placed them in a canvas bag. Then, carrying the bag which was much heavier than she had expected, she walked from the inn to the coal miner’s house.
When she arrived, the seven boys, gay boys, were playing games outside. When they saw her they yelled, “Oh, look at the ugly old hag!” and began pestering her. Helga had gone into the village for provisions and Froderich was at the mine, leaving only Snow White to intercede.
“Boys! You shouldn’t bother a poor old lady!” Admonished, six of the seven boys went inside the house. Only Hans remained outside with Snow White.
“Dearie,” the wicked Queen croaked. (Having taken some acting classes when she was in high school, she was doing a good job of pretending to be an old hag.) “I have some lovely plums from a tree in my garden. I’m selling them, please buy some, they’re only one copper each!”
Snow White looked at Hans, who shrugged his shoulders and addressed the old hag. “I’m sorry, Frau, but neither of us have any money. If you can come back later, our mother will return in several hours and may be interested in buying some of your plums.”
’Dang,’ thought the wicked Queen. ’What do I do now?’ Then she got an idea, an idea as evil as her personality.
“I will come back, but let me give each of you one to taste so you can tell your mother how delicious my plums are. They are perfectly ripe, and extra juicy.” She had to suppress a cackle. This was so clever, so very funny!
Snow White smiled, and the wicked Queen held out two poisoned plums and Snow White took them, and gave one to Hans.
Taking a small bite of hers, Snow White looked at the old hag, the wicked Queen. “Thank you, Frau! They do seem delicious. We will tell our mother when she gets home.”
“Thank you, dearie. Tell your mother that I’ll return and she can buy some more. If she wants to.” The wicked Queen then did cackle, which made Hans’ shiver. He looked down at the plum in his hand, and then back up to see the old hag disappearing down the road, moving much faster than what you’d expect from someone so old. Looking once again at the plum in his hand, he noticed a small puncture in the skin, and dark purple liquid was oozing out. He turned to Snow White.
“Don’t eat that plum!”
Snow White turned toward him, the now mostly-eaten plum in her hand. “Why not? This ish a deeelisheeeous plummm.” With that, she dropped what was left of her plum and, as if in slow motion, crumpled to the ground.
“Oh, Snow White!” Hans dropped his plum and rushed to her, picked her up, and carried her into the house, to her room. Lying on her bed, she looked like she was sleeping. Her eyes were closed. The corners of her mouth were slightly turned up, as if she was smiling. But it didn’t appear to Hans that she was breathing.
“Oscar, Ivar, anyone!” Hans called out for his brothers.
Ivar ran into the room. “What’s the matter, Hans?”
“An old hag came by with plums, and gave one to Snow White and one to me, Snow White ate most of hers and collapsed. It must have been poisoned, and the old hag must have been the wicked Queen! Go into the yard and get the two plums you’ll see there so no one is tempted to eat them. Ask someone to go into the village and get Mother, and someone to run to the mine to get Father. Hurry!” Ivar ran from the room.
Hans picked up Snow Whites hand. It was as cold as ice. “Oh, God, please don’t let her die! Please let her stay with us! We all love Snow White as our sister!” Then he broke into sobs, and rubbed Snow White’s hand as if he could bring back her warmth and life.
The doctor, the apothecary, even the veterinarian were called to see if they could find out what poison had been given to Snow White. They didn’t have a clue. The Falkstein household was in disarray, they were grieving because it appeared that Snow White was dead. They were furious that the wicked Queen had done this right under their collective noses.
Back in her castle, the wicked Queen once again went to her magic mirror.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?
To this the mirror answered:
With Snow White comatose,
You, my Queen, are fairest of all.
“Oh, JOY!” shouted the wicked Queen. She danced a little jig, ripped open her pillow and tossed goose down about her room, and hummed little tunes. She was SO happy! She spied the lug of plums, sitting next to her bedside. Aha, just what she needed, a delicious plum! She laughed, a maniacal laugh. Oh, this was so appropriate! She would eat one of the plums that she didn’t poison, enjoy its juicy goodness, while Snow White lay in apparent death from eating one of the plums that she did poison. She bit into the fruit, and some of the juice ran down her chin. Delicious! Several more bites, and the plum was finished. It was so good that she decided to have another. They were wonderful!
It had been a grueling effort, and the wicked Queen laughed, then yawned. She was tired, and needed a nap, so she got in bed and closed her eyes.
A little later, the wicked Queen’s minions came to find out how the deed had worked out. Seeing the wicked Queen apparently napping, one turned to the other, “She’s sleeping. Let’s not disturb her.”
“Fine with me. I like her better when she’s sleeping. Less work. Oh, by the way, when she got back she left a bag of those plums in the stable. I put them in with the rest.” He pointed to the lug of plums by the side of the bed. The two minions tip-toed out of the room, unaware that two plums had been eaten by the wicked Queen. Two plums containing the potion. One plum wouldn’t have been enough to have the same effect on her that it did on Snow White; the wicked Queen was heavier than the young girl. But two were irreversibly effective. She was in the same comatose state as Snow White.
The King, who, let us repeat, wasn’t the brightest spring in the clockworks, would come in to see his Queen, who we know as the wicked Queen, and she was always napping. This didn’t bother the King. Fortunately, Snow White inherited her mental acuity from her mother, not from her father the King. Anyway, he didn’t notice anything amiss, and in fact he was pleased because he could go hunting whenever he wanted without the Queen badgering him.
So, we are finished with the part played by the wicked Queen. So sad? No, not at all! Like the wicked Queen had, herself, said earlier, good riddance!
Back at the Falkstein house several days passed, and it was obvious that Snow White wasn’t dead. There was no sign of decomposition, the color in her cheeks and lips stayed as bright as ever. According to the doctor, this must have been some sort of sleeping potion, a very powerful one. What was needed was a wizard, one who specialized in potions. Or even a prince, one who might kiss Snow White and awaken her. Just like in fairy tales.
Fairy tales? In the 13th century? You question this statement? But of course they had fairy tales in the 13th century! Maybe not readable on the Internet like this one, or printed in colorful books like a child has today, but they did have fairy tales, they were part of the rich verbal literature of the time. Fairy tales which were told to children, who in turn would tell them to their children. But again, I digress.
Word spread about Snow White. People, even in the 13th century, loved a good tale, and loved it even more if there was intrigue and a beautiful princess and a handsome prince.
A steady stream of “experts” came to see Snow White. None were successful is rousing her from her death-like slumber.
Did a steady stream of princes arrive, each eager to kiss Snow White to wake her and ride off with her into the sunset? No, that didn’t happen. Princes were more interested in princesses who were alive and awake, not in those who had been given a sleeping potion for which no one knew an antidote.
Perhaps there was no steady stream of princes, but there was one prince. Prince Hedwig. He came from a small principality, one of relatively minor importance, that was over 30 leagues from where Snow White lay comatose. If he went directly, it would take him several days to arrive in the vicinity of the kingdom where the Falkstein house and Snow White were located. He knew of the sleeping potion, and how in fairy tales the prince ends up with the beautiful princess. And he had heard that Snow White was very beautiful, unlike all the princesses he knew who lived nearby his principality. This would be a quest, a most wonderful quest!
Now, most princes have a phalanx of followers-on. Prince Hedwig did not travel with any. But he realized that he should have some companions with him when he arrived to rouse Snow White, if for nothing else, for show. However, there were more important reasons he needed some particular companions to join him.
Prince Hedwig’s most important companion would be a wizard who was an expert in potions. He knew of one such person, Kedrigern, a famous wizard who even had tales written about his exploits (which he wrote himself, we now know, using a nom de plume). Kedrigern lived in the deep forest several leagues from Prince Hedwig’s castle. So the Prince’s first stop was to enlist Kedrigern’s aid. Now, getting a wizard to travel on such a quest would be almost impossible; wizards are notoriously unsociable. But Prince Hedwig had an ace up his sleeve, so to say. Kedrigern’s wife, Princess (that’s her name, Princess), was a distant cousin of Prince Hedwig. Using the wiles of his cousin, who was an easy push-over when there was a girl in trouble, Prince Hedwig was successful it getting the wizard he needed. Despite Kedrigern’s continuous grumbling about the discomforts of travel, they set off.
His other important companion would be a trusted advisor, someone Prince Hedwig could confide in with alacrity. He knew of one such person, Lord Garan, another cousin who lived alone following the recent death of his father who had been attacked by a bear while hunting. Prince Hedwig felt that Garan needed to get away and do something different to get over his father’s death, and this quest was perfect.
Despite further grumbling by Kedrigern, who was somewhat mollified by the quality of the food and beds at Garan’s castle, Prince Hedwig, Kedrigern, Princess, and Garan spent several days planning how they would approach the problem of Snow White. Kedrigern was concerned about the poison used since they had no knowledge whatsoever about its composition.
Prince Hedwig and his retinue then proceeded to the home of the Falksteins and Snow White. Shortly they arrived (actually, it took several days travel accompanied by the constant grousing of Kedrigern). Prince Hedwig walked to the door and knocked. Oscar opened the door, and looked with a startled expression at the Prince, who was wearing his finest uniform, royal blue with white and gold bunting, and then at the impressive company assembled behind him.
“Father, Father, come quick! To the door!”
Froderich quickly appeared, followed by Helga, and then, with the exception of Hans who had remained at the bedside of Snow White, by the rest of their seven sons, their gay sons. All of the Falksteins seemed stunned by those standing outside their door.
Helga was the first to recover her senses. “Come in, come in, dear Prince! I am Frau Helga Falkstein, this is my husband Froderich, and these are our dear sons, Oscar, Luke, Ivar.” Prince Hedwig interrupted, “Dear lady, Frau Falkstein, please! We can perform all of our introductions later. There is only one person here of great import, and that is,” the Prince turned and ushered Kedrigern to the front, “Kedrigern, a wizard of wide repute and extensive knowledge about potions. We are here to see if he can prepare an anti-potion so Snow White can be cured of this terrible malady. Our intentions are honorable. I have made the recovery of Snow White a personal quest.”
Froderich reached out and grabbed Kedrigern by the hand and began shaking it in both of his. “Welcome to our home. Come in, come in, all of you, and we will direct you to where Snow White sleeps a sleep like death, a sleep from which she does not wake.”
Everyone moved back to allow Froderich to lead Kedrigern to Snow White’s bedroom. Helga held out her arm, barring the others. “Please, stay here. Leave the great wizard space to conduct his examination of Snow White.”
Kedrigern and Froderich joined Hans at Snow White’s bedside. The great wizard felt Snow White’s wrist and neck for a pulse, her forehead for a temperature, and even tickled the bottom of her feet to see if that would elicit a reaction. He inspected her tongue and teeth, her fingernails, the palms of her hands, the inside of her ears, a very thorough examination, indeed. Hans was uncomfortable watching the wizard ministering to Snow White, but found it fascinating nonetheless.
Kedrigern turned to Hans. “Do you know anything about what Snow White ate just before she lapsed into this state?”
“Yes, sir. An old hag came to us selling plums. They looked wonderful, but since Mother wasn’t here and we didn’t have any money, we told her she’d have to come back. She gave a plum to Snow White and one to me. I noticed that there was a puncture in mine, and purple juice was oozing out of the hole. I called out to Snow White to not eat the plum, but she already had, and collapsed onto the ground almost immediately.” Hans burst into tears. “The old hag must have been the wicked Queen! I should have stopped her. It’s my fault!”
“No, no, my boy! It’s not your fault! You had no way of knowing. However, you have given me a clue, a very valuable clue, about what poison the wicked Queen used. There’s a frog that lives in cold climes, and it can be frozen solid, with no heartbeat, then survive once warmed. The blood of this frog contains a constituent that allows this to happen. If enough of this constituent is extracted from the blood of these frogs, it can be used to produce a condition similar to what we see has happened to Snow White. The constituent, when extracted and combined with preserving elixirs, is a dark purple color, not unlike the color of the flesh of a ripe purple plum. But the juice of a ripe purple plum is only slightly purple. Tell me, boy...” Hans interrupted, “My name is Hans, sir.” “...um, yes, Hans, tell me, what did the juice you saw look like?”
“It was dark purple, and sort of oily, like the oil we put in a lamp, but darker and very purple in color.”
Kedrigern smiled, a knowing smile. This was the part of wizardry that he particularly enjoyed!
“Hans, here’s what I’m going to need. Can you write?” Hans assumed a self-satisfied smirk, not unlike that of teenagers everywhere and of every time, and nodded in the affirmative. He went to the writing-desk across from Snow White’s bed, retrieved a slate and chalk, and assumed a position showing that he was ready to scribe. Kedrigern grinned to himself, and listed off a number of herbs and plants, all of which he was certain would be found on or near the Falkstein property. When he finished, he sent Hans to fetch the items.
Hans ran from the room, through the common room, and out the door. As he passed through, he got a glimpse of a person, a teenaged boy, who seemed, perhaps, familiar. But, being intent on the task he’d been assigned by the wizard, he discarded that thought and proceeded to gather several of his brothers who were in the front of the house, and had them join him.
Back in the common room, Lord Garan thought about the boy he’d glimpsed running through the common room a moment before. He’d stood, by reflex instead of purposeful thought, and now looked at the door which was now closed. He, like Hans, had a brief moment of recognition, a moment that passed, as the running boy had passed outside.
We, dear reader, know that this is the Hans and the Garan who knew each other, shall we say, intimately, as we learned earlier when Hans was brought to the Falkstein household by Herr Hossmeyer. Now we can sit back and watch for their eventual meeting.
Back outside Hans and the other boys he had press-ganged into joining him on the task set by Kedrigern were nearly finished, the garden cress was the only ingredient that remained to be obtained. It was Ivar who located it in his mother’s vegetable garden. With everything at hand, they all returned to the house and entered.
Hans, upon entering the common room, saw someone who looked like Garan but older, in deep conversation with the Prince. Hans was torn between two opposite desires. One was to continue to Snow White’s bedroom with his brothers and watch Kedrigern attempt to revive his sister. The other was to rush across the room and, if this was Garan, grab him in a hug and never let him go. Familial duty won out, and Hans, unnoticed by Garan, continued through the room to the back of the house where Snow White slept a sleep like death.
Kedrigern assembled the ingredients for an anti-potion. He was certain, or mostly certain, that it would revive Snow White. But the room held seven boys, gay boys, who were talking among themselves and creating a diversion that the wizard didn’t need while he was trying to concentrate on the task of making his anti-potion.
“Herr Falkstein, why don’t you and your boys, all except Hans who I’d like to have stay here, go get the Prince and my wife Princess? I would appreciate it very much. Then perhaps you can entertain the others so they don’t try to come in and disturb me in my work. All right?” He smiled at Froderich (who had become something of a nuisance) and the boys, and they exited quickly. In less than a minute Prince Hedwig and Princess joined Kedrigern and Hans. And, of course, they joined Snow White as well, who, being comatose, was totally unaware of these goings on.
Kedrigern closed the bedroom door and continued his task. In a very few minutes he looked up, and rubbed his hands together. “I’ve prepared an anti-potion. If I’m right about the origin of the potion that put Snow White into her comatose slumber, this will waken her within a few minutes. Recognize that she will be groggy, she has been under the spell of the potion for several weeks now. I would expect her to be herself in not much more than an hour. Also note that this might not work. That’s why I wanted only the three of you here. I wanted you, Princess, because you can discern when, or if not, Snow White comes out of her sleep. I wanted you, Prince Hedwig, because you organized this quest. I wanted you, Hans, because you are close to Snow White, a family member, who I see as one who will understand if things do not go as I expect.”
Hans looked at Kedrigern. “But, sir, shouldn’t my mother and father be here?”
“Hans, I’d rather they not be. If things do not proceed to a successful conclusion, in other words, if Snow White does not waken, I’d rather not have them here to have their hopes dashed before their very eyes.” The wizard looked at the boy. “I think you understand that, don’t you, son?”
Hans thought for a few seconds. What the wizard said made sense, and this was what was best for his parents. “Yes, sir, I understand and agree.”
Kedrigern took his anti-potion to Snow White’s bedside, and sat down. He had a small pipette that he had filled with a sour smelling dark green colored mixture with a particularly revolting appearance, something Hans decided he wouldn’t ever want to ingest. The wizard eased the tip of the pipette past Snow White’s red lips and white teeth and into her mouth, then allowed the contents to slowly drip onto her tongue. Nothing happened. After several minutes, Hans was certain that the anti-potion had failed.
“Watch!” Princess exclaimed, pointing to Snow White. “She’s about to waken!”
Everyone in the room moved more closely to Snow White’s bed, and expectantly hovered, waiting for something to happen.
“Now, look at her eyelids!” Princess was obviously more discerning than the others, even perhaps Kedrigern.
It was true, Snow White’s eyelids were starting to flutter, if ever so slightly. Hans, who had been holding one of Snow White’s death-cold hands, noticed that it was warming, and he exclaimed, “She’s warming up!”
It took another half-hour, but at the end of that time Snow White had wakened enough to demand water, which she drank, and to request that she be moved so she was sitting up in bed. She still couldn’t speak clearly, her throat was not yet fully cooperative.
Prince Hedwig elbowed Hans out of his way and sat on the bed, taking Snow White’s hand in both of his own. They looked at each other for many long minutes, and Prince Hedwig leaned down and kissed Snow White on the lips, ever so softly. Princess whispered to Kedrigern, “I think they’re in love, my dear, much like you and I.”
Kedrigern broke his gaze from the happy couple. “Hans, it’s time for you to fetch your parents and bring them here. While you are doing that, I will explain to Snow White what had befallen her, and how she had been roused from her sleep.”
Hans nodded, and opened the bedroom door. The hall outside was crowded with Falkstein family members. Hans explained that Snow White was, indeed, recovering from the effects of the potion which elicited a loud cheer, then he allowed his mother and father to enter, and, holding back his brothers, closed the door. “Please wait here in the hall until the wizard says you can enter. I don’t think he wants Snow White to have too much excitement all at once.”
Hans had seen enough, he knew that Snow White had been roused from being nearly dead, and that she would be fine. He also knew that Prince Hedwig and Snow White were likely to become a couple, which meant that she would be leaving the Falkstein household to live in Prince Hedwig’s castle. He also knew that was as it should be, for Snow White was a Princess, and she shouldn’t continue to live with a coal miner and his family, a family with seven boys, gay boys.
Hans stepped into the common room, and looked around to see if it was, indeed, Garan who he’d seen earlier. Suddenly he was grabbed from behind, in a hug that almost took his breath away.
“Oh, Hans, I’ve found you!”
Hans turned his head, and saw that it was none other than his Garan who held him in a hug!
“Garan, it was you that I spied earlier! I can’t believe it! What are you doing here? How did you get here?” Hans had turned inside Garan’s arms and put his arms around his best friend, his boyfriend. The two boys looked in each others eyes, and each saw love in the other’s gaze.
“My father was out hunting, and he shot a bear. But the bear was not killed, just stunned. So, when he went to cut off the tail to prove his kill, the bear objected and attacked and killed my father.”
“Oh, Garan, I’m so sorry! When did this happen? How have you been getting along?”
“It was about three months ago, and I’m fine. You know that my father and I didn’t get along. So, I’m now Lord Garan, having inherited my father’s Lordship and his lands and castle. My cousin Prince Hedwig asked me to join him on his quest, and that is how I am here. And now I have found you!” Suddenly, Garan looked stricken. “If you’ll have me, Hans, if you’ll join me.” One tear trickled out of each of his eyes and down his cheeks.
“Oh, Garan, I love you so much! Why wouldn’t I want to join you? I know my wonderful family, the Falksteins, those who rescued me, will give their consent!” With that, Hans pulled Garan to him and kissed him on the lips. First, tenderly, then passionately. When they finally pulled apart, they heard clapping and then laughter. It was Hans’ six brothers, six gay brothers, standing around them, smiling at them, holding each others hands.
Oscar spoke up. “Brother Hans, it looks like at long last you have found your partner! Someone to love and to be loved by. We are all so happy for you! This is such a wonderful day! Snow White has been rescued from the poison the wicked Queen gave her, she and Prince Hedwig are looking goo-goo eyed at each other, and you have found your Garan who you’ve told us so much about.”
Hans and Garan hugged and kissed some more, then sat and Hans told Garan his story about what had happened after Garan’s father had sent him away, his problems with Herr Hossmeyer, and his rescue by the Falksteins.
Later, Helga and Froderich joined the rest of the family in the common room and met Lord Garan, and were pleased with him and agreed that he would make a wonderful son-in-law. Kedrigern and Princess expressed their happiness and wished the two boys good luck, and secretly Kedrigern placed a good luck spell on them both. Snow White recovered sufficiently to sip some of Helga’s broth, and later she and Prince Hedwig came to the common room and joined in the congratulations.
Prince Hedwig asked Froderich and Helga for the hand of Snow White, and, while they were not her mother or father, they granted their approval. Prince Hedwig and Snow White then received the congratulations of one and all. Secretly Kedrigern placed a good luck spell on them as well.
Back in the kingdom to the north, Snow White’s real father continued his hunting expeditions, still oblivious to the fact that the wicked Queen was lying in a comatose sleep, never to recover.
Prince Hedwig and Princess Snow White were married by Frau Kemp’s pastor and returned to their principality, which they ruled with great love for and from their subjects.
Hans and Lord Garan moved into Garan’s castle in Grathgar, and lived and loved and were happy together for the rest of their lives.
Kedrigern and Princess returned to their forest home, where they shared the many adventures that awaited them, to be regaled in stories about the wizard and his beautiful wife, stories with which many of you may be familiar.
Froderich and Helga Falkstein continued the pleasant life they had been living, with their now six sons, six gay sons, who grew into manhood and, living paired as they had been since their early teen years, populated a small village of their own on the Falkstein property. These three sets of gay partners followed the example of their adoptive parents and took in boys, many of whom were gay, many of whom were not, and raised them as their own.
So, like all good fairy tales, we end this tale with a traditional closing:
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing!
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This story is Copyright © 2007-2009 by Colin Kelly. It cannot be reproduced without express written consent. The Codey’s World web site (www.codeysworld.com) has written permission to publish this story. No other rights are granted.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story contains occasional references to consensual sex between minors. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG13 (in a more enlightened time it would be rated G). If reading this type of material is illegal where you live, or if you are too young to read this type of material based on the laws where you live, or if your parents don’t want you to read this type of material, or if you find this type of material morally or otherwise objectionable, or if you don’t want to be here, close your browser now. The author neither condones nor advocates the violation of any laws. If you want to be here, but aren’t supposed to be here, be careful and don’t get caught!