Firstly, we say 'we' because we are a we. That didn't make sense did it? No. No, Sis, it didn't. I'm Zab, and she (the girl typing in italics) is Fern.
As we mentioned in our summary, this fic plays off the Grimm's version of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." Snow White was only seven years old when she ran into the woods. And we don't think much time passed before she got poisoned. She spent a great indefinite amount of time in the coffin. Then, the prince passes by and falls in love with a corpse-I mean Snow White. He doesn't kiss her. He carries her off because he needs to stare at her for the rest of his life. Anyway, she gets jostled, and the apple stuck in her throat comes loose. He proposes. They get married. Happily ever after, etc. This story is the consequence of such a hasty marriage.
A nine year-old girl walked up to her grandfather who was leaning against a well.
"Granpapa," she asked, "why does everyone say the queen is slow? She seems fast enough to me." Then the girl reconsidered her statement, "Well, now she is a little slow since she's gotten fat."
"Pregnant, Elise," Granpapa corrected. "She's pregnant."
"But Mummy's fa—pregnant. Nobody ever called her slow."
Granpapa sighed. He had hoped to sidestep Elise's question. Eh, he might as well just tell the truth. What could it hurt? Elise's mother would probably yell at him for this, but the little one needed to know eventually.
"The queen is only eight years old," Granpapa explained.
"But she's too big to be eight," the girl cried.
"Let me tell you a story." Granpapa shifted into a position which felt more suited for telling his grandchild a story. "When Queen Snow White was seven years old, her stepmother got jealous of her beauty and tried to kill her." He skipped over a few details, as they weren't entirely pertinent to the reason the queen's mind was stunted. "The wicked stepmother convinced Princess Snow White to eat a poisoned apple. The princess slept in a glass coffin for thirteen years until the prince, who is now king, found her."
Granpapa took a deep breath. Elise had edged up close to him, listening intently. "In the time she slept," he continued, "her body aged, but her mind did not. She looks like an adult, but she's not." Granpapa looked meaningfully into the little girl's eyes. "She acts like Hilda."
"Hilda?" Elise grimaced. The idea of a woman she looked up to acting like an annoying little sister was obviously repugnant.
"Yes," Granpapa affirmed. "Then, the very day they met, the prince married Snow White for her beauty, not realizing that he was marrying a child." He then chuckled, "He must have had the most interesting wedding night any man has ever had."
Elise's eyebrow's drew together. "Why's that?" She asked innocently.
"Oh, no reason."
A few hours walk from Elise's village stood an impressive palace. Standing beneath its shadow would make people dream of sumptuous furnishings, magnificent feasts, ornate apparel, and dignified nobles. Upon entering everything seems in its place. The servants bustling from chore to chore. Knights patrolling and standing guard. Nobility floating elegantly down the halls.
Over at the far end of castle was the chambers of the king and queen. Outside her personal room stood Queen Snow White. Her legendary ebony black hair softly framed her perfect snowy white complexion. A small smile effortlessly held her blood red lips. As fitting, her dress and jewels were lavish. Even with her protruding pregnant belly she was the picture of perfect beauty.
She leaned over scratched the ears of her favorite sheep. This sheep, Lucy, was a ball of fluff whose neck was fitted into an intricate golden collar. If this animal's wool grew any longer it would have to be sheared. Otherwise, the fluff would cross from cute and cuddly to overgrown and saggy. The people believed it would never be sheared again though. The queen had cried for days the last time Lucy's wool was cut. If the king was willing to allow a barn animal's presence in order to avoid conflict, he wasn't going to argue with letting the creature get a little ugly.
The king hurried into view. "My dear Snow White," he greeted, "your presence is required in the council chambers." He himself was delivering the message because the queen wouldn't listen to the page boys or even the knights who would normally do the deed. She was convinced that at least half of them were trying to tease her.
She perked up. "Can I make any decisions?"
"Not this time," he answered gently. This response might suggest that he would eventually let her make important decisions for the kingdom. Truth be told, he wasn't sure he would ever allow her that privilege. One time she tried to order the armies into pretty floral formations. Another time she wanted the emissaries to send children's toys to a neighboring kingdom as a token of good will. If that kingdom's royal family had small children, then perhaps the gift could have been appropriate—provided it was supplemented with treasures for adults. But, as it was, the rulers were trying to get their only child married off. Sending toys would have poked at a very sore wound. Those instances, along with similar daily occurrences, suggested that her mind was too young to handle delicate matters of court. Then there was that sheep. The king grimaced as his wife's dear pet left droppings on the ground.
Snow White pouted. "Darrel," she lengthened his name with whiny syllables. "I never get to do anything in court. It's so boring."
"My dear, I let you plan the feasts and festivals."
"Oh, a feast," she said dreamily. "That sounds good right now."
"You just ate," Darrel reminded even though he knew the statement would be of no use.
"But I'm hungry again. You know what I really want? I want pork chops." She closed her eyes, imagining the juicy taste. Her eyes flew open. "Oh," she squealed, "I want ice cream. Could I have ice cream, Darrel?"
Darrel repressed an exasperated sigh. "The weather won't be cold enough for at least another two months."
"You could take me into the mountains," she pleaded.
"Last time we did that, once you finally got it, you said the ice cream was the 'most disgusting thing' you had ever seen. Besides, we don't have the time to go into the mountains. We are needed in court." The king refrained from mentioning how close to giving birth she was. Snow White resented any comment about what would be dangerous in her condition.
"Alright, but let me bring Lucy."
"My dear, let's leave Lucy with a servant. You can play with her after the council." The king imagined with horror the idea of the animal bleating and soiling the polished marble. He shuddered at how disruptive the sheep would be. It would possibly be worse than Snow White's antics. The only reason he insisted on her presence was in hopes that she would gain maturity. More quickly.
Snow White stuck out her bottom lip.
"If you leave Lucy with a servant," Darrel negotiated, "then I'll see to it that you are provided with sweet meats throughout the council."
The queen sighed, "Alright."
"But, Granpapa," Elise said, "how does acting like Hilda make Queen Snow White slow?"
Granpapa unconsciously face-palmed.
"What's wrong?" Elise asked.
Granpapa realized that he had talked himself into a corner. The comparison of Hilda and Snow White was meant to be an innocent visualization. Now if he explained what he meant by 'slow,' then Elise would start saying that Granpapa thought Hilda was stupid. Even if he did manage to get around defining 'slow,' Elise was still going to use her new knowledge to insult her sister. The girls didn't along very well to begin with. Granpapa's daughter was going to be murderous. And rightfully so.
*Insert obligatory pleas for reviews.* No really, tell us what you think.