One evening as they sat thus cozily together someone knocked at the door as though he desired admittance. The mother said: “Rose-red, open the door quickly; it must be some traveler seeking shelter.” Rose-red hastened to unbar the door, and thought she saw a poor man standing in the darkness outside; but it was no such thing, only a bear, who poked his thick black head through the door.
Rose-red screamed aloud and sprang back in terror, the lamb began to bleat, the dove flapped its wings, and Snow-white ran and hid behind her mother’s bed. But the bear began to speak and said:
“Don’t be afraid: I won’t hurt you. I am half frozen, and only wish to warm myself a little.”
“My poor bear,” said the mother, “lie down by the fire, only take care you don’t burn your fur.”
Then she called out: “Snow-white and Rose-red, come out; the bear will do you no harm; he is a good, honest creature.”
So they both came out of their hiding-places, and gradually the lamb and dove drew near too, and they all forgot their fear. The bear asked the children to beat the snow a little out of his fur, and they fetched a brush and scrubbed him till he was dry. Then the beast stretched himself in front of the fire, and growled quite happily and comfortably.
The children soon grew quite at their ease with him, and led their helpless guest a fearful life. They tugged his fur with their hands, put their small feet on his back, and rolled him about here and there, or took a hazel wand and beat him with it; and if he growled they only laughed. The bear submitted to everything with the best possible good-nature, only when they went too far he cried: “Oh! Children, spare my life!”
“Snow-white and Rose-red, Don’t beat your dear friend dead!”
When it was time to retire for the night, and the others went to bed, the mother said to the bear: “You can lie there on the hearth, in heaven’s name; it will be a shelter for you from the cold and wet.” As soon as day dawned the children led him out, and he trotted over the snow into the wood. From this time on the bear came every evening at the same hour, and lay down by the hearth and let the children play what pranks they liked with him, and they got so accustomed to him that the door was never shut till their black friend had made his appearance.
What do you think of Snow White and Rose-red?