Poisoned Fruit is a Terrible Way to Die

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    It was once told that in a land far far away, a commoner married a king. She was selected because of her outward beauty, but the story, so often told through the eyes of her step daughter, focuses on an ugly heart belonging to the new queen. Perhaps it’s true, but perhaps it’s not; maybe the queen was rotten without any hope, or maybe her actions were caused by her troubled past.

    __________

    Sitting on her bed, the queen sulked. Her memory replaying everything over the past few days. She had tried to suffocate Snow White in the lace too tight, but when the dwarves cut her free, she lived to see another day. The comb with eternal sleep hadn’t worked either, because once again, the dwarves removed it from her hair and her life was renewed.

    So she sat there sulking in her bed, resisting the urge to consult the mirror again. The mirror had told her at the beginning that the apple should be used to kill the girl, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Dying by a fruit was a terrible way to go.

    She remembered so plainly the day her younger brother had eaten the berries. Walking in the woods without a care in the world, he and she searched for huckleberries for their mother’s pie. Their mother had warned them about which berries to pick, but her brother forgot to look for the differences as he stuffed them in his mouth.

    She remembered the paleness of his face, the way his body lost strength with every step, and the way he collapsed when the poison took over. Her hands cupped under his arms, she tried to drag him back home but her strength soon gave out on her. She had screamed and called for help, but no one heard her. She had pumped his chest and stuck a stick down his throat in attempt to get him to throw up. But he was gone to her.

    There sitting on her knees with his head upon her lap, she watched him die over a few pieces of fruit.

    The queen remembered how their father had found them, her face red and swollen from the many tears. But instead of being consoled by her father, she was whipped for not looking out for her brother. Reprimanded for negligence to his only son.

    Her back stinging as she followed him to the house, she dreaded how much more punishment she would receive. Her mother slapped her, three times on each cheek. Her eldest sister scolded her. Even her favorite cat seemed to want nothing to do with her.

    The queen recalled how she had retrieved the mirror that night from under her bed after everyone was asleep. She had asked the mirror if she was a good sister, and it replied,
    “Thou may be a decent sister, but you are no equal to your eldest.”

    Head hung she continued asking the mirror questions and each time she was not good enough for a positive answer. Her heart could handle no more when she thought about the way her brother would stroke her hair and say how she was “the fairest in all the land”. Breathing slowly, she asked the mirror,

    “Who is the fairest in all the land?”

    “Your brother speaks the truth, for it is you.”

    From that moment on, the queen had held on to that with all her might. She had to remain the fairest in the land for her brother’s sake.

    Rising from her bed, the queen approached the mirror.

    “Who is the fairest in all the land?”

    “You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But Snow White, beyond the mountains with the seven dwarves is still a thousand times fairer than you.”

    Upon hearing this, she targeted Snow White’s life again and went down to her most secret room. She poisoned the apple as the mirror suggested and commanded the servants to ready her carriage as she readied her disguise.

    On the carriage ride, she tried desperately not to think of her brother’s dying body. She reached the spot to park the carriage and hiked through the woods to the cabin. Snow White took some convincing before she’d eat it, but once she ate the piece of apple and fell to the ground, the queen immediately returned to the carriage and then the castle.

    Weary of the dwarves reviving her once more, the queen waited a full night and day before she asked the mirror again,

    “Who is the fairest in all the land?”

    It answered promptly as usual, “As your brother always said, ‘tis you.”

    She set the mirror down and gave a weak smile, remembering on that hilltop as he stroked her hair. Reaching his arms around her neck from behind he whispered,

    “You should try to be queen one day. You are certainly the fairest in all the land.”

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