At last Saturday’s Workshop in the Irish Writers Centre we were given this prompt: “A woman knocks on the door of another woman’s house. She lies to get what she wants. Does she get it?” I know I’ve slagged her before, but there’s only one possible person this could be about….
She was told not to open the door. She was told not to speak to anyone. She was told, most definitely, not to let anyone in.
So when the knock came on the door she opened it, spoke to the person outside, and then invited her in.
Snow White wasn’t very bright.
The Queen, who had changed her appearance into that of an old crone, said “hello, dearie,” because she believed that’s the kind of thing that old crones say.
“Hello, old woman,” said Snow White, because she had never been to finishing school.
“Are you alone?” asked the Queen.
“At the moment, yes,” said Snow White. “The seven men I live with have all gone to work.”
“She lives with seven men?” thought the Queen. “Wow, what a slapper.”
“What are you doing in these woods?” asked Snow White.
“I sell apples,” said the Queen, showing her a basket.
Other women might have asked themselves how you could possibly eke out a living selling apples in a forest that had only one cottage in it, but Snow White was the kind of girl to whom the height of intellectual thought was that one day her prince would come. She was the fairy-tale equivalent of a WAG.
“They look really lovely,” she said. “Can I have one?”
“Yes, of course. Try this lovely red one,” said the Queen, holding out the apple which she had filled with poison.
“I prefer the green ones,” said Snow White.
This possibility had not occurred to the Queen, because nobody throughout history had ever preferred green apples to red ones before.
“Er, no, you don’t want a green one,” said the Queen. “They, um, show traces of horsemeat,” she finished desperately.
“Very well,” said Snow White, who soon wouldn’t be. She took a bite, then staggered about clutching at her throat as it’s recommended that you do when you’ve been poisoned, despite the fact that it doesn’t in any way help.
“Why?” she gasped.
“Because with you dead I’ll be the fairest of them all again,” said the Queen.
“Seriously?” said Snow White, looking at her gapped teeth, her hooked nose and her pebble-dashing of warts. “I haven’t met any of the other girls in this kingdom, but they must be a right collection of mingers.”
“Oh, just hurry up and die,” snapped the Queen.
Suddenly the door burst open and the seven dwarves rushed in. They saw that Snow White was dying and they all looked expectantly at Doc. Doc, however, was actually a Doctor of Fish Psychology, a quack qualification that he had picked up via a correspondence course, so he just stared helplessly. To everyone’s surprise it was Bashful who rushed forward, just as Snow White was gasping her last, and performed the Heimlich Manoeuvre.
Around her knees, unfortunately. After all, he was a dwarf.
But what was effectively a rugby tackle caused Snow White to fall forward, her chest hit the kitchen table and the piece of apple popped out.
The Queen ran out the door and, shedding her apples, her basket and her disguise, fled deep into the forest.
That was where she came face to face with the Prince. Her shoulders slumped in defeat, and she resignedly awaited her fate.
But the Prince had been searching for Snow White for months now and in truth was getting a bit tired of the quest. So when he saw the Queen, who was not only the second fairest of them all but also had a dangerous bad-girl aura about her, the Prince found himself hooked.
So the Prince found a bride, the Queen became the world’s first cougar, and Snow White settled for life with the dwarves, consoled, of course, by the fact that they owned a diamond mine.
It truly was a story where they all lived happily after.