Wishing Wells, Magic Mirrors & Poison Apples

The first-ever Disney Princess is the fairest of them all.  “Lips red as the rose, hair black as ebony, skin white as snow,” as stated by the magic mirror when it taunts the evil queen.

Snow White hasn’t been my favorite in the line-up of Disney princesses.  I couldn’t connected with her storyline. The film seemed too “fairytale-esque,” if that’s possible.  The characters were unrealistic, unlike more recent films like Frozen where Anna wakes up with crazy hair and sticks her foot in her mouth at times.  Now that is something I can connect with.

A classic Fairytale…

In the classic fairytale of Snow White, you have a princess, wishing for the one she loves.  And singing those wishes into a “magic wishing well” with specific instructions, stating she would like her future love to find her today.

Upon hearing the voice of the princess singing to the well, a prince (surprise) jumps over the castle fence and starts singing to her.  Well done wishing well.

Then we flip over to the evil queen.  She’s also talking to magical things, except hers is a mirror on the wall.  What is the queen wishing for, lusting for, craving to claim as her own? Why only the title, “fairest of them all,” of course.

The evil queen on the other hand hears from the mirror that her title has been taken by her step-daughter, Snow White, and her jealousy drives her to order the princess to be killed.

This is where Snow White gets interesting.  Beyond the topic of wishing, what I found more recently when watching the film is its deeper and more theological themes.

The imagery and symbolism you can find within the story line of Snow White is quite powerful.

One example of symbolism that is hinted at, is the idea of sacrifice.  When the huntsmen is ordered to kill Snow White he isn’t able to follow through with the queen’s wishes.  Warning the princess the queen is jealous of her and will stop at nothing, he kills a pig and places its heart in the queen’s box, instead of the princess’s heart, as proof of the princess’s death.  The idea that something innocent had to die in payment for the queen’s wrath allowing Snow White to escape.

Another biblical example is from Matthew 10:16 where we are told to be as innocent as doves but as wise as serpents.  In order to protect Snow White from the evil queen, her new roommates (the seven dwarves) warn her to be wary of strangers and not to let anyone into the cottage where they live.  Snow White definitely has the innocent dove part down, but is tricked by a “serpent” and a juicy fruit, sound like someone else we know (Genesis 3)?

Pay close attention to what happens next.

You’ve probably seen the classic image from Snow White, where the evil queen disguises herself to trick the princess.  An old weathered woman with a sizable wort on the bridge of her elongated nose, clothed in black and holding out a bright red apple.

To set the scene, picture a young princess baking pies for her new friends when an old woman walks up.  She starts the conversation by telling Snow White, “It’s apple pies that make the menfolks mouths water,” gesturing to her basket of apples.

To tempt the princess into biting into one of the apples, she continues by lying to her, telling her that that her bright red (poisoned) apple isn’t an ordinary apple but is instead a magic wishing apple, and with just one bite all of her dreams would come true.

Note, the evil queen had overheard the princess singing earlier in the film and had seen the prince jump over the fence to meet her.  

So truthfully, the queen continued by saying.  “There must be something your little heart desires, perhaps there’s someone you love.”

It’s important to state that we shouldn’t think our struggles are a mystery to the devil.  There is a strategy behind the ways you are tempted and the lies that are spoken over you. As the evil queen said, “Old granny knows a young girl’s heart.”

This is why it is important for us as Christians to, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). Just like the Evil Queen, our enemy will cleverly entice us.

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To spoil the ending.  Young Snow What does not heed the warning from her friends.  Thinking of her future true love and not letting her wish grow cold, she decidedly bites into the apple.  As a strange feeling sweeps over her, we hear her collapse to the floor as her arm hits the ground and the apple rolls out of her hand.

She isn’t the only one who is tricked by the schemes of the evil one.  We too are dead in our sins.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

The Happily Ever After…

Snow White’s story didn’t finish there, of course it has to turn around.  The prince rides in and saves Snow White from her deep sleep, then they ride off together on his white steed toward a glistening castle in the distance.

And our story doesn’t finish with us being dead in our sins.  Disney princesses aren’t the only ones with fairytale endings.  We also have a Prince in shining armour and a King who deeply cares for his children.  

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:4-10)

You are God’s princess, and our heavenly father has a fairytale ending planned that will be far greater than anything on the silver screen.

Through out the month, we are going to open the chapters of our favorite childhood fairy tales to uncover the biblical realities behind our wildest fantasies. Follow along for the series: Fantasies & Fairy tales!

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