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Snowdrop

So she lay down upon it, said her prayers like a good child, and fell fast asleep.

When it got quite dark the masters of the little house returned. They were seven dwarfs who worked in the mines, right down deep in the heart of the mountain. They lighted their seven little lamps, and as soon as their eyes got accustomed to the glare they saw that someone had been in the room, for all was not in the same order as they had left it.

The first said:

`Who's been sitting on my little chair?'

The second said:

`Who's been eating my little loaf?'

The third said:

`Who's been tasting my porridge?'

The fourth said:

`Who's been eating out of my little plate?'

The fifth said:

`Who's been using my little fork?'

The sixth said:

`Who's been cutting with my little knife?'

The seventh said:

`Who's been drinking out of my little tumbler?'

Then the first Dwarf looked round and saw a little hollow in his bed, and he asked again:

`Who's been lying on my bed?'

The others came running round, and cried when they saw their beds:

`Somebody has lain on ours too.'

But when the seventh came to his bed, he started back in amazement, for there he beheld Snowdrop fast asleep. Then he called the others, who turned their little lamps full on the bed, and when they saw Snowdrop lying there they nearly fell down with surprise.

`Goodness gracious!' they cried, `what a beautiful child!'

And they were so enchanted by her beauty that they did not wake her, but let her sleep on in the little bed. But the seventh Dwarf slept with his companions one hour in each bed, and in this way he managed to pass the night.

In the morning Snowdrop awoke, but when she saw the seven little Dwarfs she felt very frightened. But they were so friendly and asked her what her name was in such a kind way, that she replied:

`I am Snowdrop.'

`Why did you come to our house?' continued the Dwarfs.

Then she told them how her stepmother had wished her put to death, and how the Huntsman had spared her life, and how she had run the whole day till she had come to their little house.

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