Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chapter Seventeen

In their grief, the seven brothers constructed a glass casket, inlaid with the purest silver and gold, carved most delicate and graceful. And though Dwarven craftsmanship is unsurpassed in this world, they considered it an unworthy frame for the maiden within. And, weeping, they laid her to rest in a tiny glade deep, deep, deep within the Great Woods.

There, in silence, they stood guard over their dear Snow White, a victim of spellcraft, petty and cruel. For a year and a day, a long time for you or I, but of no passing importance to a Dwarf, they mourned the taking of such an innocent soul, and the creatures of the forest paid their respects.

The spell would be broken, the seven brothers knew, by love’s first kiss. But the days passed into weeks, the weeks into months, the months into seasons, and the prince never came.

The Dwarves, who never held much for the romantic notions of the big people, were unsurprised. The fickle love of youth, they might have scoffed.

It was the eldest of the brothers who finally broke their vigil and proposed a solution quite Dwarflike in its practicality: If the prince wouldn’t come to them, the Dwarves would go to the prince.

And so, with heavy hearts, the six brothers – the youngest was ordered to stand guard over her casket – left the Great Woods and set off in separate directions to search for Snow White’s lost love.

What they found instead were countless souls stalking through a sleeping death of their own, one much more wicked than any poisoned apple.

Not that it mattered to the Dwarves. Dragon or goblin, war or peace, the living or the dead, no vile force would stop them from helping their friend. There is perhaps nothing on Earth quite so strong as a Dwarf’s love.

And deep, deep, deep within the Great Woods, the small clearing, guarded by a mute and beardless Dwarf, remains untouched by the undead plague.

Perhaps it is too far for them to sense the presence of flesh and blood, or perhaps it is hallowed ground, blessed by the Woods itself, but they do not prey in the patient glade of Snow White.

Without knowing why, the animals sense this refuge in the wild and hungry woods, and they flee there to wait in peace for her awakening.

And Snow White sleeps there still, the fairest of them all.