Snow White's Apple
Princess Aubrey was born in the mid of the most remembered winters in her kingdom, where the snow harshly pounded the ground, mauling down the most sturdy of trees. Snow may appear soft and sweet, covering the ground like a blanket, but in a blizzard it was piercing and destructive. It was indeed a time to remember and that was how the princess got her nickname, Snow White. More people called the princess, Snow, rather than her true name.
Snow barely remembered her mother, the Queen Cyanne. The princess was told the former queen passed away from a mysterious illness, but Snow had no memory of her mother appearing unwell. She vaguely recalled her mother enjoyed practicing magic, but her father did not approve. He believed enchantments and spells to be dangerous.
The young princess always had a strong relationship with her father. King Nicklaus would always take his daughter out hunting with him. By age twelve, young Snow had grown quite skilled. Only one had her talent in the art of hunting. Snow's best friend, Alana the king's ward, was that person. The two girls were like sisters, with similar sheer pale skin and silky brunette hair, though Alana's had more curl.
The year Snow turned twelve, her father found another bride, the Princess Katherine of a far away land, soon to be Queen Katherine of this land. The woman was quite young, not even old enough to be Snow's mother. This new bride was known, distinctively, for her beauty. With her soft white skin, rose lips, and sparkling sapphire eyes, she was declared fairest in all the lands. The moment Snow saw her, she felt a spark of jealously, but suppressed it, as she knew she had to accept this woman as part of the family, for her father.
Still, this loyalty did not prevent young Snow from going to the magic mirror, a gift from her mother, and asking, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
You are growing into a fine beauty, Princess Aubrey, the mirror's feminine voice answered, but your stepmother, Queen Katherine, remains the fairest.
Just nine months after the king took his new bride, grief swept throughout the entire kingdom, as he passed away from a plague. As Snow was too young for such a duty, Queen Katherine ruled the throne alone.
Snow loved being outside. The feeling of the soft fresh air gave her comfort. The princess stood, practicing her archery while waiting for Alana to return from her hunt. A grey stone built wall, connected to the castle, surrounded her. Snow could just see the treetops on the other side of this wall because it was so grand. As she turned her head to the steps leading to the inside of the castle, she found her stepmother walking down them.
"Good afternoon, Snow," the queen greeted, quietly.
"Queen Katherine," Snow muttered in response, turning her head back to her bow she held. "What brings you out here?"
Katherine tilted her head trying to meet her stepdaughter's eyes. "I would prefer you to look at me when I speak to you, Snow."
Snow pulled out another arrow from her bag, ignoring her.
The queen sighed and continued, "Anyway, you are nearing your fourteenth birthday. Your father wished for you to be married at this age so I have decided to through a ball to find you a prince."
And so, a grand ball was thrown, but Snow did not find a prince that interested her. Instead she spent most of her time with Alana. Several of the suitors, particularly the older ones seemed more attracted to Queen Katherine, which greatly irritated Snow.
"Do you think my stepmother will take a new husband," Snow asked Alana, as the two girls danced together.
"I suppose she could," Alana answered, casually, as she twirled out, holding Snow's hand. "She is still so young. It would be sad for her to remain a widow for the rest of her life."
"But if she were to marry, she may have another child and insist her own offspring to rule this land," Snow pointed out, darkly, as she spun her best friend again.
Alana frowned and shook her head. "Queen Katherine knows she can't do that. You are the royal blood of this kingdom. As the firstborn of your father, the former king, you are next in line for the thrown. Nothing the queen does can change that."
"Let's hope it remains as so," Snow said, as she eyed the queen, who currently danced with a broad, blonde haired prince.
Snow lingered just close enough on the dance floor to listen in on her stepmother's and this prince's conversation.
"My queen," the prince was saying, "you are by far the most fair and beautiful woman I have come across in every kingdom I have visited."
As Queen Katherine blushed and giggled, Snow jerked away from Alana and stormed out of the room. Her friend tried to call out for her, but the princess moved too fast.
Snow entered her room and demanded to the mirror, "Magic mirror, who is the true fairest in all the lands."
Queen Katherine, the mirror answered, which resulted in Snow thrashing her brush at it and then swiping her arm across her dresser causing her possessions to crash on the ground.
It was not until after she turned fourteen, Snow finally got the answer she longed for from the mirror.
When the princess repeated the question, it replied, You, Princess Aubrey, are the fairest of them all.
But that was not all the mirror had for young Snow. After declaring the new fairest in the land her reflection transformed into the face of her real mother.
My dear Snow, it said, I gave you this mirror so even in death I could guide you to becoming queen of this kingdom. The truth is before I died, your father had me sent away. He insisted that it was because my magic would affect you, but I know it was to take another bride, and indeed he did. My daughter, this woman does intend to revoke your right to the throne. She wants one of her own children to rule instead once she has them. That is the true purpose of pretending to find you a husband, so she herself may find a king. Once she does, all will be lost for you.
"Oh Mother," Snow cried out, shaking her head in frustration. "What can I do to stop her?"
I have a plan, the mirror, her mother, replied, A plan to turn the kingdom against her and support you as queen, but you must do just what I say, starting by running away from the castle.
And just as the former queen insisted, Snow ran outside the castle walls as the full moon rose to its peek. For over a week, she wondered into the depths of the wilderness knowing only one person would be able to track her.
Sure enough, one later afternoon, when Snow heard the cracking of sticks drawing closer to her, she turned her head to see Alana approaching her. The princess's best friend wore her silver hunting gear, carrying her bow, with her arrows strapped to her back.
"Snow!" Alana ran up and embraced her. "How did you get out here in the wilds? We've all been so worried about you!"
"I had to escape the queen," Snow answered calmly. "I know she is trying to kill me."
Alana pulled away, wiping the sweat from her forehead and asked, "What are you talking about, Snow. Queen Katherine sent me to find you. She's be so…"
"She sent you to kill me," Snow interjected as her eyes peered through the trees in search of life.
Alana turned her head, curiously. "Snow?"
After spotting a dear, Snow turned back to her friend and said, "Alana, Katherine wants to prevent me from ever becoming queen. I know that for a fact. She is vain and evil. The queen wants to get rid of me because she is jealous that I have grown fairer than she is. If you are truly my friend, you will help me."
Though Alana still felt doubtful, she cared too much for Snow to let her down.
"What do you want me to do?" Alana asked.
Snow turned her head to the creature she spotted and said, "See that dear? Shoot it with one of your arrows."
Once the young huntress did as she was commanded, she and Snow walked over to the lifeless dear. Snow bent over and took a dagger out of Alana's boot. She used the rusty weapon to tear through the flesh of the animal and pulled out its heart.
"What are you doing?" Alana gasped, covering her mouth.
Snow placed the soft squishy organ in a small brown sack, and answered, "This is the first step to getting the people to see how truly evil Katherine is. If you want to help, I need you to do exactly as I say."
And so Alana returned to the castle with the damp sack strapped around her waste. She entered the ballroom, where the queen sat on her throne, while the nobles lingered around chatting. Soft music played from a harp in the corner at this social gathering. The moment Queen Katherine spotted the young huntress, she waved her hand and to silence the music.
"Alana," the queen greeted, looking at her with hopeful eyes. "I trust you returned with good news. Did you find our princess and bring her back?"
Alana nodded and responded, "I did find her, my queen, and I did exactly what you commanded me to do."
The huntress pulled sack from her side and through it to the ground, revealing the heart.
Queen Katherine gasped, throwing her hand over her mouth. "Alana, what did you do?"
Alana feigned confusion as she gaped at her queen. "I only did what you asked, Your Majesty. You said to bring back Snow's heart and so I did."
Gasps and whispers soon filled the air from the surrounding nobles. Several stared at their queen in horror. Most seemed too afraid to even step near the queen.
Queen Katherine's eyes filled with fear as she dazedly stumbled forward to Alana and softly uttered, "What is going on. What would promote you to do such a deed?"
Alana shook her head. "They were your orders, my queen. I had no choice but to obey them."
Tears began to flow up to Katherine's eyelids as she vigorously shook her head and whispered, "I would never order something this terrible." She waved her hand and ordered more loudly, "Guards, take her away."
As the armed men led Alana away, she suddenly burst into tears, and wailed out, "I'm so sorry, Your Majesty! The heart is really a dear's heart. Snow is my best friend. I could not bring myself to kill her! Please forgive me! I'm sorry!"
Before the queen could respond, Alana was already led out of the room. She looked around the people and gulped, dreadfully, as they now all appeared to believe she tried to have her stepdaughter murdered.
Meanwhile, Snow wondered the woods. Her throat was dry and her bones felt light and shaky. She stumbled across a small sloppily log built cabin. Desperate for a place to lie down, Snow wondered in. The inside had only two rooms. One appeared to be a kitchen, and the other a bedroom. In this room, there were seven beds, four on one side aligning the wall and three on the other. The all had names, scratched through the wood at each end of the bed. They were, Savage, Hunter, Forest, Woodstock, Rock, Torch, and Songbird. Snow curled up on the bed that said, Hunter, and fell fast asleep.
When Snow awoke, she found seven faces staring down at her. Two faces where little girls while the other five small boys.
"Why is this girl in my bed, Savage?" the one called Hunter, demanded.
The taller girl, with long tangled blonde hair and dirt tan skin shrugged. "How should I know?"
"My name is Snow," the princess answered, groggily, rubbing her eyes. "I just needed to take a nap. I'll be on my way."
"Snow?" the girl asked, raising her brow with her arms folded. "That's your name?"
"This is coming from the girl I just heard him call Savage?" Snow shot back.
"It's a nickname," Savage retorted.
"Yeah, well so is Snow," the princess replied. "My real name is Aubrey. What is yours?"
Savage's eyes fell down and she refused to answer.
"We are all orphans that ran away," Hunter answered for her. "Most of us don't even know our real name."
"I see," Snow muttered and then looked to the door. "Well, I should be going."
"Wait," the other girl called out.
"Songbird, just let her go," Savage grumbled.
Songbird ignored her, and asked Snow, "Are you an orphan, too?"
Snow sighed and nodded, "Yes, I suppose I am. I have a stepmother, but she wants me dead."
The princess had been repeating to herself this lie so often that she actually began to believe it. The seven children took pity on her and insisted she stay with them.
And so, for the next several months Snow lived with these children, knowing Queen Katherine would likely be searching for her. The princess taught these children some of the hunting skills she learned from Alana. Snow found Savage to be the most skillful, which was surprising. She would have thought it to be Hunter based on the names. Over time, Snow grew the closest to Savage as they seemed to have to most in common. She did like Songbird, the youngest of the seven, a great deal as well. This little girl reminded Snow of the innocence she once had before losing her mother.
On an ordinary sunny day, Snow remained alone in the cabin while children went out for a swim in a nearby lake. Only Songbird stayed home with her, but she was in the bedroom sleeping. As the princess rinsed their dirty clothes, she heard a knock on the door. When she went to answer it, she found her stepmother, the queen, holding a brown woven basket.
"Snow!" she panted, her tone relieved. "I am so happy to see you are alive."
"How did you find me?" Snow asked, calmly.
"I had Alana track you," Katherine answered. "She has been acting so strange. She says you believe I want you dead! Snow, why would you think such an awful thing?"
Snow put her hand on her head, looking to the ground, appearing dizzy. "Please, Stepmother, I am so hungry I can hardly think properly."
Katherine held up the basket. "Here, Darling. Have something to eat. I brought bread and fruit. Take your pick."
Snow opened the basket with one particular food item in mind, a red apple, one her mother gave her from the mirror. The former queen said, when the time was right, Snow will know to take a bite. That time was now.
Katherine frowned when she saw Snow took the apple, and looked curiously in her basket. "I do not recall putting any red apples in here."
"I know," Snow whispered. "That's because Alana did."
Snow heard soft footsteps draw nearer. Knowing little Songbird was awake, she took a bite from the apple.
"Thank you so much for bringing me this food, Stepmother," Snow said, loudly. "I am so glad things are well between us once again."
Just as that sentence escaped her mouth, Snow began to choke as her throat started to close up.
Snow made an effort to appear more horrified than she actually felt. She clenched her throat with both hands and gasped, "Poison! It's poisoned!"
Snow felt dizzy as consciousness began to escape her. The last thing the princess heard before falling into deep slumber was little Songbird's screams.
The queen fled before the other children arrived. In grief, they set up a glass coffin for Snow, in which Torch constructed to preserve her body. Once a month, the seven children would visit their lost friend, bringing flowers to lie on the coffin and beneath it.
Then one day, where grey clouds hovered above, the children visited, but this time they had company. They saw a young woman in silver armor walk up with a prince with short blonde hair.
"Who are you?" Savage demanded, putting her arm around Songbird, who huddled close, afraid.
"My name is Alana," she answered. "I am a close friend of Snow's and I have brought the one thing that will save her."
She motioned for the prince to step forward.
"This is Prince James," Alana continued. "What Snow ate was poison from a curse. Only the kiss from a man with a true heart will break the curse."
James knelt down to the sleeping princess, lifting the glass, and brushed her soft cheek.
"You, Princess Snow," he said, softly. "You truly are the fairest."
The prince gently pressed his lips against the fair maiden. Moments later, she awakened, and the children cheered. Snow sleepily sat up and hugged her rescuer, but looked to Alana, who nodded. This nod confirmed that everything was going according to plan, her real mother's plan.
"My fair Snow," Prince James said, taking her hand. "Everyone knows what Queen Katherine has done to you. I have prepared an army so we can take back the kingdom and you shall be the new queen."
Snow smiled, mischievously. Only Alana caught this smirk.
And just as Prince James declared, Snow marched in reclaiming the kingdom. Just as she planned, she had the full support of the people, who believed they were ridding themselves of an evil queen. Little did they know, they had just crowned the true evil queen, who was indeed far more wicked than any queen before.
On her first evening as Queen, Snow sat alone in her chambers and took out some parchment along with a feather and ink, and prepared to do the final thing her mother advised. She wrote a story, her own version of her victory, starting with a young innocent girl who had a very evil stepmother…