Our childhood would not be complete without the fairy tales. The stories make us believe that there is a “they live happily ever after” ending.
But the truth is these stories have dark origins that will spoil our childhood and abandon the wishful thinking of happy endings.
Let us take the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
We all know by heart the Fairy Tale version of Snow White, her stepmother, the seven dwarves and the prince.
Other people heard the Grimm’s version. In this dark account, the stepmother asked the huntsman to bring her the liver and lungs of Snow White to be served for dinner. Another thing is that before the poisoned apple, the stepmother urged Snow White to try a corset, tightening it that the girl passed out, causing the witch to think she was dead. The corset scheme did not prosper so the stepmother opted for the poison apple.
In the alternate version, the prince did not awaken Snow White with a kiss but one of his servants tripped while carrying the coffin triggering the lump of apple to be removed from Snow White’s throat.
However, according to history there existed a real Snow White.
Snow White is Margarete von Waldeck?
In 1994, Eckhard Sander, a German Historian, printed Schneewittchen: Marchen oder Wahrheit? (Snow White: Is It a Fairy Tale?). He claimed to uncover an account that may have inspired the Grimm Brothers to write Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
According to Sander, the character of Snow White was founded on the life of Margarete von Waldeck, a German countess born to Philip IV in 1533. At the age of 16, Margarete was forced by her stepmother, Katharina of Hatzfeld to move away to Wildungen in Brussels. In Brussels, Margarete fell in love with Phillip who would become Phillip II of Spain. Margarete’s family objected to the relationship. While still living in Brussels, Margarete became extremely ill. People who knew her thought she had been poisoned. Margarete von Waldeck died in 1554.
Where are the seven dwarves?
Margarete’s father owned several copper mines that employed children as labors. The worst condition of the mining site affected the growth of many and malformed their body parts. As a result, they were often referred to as the ‘poor dwarfs’.
Another story pointed out that the real Snow White was Maria Sophia Margaretha Catherina.
Maria Sophia Margaretha Catherina was the daughter of Philipp Christoph von Erthal lived in a castle in Lohr am Main. According to historians, Maria Sophia’s mother died in 1741. Prince Philipp married Claudia Elisabeth von Erthal.
Claudia von Erthal was dominant who Maria Sophia for granted. She moved into Prince Philipp’s castle in Lohr am Main.
Lohr is located near a heavily forested part of Bavaria known as the Spessart (“Woodpecker”) Forest. When the von Erthals lived there, the town was also famous for a glassworks company called Kurmainzische Spiegelmanufaktur (the Lohr Mirror Manufacturer).
The Eighteenth-century mirrors manufactured by Lohr’s glass company were famous for their extraordinary quality that people said the mirrors “always spoke the truth.” They called it “Talking Mirrors.”
Maria Sophia’s stepmother Claudia owned one of the Talking Mirrors.
But what about again the seven dwarfs?
Lohr was known as “The Spessart” has seven mountains. Some of the mountains contain rich natural resources which were previously mined. The town of Bieber located at the northwest border of the Spessart was once the region’s mining center. Mine seams, shafts and tunnels were usually very narrow, so only the smallest of miners could move around in them. Many of the miners in Bieber – just like miners in other places throughout Europe (and Germany) – were children.
So, is Snow White based on a real person?