In a little house, deep in the great dark woods, there lived a lovely girl and seven dwarves. The story of how the girl came to live with these dwarves is a well-known one. The part of the story most often skipped over is the middle, where she learned to live as a housekeeper. It wasn’t easy, she had spent most of her life in privileged luxury. It came to pass, that her deepest, darkest, secret was that she was a slob. The dwarves, also slobs, really didn’t care.
By now you will have guessed that Snow White was her name. One day as she sat staring at the dirty dishes on the table, she made a resolution to learn how properly clean house. This was a bit of a challenge, as the dwarves would be no help at all, having never learned themselves. There were no other people in the woods, and the woodland animals neither kept house nor seemed to mind her dirty house.
Rummaging through the little library in the little house she found a book on housekeeping. Rather old, she had to handle it carefully lest it fall apart her. And the dubious stains on the cover made her wrinkle her nose, as she gingerly opened it and laid it flat on the table. The very first page declared it to be “The Compleat Housekeeper’s Guide to Immaculate Living” by Mrs. Beauchamp. Snow White cautiously turned over the next page in the book, and stared down at the first words on it.
The book was instructing her to be certain that there were not too many objects in each room, in other words, to reduce the clutter before she attempted to keep a clean house. Snow White lifted her head and looked around her in despair at the piles of books, clothing, dishes, and other detritus on every single flat surface in the room. There was simply no place to put all of that, she had been moving those piles around, since the very first day she came here. Snow White put her head in her hands and sniffled a little bit.
Suddenly she was aware that she was not alone in the room. She lifted her head, and looked around. To her surprise, she saw a tiny, wizened old woman hovering in midair at her shoulder. Iridescent fairy wings sprouted from the old woman’s shoulders enabling her to hover at Snow White’s head level.
“Who are you?” Snow White gasped.
The little woman, who could not have been more more than 8 inches tall, smiled and spoke softly. “I am Mrs. Beauchamp. My spirit dwells in this book, and when called upon, I help those who are in need.”
“But I didn’t call you.” Snow White said plaintively.
“You are in need though, dear.” The little pixie woman looked around and flew about the room for a moment, poking with her wand that she pulled out of her waist belt at various piles.
Snow White felt shame that this obviously very efficient and organized woman was seeing the condition of her home. She did need help, she realized. And she wasn’t going to look a gift horse… Err, fairy, in the mouth. She still didn’t know where they were going to put all the stuff.
“What can I do though, with all these things? There simply isn’t any place to put it all.”
“Well I suppose, that we could open an interdimensional portal.”
Snow White stared at the little pixie. “I’ll have what?”
“Nevermind dear, it’s too much trouble to explain anyway.”
Mrs. Beauchamp poked one particularly tall tower with her wand, and as it slowly cascaded to one side, she fluttered quickly out of the way. Snow White heard herself whimper a little. The whole thing was hopeless.
“Well my dear, how long do we have?”
“What do you mean?” Space Snow White asked, lifting her head. “How long to clean the house?”
“Yes, until the menfolk arrive.” Mrs. Beauchamp flew straight up to the ceiling and looked around in every direction. Snow White knew what she was seeing, piles everywhere and no place to put everything. With a flick of her wand, the little pixie made everything vanish.
Snow White leapt to her feet. “”What have you done? Where did it all go? The dwarves will be angry, and I will be in so much trouble.”
“Not at all, child. Whenever you want something, merely call its name and reach out your hand, and it will appear where you want it.”
“Oh, Mrs. Beauchamp! However can I thank you,? It looks so much better already, now all I have to do is scrub and sweep.” Snow White danced around the room a little, enjoying all the space she had to move in. The wizened old woman swooped in and kissed her cheek.
“Now, my dear, I am leaving for a much-needed holiday. I will check in with you when I return.”
Snow White spent the rest of her afternoon happily cleaning. She scrubbed, swept, mopped, and finally, the house was sparkling. When the dwarves arrived home that evening, she had the table set and dinner cooking. They crowded in looking around and murmuring and wonder.
“What have you done with all of our things?” Sleepy murmured finally.
Snow White smiled. “What would you like?”
“How about my blanket?”
“Of course, Sleepy.” Snow White held out her hand in midair, and simply asked “Sleepy’s blanket, please.”
Sleepy’s well-worn, light blue fuzzy blanket appeared in her hand immediately. She held it out to him, and all the other dwarfs laughed and applauded.
“That’s a neat trick.” Grumpy remarked. “But can you do it again?”
“And what is it that you want, Grumpy?”
“I want my pipe.” He growled.
“Grumpy’s pipe.” Snow White chirped, holding out her hand again.
The grubby object in question appeared in her palm, and she handed it to Grumpy. “Here you are. Is everyone ready for dinner?”
They all were and once she had them seated at the table, she served out the roast and bread fresh bread that she had made that day. After dinner, she asked two of the dwarves to help her with the dishes. She explained to the rest that this would be an nightly ritual from now on. As the dishes were washed and dried, she held out her hand for it each one, and said put it away as she took them. They vanished from sight and Snow White smiled, knowing that when she needed them they would be ready for her. There were definite advantages, she decided, to living in a world with magic. Imagine if there were no magic, what a mess this would be, she would still be sitting there trying to decide what to do with it all.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Diane challenged me with “Pick your favorite fairy tale or well-known children’s story and rewrite it with the hero/lead character having a not-so-good secret.” and I challenged Kirsten Doyle with “She sips the cloudy colloid. ” Go to Part 2