Rhyme Time

Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs

I’ve always loved reading out loud to other people. When we were little and my brother used to fall ill I’d take it upon myself to read him stories, regardless of whether he wanted it or not. (I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m the quintessential bossy older sister). Eventually though he began to enjoy it and I was able to read out loud to him even when he wasn’t helpless and without choice.

In high school Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes was our favourite book to read out loud. I remember my brother, my mother, and I would spend hours reading and re-reading these wicked rhymes laughing through it all. And even now, though I don’t find time to read them often enough, these rhymes are still one of my favourite mood elevators.

As you’ve probably guessed already, today’s featured poem is taken from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. In this favourite book Roald Dahl re-tells some of the well known fairy tales in rhyme form. I’ve chosen to share his version of Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs. And because I want you to enjoy it as much as I do let me add that this poem is best read out loud with expression.

Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs

When little Snow-White’s mother died, 

The king, her father, up and cried,

‘Oh, what a nuisance! What a life!

‘Now I must find another wife!’

(It’s never easy for a king

To find himself that sort of thing.)

He wrote to every magazine 

And said, ‘I’m looking for a Queen.’

At least ten thousand girls replied

And begged to be the royal bride.

The king said with a shifty smile,

‘I’d like to give each one a trial.’

However, in the end he chose

A lady called Miss Maclahose,

Who brought along a curious toy

That seemed to give her endless joy-

This was a mirror framed in brass,

A MAGIC TALKING LOOKING-GLASS.

Ask it something day or night,

It always got the answer right.

For instance, if you were to say,

‘Oh Mirror, what’s for lunch today?’

The thing would answer in a trice,

‘Today it’s scrambled egg and rice.’

Now every day, week in week out, 

The spoiled and stupid Queen would shout, 

‘Oh Mirror Mirror on the wall,

‘Who is the fairest of them all?’

The Mirror answered every time,

‘Oh Madam, you’re the Queen sublime.

‘You are the only one to charm us,

‘Queen, you are the cat’s pyjamas.’

For ten whole years the silly Queen

Repeated this absurd routine.

Then suddenly, one awful day,

She heard the Magic Mirror say,

‘From now on, Queen, you’re Number Two.

‘Snow-White is prettier than you!’

The Queen went absolutely wild.

She yelled, ‘I’m going to scrag that child!’

‘I’ll cook her flaming goose! I’ll skin ‘er!

‘I’ll have her rotten guts for dinner!’

She called the Huntsman to her study.

She shouted at him, ‘Listen, buddy!

‘You drag that filthy girl outside,

‘And see you take her for a ride!

‘Thereafter slit her ribs apart

‘And bring me back her bleeding heart!’

The Huntsman dragged the lovely child

Deep deep into the forest wild.

Fearing the worst, poor Snow-White spake.

She cried, ‘Oh please give me a break!’

The knife was poised, the arm was strong,

She cried again, ‘I’ve done no wrong!’

The Huntsman’s heart began to flutter.

It melted like a pound of butter.

He murmured, ‘Okay, beat it, kid,’

And you can bet your life she did.

Later, the Huntsman made a stop

Within the local butcher’s shop,

And there he bought, for safety’s sake,

A bullock’s heart and one nice steak.

‘Oh Majesty! Oh Queen!’ he cried,

‘That rotten little girl has died!

‘And just to prove I didn’t cheat,

‘I’ve brought along these bits of meat.’

The Queen cried out, ‘Bravissimo!

‘I trust you killed her nice and slow.’

Then (this is the disgusting part)

The Queen sat down and ate the heart!

(I only hoped she cooked it well.

Boiled heart can be as tough as hell.)

While all of this was going on,

Oh where, oh where had Snow-White gone?

She’d found it easy, being pretty,

To hitch a ride into the city,

And there she’d got a job, unpaid, 

As general cook and parlour-maid

With seven funny little men,

Each one not more than three foot ten,

Ex horse-race jockeys, all of them.

These Seven Dwarfs, though awfully nice,

Were guilty of one shocking vice-

They squandered all of their resources

At the race-track backing horses.

(When they hadn’t backed a winner,

None of them got any dinner.)

One evening, Snow-White said, ‘Look here,

‘I think I’ve got a great idea.

‘Just leave it all to me, okay?

‘And no more gambling till I say.’

That very night, at eventide,

Young Snow-White hitched another ride,

And then, when it was very late,

She slipped in through the Palace gate.

The King was in his counting house

Counting out his money,

The Queen was in the parlour

Eating bread and honey,

The footmen and the servants slept

So no one saw her as she crept

On tip-toe through the mighty hall

And grabbed THE MIRROR off the wall.

As soon as she had got it home,

She told the Senior Dwarf (or Gnome)

To ask it what he wished to know.

‘Go on!’ she shouted. ‘Have a go!’

He said, ‘Oh Mirror, please don’t joke!

‘Each one of us is stony broke!

‘Which horse will win tomorrow’s race,

‘The Ascot Gold Cup Steeplechase?’

The Mirror whispered sweet and low,

‘The horse’s name is Mistletoe.’

The Dwarfs went absolutely daft,

They kissed young Snow-White fore and aft,

Then rushed away to raise some dough

With which to back old Mistletoe.

They pawned their watches, sold the car,

They borrowed money near and far,

(For much of it they had to thank

The manager of Barclays Bank.)

They went to Ascot and of course

For once they backed the winning horse.

Thereafter, every single day,

The Mirror made the bookies pay.

Each Dwarf and Snow-White got a share,

And each was soon a millionaire,

Which shows that gambling’s not a sin

Provided that you always win.

-Roald Dahl

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8 thoughts on “Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs

  1. One of my all time favourite books! As the eldest of a large family it has been my duty to provide every child with their own copy 🙂

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    1. Ever since I discovered Roald Dahl his books have been my favourite and it’s been difficult for me too to keep it to myself. Not only did I torture my brother with forced reading sessions, but I also made sure that every child I was asked to baby sit got some of the Roald Dahl experience 😉

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  2. Thankyou for reminding me of this amazing book! I’ll make sure I buy a copy for my niece. I was the bossy older sister too (isn’t it great!?) and would spend hours on end reciting poems/books/plays I’d memorised off by heart for my little brother. I bought Roald Dahl’s complete collection yesterday from the book man at work. I am so excited.

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    1. It’s always nice to meet someone like me! Especially if that person is a bossy older sister who has a history of imposing on their little brother to pay close attention when they have poems to recite and stories to tell 😉

      Roald Dahl’s books are good fun! Happy Reading!

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    1. Roald Dahl’s books are fun to read out loud, aren’t they? I had a grand time just choosing which poem to share for this particular post! And even when I was done choosing I couldn’t help going over the poems again re-reading my favourite parts.

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  3. loved it geets, had not read this version at all…it was hilarious…i could imagine Sid being tortured by laugher though!!!

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  4. OK … this is brilliant! I must get this book immediately! For myself … and of course to read with my son someday. Loved it. Thank you sooooo much for bringing this to my attention!!!

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