Snow White - how the tale starts and ends – video

snow white Mar 06, 2021

Snow White opens with a charming mystery involving a queen, snow, an ebony window frame and three drops of blood. It takes place (like the birth of the Christos) at midwinter.

We learn that the queen died shortly after she had a child, which she called Snow White and her grieving widower, the king, takes another woman to become his queen. The story states:

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.

In our video we have a beautiful reading of the opening of this well-known tale.

The colours red, white and black occur in many tales. In one Russian story they are explicit linked to times of the day. Here, at the start of Snow White, they may indicate the relationship to alchemy, which also describes those colours as representing stages of a spiritual change.

That aside, the loss on one mother and gaining a step-mother a year later is the most notable. The king is mentioned, but plays virtually no part in the story.

At the end of the tale, the heroine is saved by her prince and awakened from a state like death, with a kiss.

The wicked step-mother is driven by curiosity to see Snow White, whom she had ordered killed. She comes, as invited, to Snow White’s father-in-law’s castle, where she is forced to wear red-hot iron shoes and dance till she died.

So The tale opens with the death of the real mother and closes with the death of the step-mother. The story of Snow White takes place between those events. The way the wicked queen dies is significant, as iron is symbolically associated with the earth - and is not precious (unlike silver or gold). The tale indicates to us that all that the jealous queen represents is not overcome (in this case the power of the natural life) once Snow White and the prince have come into union.

Often much can be learned about the meaning of a tale by considering who is there at the beginning and who is there at the end. Who or what is the prince, is something worth pondering.