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This article focuses on the fairytale, "Snow White".
For the film, see "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
For the Enchanted Forest character, see Snow White.

"Snow White", also known as "Schneewittchen", is a fairytale featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by the German authors Jacob and Wilhelm of the Brothers Grimm and incorporated into the book Grimms' Fairy Tales in 1812.

Traditional Plot

A queen sits by her window and, as she sews, admires the falling snow. As she does so, she pricks her finger, causing three drops of blood fall onto the snow covering the ebony windowsill. The queen then wishes for a daughter with lips red as blood, hair black as ebony, and skin white as snow.

Sometime later, the queen gives birth to a daughter with all the qualities she wished for and names her Snow White, only to pass away shortly afterward. The following year, the king remarries, taking a woman of great beauty as his new wife.

Unbeknownst to him, the new queen's vanity surpasses her beauty. Each day, she approaches a magic mirror and asks the same question: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?" And each day, the magic mirror responds in her favor, telling her she is the fairest in the land.

Time passes, and Snow White turns seven, becoming more beautiful than she was as a child. One day, the queen asks her magic mirror if she is the fairest one of all, and the Mirror tells her Snow White is fairer than her.

The jealous queen hires a huntsman to take Snow White into the woods, kill her and bring back her lungs and liver as proof that he has carried out the deed. He obeys but is unable to kill the young princess and allows her to flee. The huntsman then proceeds to kill a wild boar and carves out its lungs and liver before bringing them back to the palace, where the queen has the chef prepare them for dinner.

Meanwhile, Snow White comes across a small cottage and, immediately after entering, falls asleep. That night, she wakes up to find seven dwarfs, who own the cottage and have returned from working all day in the mines. After Snow White explains her situation, the dwarfs agree to let her live with them as long as she acts as their housekeeper and does not answer the door while they're away.

Several days later, the queen asks the magic mirror if she is still the fairest only to learn Snow White is alive and still more beautiful than her. Disguising herself as a peddler woman, she travels to the cottage with several stay-laces and gives one of them to Snow White before offering to lace them for her. The queen laces them so tightly that her stepdaughter faints and, believing her to be dead, leaves triumphantly only to learn later that the dwarfs returned to the cottage and cut Snow White free of the laces.

Determined to make her second attempt a success, the queen disguises herself as a peddler woman and returns to the cottage with a poison-coated comb. Snow White allows the queen to enter the cottage and lets her brush her hair only to succumb to the comb's effects. The queen returns to the palace, and, hours later, the dwarfs return to the cottage. Upon finding the princess, they remove the poisoned comb and, after she explains what happened, make her promise to heed their warning.

Meanwhile, the queen finds out her plan has failed and creates a poisoned apple before returning to the cottage disguised as a farmer's wife. Snow White, however, recalls the dwarfs' warning and refuses to open the door. To gain her trust, the queen cuts the apple in two and eats the harmless white half. Snow White then accepts the poisoned red half and takes a bite only to fall into a state of suspended animation. The victorious queen departs for the palace, confident she is now the fairest of them all.

Night falls, and the dwarfs return home but are unable to revive the princess. Believing she is dead and unable to bring themselves to bury her, the seven men build a glass coffin and keep eternal vigil at her side. As the years gradually pass, Snow White grows into a beautiful young woman.

Years later, while traveling through the forest, the prince of a neighboring kingdom comes across the dwarfs protecting the coffin. Enchanted by Snow White's beauty, the prince asks the dwarfs to take the coffin back to his castle. They agree, and the prince orders his servants to lift the coffin.

As they make their way back to the prince's castle, however, the servants stumble on a tree stump, causing the apple half to dislodge from Snow White's throat. Seeing her come back to life, the prince declares his love for Snow White, and they return to his castle to prepare for their wedding.

The queen, who is among the guests invited to the wedding, asks the magic mirror if she is the fairest of them all. When the Mirror tells "the young queen is a thousand times fairer than you," the enraged queen makes her way to the prince's castle and, to her dread, realizes Snow White is the bride. As punishment for her crimes, she is forced to wear heated iron shoes and dance until she drops dead.

Show Adaptation

  • Snow White's mother passed away after being poisoned by the queen's mother Cora, who sought to exact revenge against her for ruining her engagement to Snow White's father.
  • The queen hates Snow White because, when she was a child, she was unable to keep a secret from Cora and caused the death of her lover.
  • The prince is a shepherd posing as his identical twin brother who meets Snow White after she breaks into his carriage and robs him.
    • During their first encounter, Snow White nicknames the prince "Prince Charming" and continues to call him by that name throughout their relationship.
  • The huntsman presents the queen with a stag's heart only for her to see through the deception and rip his heart out of his chest, turning into a heartless slave.
  • The dwarves originally had an eighth member in their ranks, but were reduced to seven after an arrow fatally wounded him.
  • Instead of gold,[1] the dwarves mine crystals/diamonds which are ground into fairy dust and given to the fairies.
  • The spirit inside the magic mirror is a Genie who was forced to serve as the queen's servant after making a wish to forever stay by her side.
    • The spirit also was responsible for assassinating Snow White's father after being manipulated by the queen into helping her.
  • The poisoned apple contains a sleeping curse created by the witch Maleficent, who gave it to the queen in exchange for the Dark Curse.
    • Snow White eats the apple and succumbs to the Sleeping Curse to save the prince after the queen threatens to kill him.
  • The queen disguises herself as a peasant with help from the sorcerer Rumplestiltskin, her mentor.

Characters Featured

Original Character Adapted as First Featured in
Snow White Snow White "Pilot"
The evil queen Evil Queen "Pilot"
The prince Prince Charming "Pilot"
The magic mirror Magic mirror "The Thing You Love Most"
The huntsman Huntsman "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"
The dwarves Doc "Pilot"
The king King Leopold "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree"
The queen (Snow White's mother) Queen Eva "The Queen Is Dead"

Locations Featured

Original Location Adapted as First Featured in
The prince's castle Royal Castle "Pilot"
The queen's castle Evil Queen's palace "The Thing You Love Most"
The dwarves' cottage Dwarves' cottage "7:15 A.M."
The mines[2] Dwarf mines "Dreamy"

Items Featured

Original Item Adapted as First Featured in
The glass coffin Glass coffin "Pilot"
The poisoned apple Poisoned apple "True North"
Gold[1] Fairy crystals "Dreamy"

Episodes Featured

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).


  1. 1.0 1.1 According to the first edition of "Snow White" from 1812/1815, the dwarves mined for gold. For the 1857 edition, Wilhelm Grimm added the detail that they mined for ore and gold in the mountains. (Source) Complicating matters even further is that some versions, like this English translation from 1911, say that they mined for silver and gold, while some other versions, like this English translation from 1944, say that they mined for copper and gold.
  2. According to the first edition of the "Snow White" fairytale from 1812/1815, which can be read here, the dwarves dug for gold in the mines (source). For the 1857 edition, which can be read here, Wilhelm Grimm added the detail that they mined for ore and gold in the mountains (source); no mines are mentioned.