In the dining hall, silence consumed everyone’s breath before a resonating yell broke the spell.
“You did what?”
“Well, I didn’t mean to!”
Six of the dumbfound dinner guests quietly put their knives and forks down, hoping in doing so the waters would be calm enough, at some point soon, for their dinner to continue.
Grumpy’s eyebrows knitted together as Snow White sat nervously at the head of the table, smiling as best she could, considering the circumstances.
The knife and fork, which the angry miner held, strained under his tight grip. “You’re telling me you “accidentally” tripped the Prince over, and he “accidentally” fell into the mouth of a gaping dragon." Grumpy took a deep breath. "To wit, he “accidentally” died!”
“Well, when you put it like that, it seems pretty sus!” Snow White blushed heavily under the gaze of her family. “I mean, it’s not like I intentionally tripped him! For goodness sakes, how was I to know that a dragon was climbing up the castle’s turret wall at exactly the same time as he was..." she shrugged" going down the turret wall. I only thought we were going out for an after-dinner chat?” She lifted a small fork full of food to her quivering ruby lips.
“What precisely was this “after-dinner discussion” about?” Grumpy was never one to give in on a good argument. It was his forte to dig away at a little nugget of information until he hit the seam of full-blown truth. “Why did it need the both of you to climb the tallest turret in the castle?”
Quietly, Bashful began eating again. He desperately needed something to distract him from the arguing, so enjoying the seven-course menu Snow White had carefully ordered the cooks to whip up all afternoon was going to have to do the trick. He certainly didn’t want to hear any details; it was all too sordid.
“Oh, really, Grumpy, that was a very private conversation. I really don’t think the dinner table is the right place for it.”
Grumpy lay his knife and fork down on the white marble table, then laced his fingers in front of his face.
“Oh, great!” exclaimed Dopey as he put his homemade cigarette out on his bread plate. “Here we go!”
Snow White carefully placed her golden cutlery on the table, her face flushing bright pink as she did. “If you must know,” tears glistened in her eyes as she met Grumpy’s gaze. “The Prince was very upset with me!”
“Oh, I’m sure he wasn’t upset. No one could be upset with you! You’re just too lovely, Snow!” Happy reached out to his left and caressed Snow White’s hand.
“Happy, you’re so kind, thank you!” Snow White smiled generously as she pulled her hand away from his grasp and placed it carefully on her lap.
“Oh, for goodness sakes, Happy, put it away! The girl could be charged with murder!” Grumpy stood up, his beard shaking with anger as he thumped his fists on the table. “What did you have to talk about with the prince?”
“Tears welled in the young woman’s eyes then flooded down her burning cheeks. She whimpered. “He was….” Her face burned bright ruby red, “Oh, how do I say this?”
A white lace handkerchief was pulled out from her silk, and ruffled dresses sleave then dabbed at her tears. “He, the prince, wasn’t satisfied with just a kiss before marriage.”
The miner’s attention was focused like a pickaxe to diamonds as the blushing Snow White continued to stammer.
“He was pressurising me all the time. Undressing me with his eyes. Groping me with his hands every time we were alone, trying to stick his tongue down my throat at any opportunity.” Snow White snorted loudly like a pig in mud, “Oh, but I’m no fool. I remember exactly what Doc said would happen if we did anything other than hold hands before the wedding. And I can tell you for a certainty, I did not want the prince to grow a third leg, and I certainly didn’t want to grow one either! Could you imagine the cost of changing all our pants and shoes to accommodate another limb?”
Doc put his head in his hands and slowly shook it from side to side.
“No, sir!” Snow White shook her own determined head, “I didn’t want to go when the prince said, “Come on, Snow, let’s climb up the turret, and I’ll show you a scorching time!” but what choice did I have?”
Happy turned a bright pink and began moaning softly into his white beard.
Snow White raised an eyebrow at the now quivering miner, then moved her chair one loud shuffle away from him before she spoke. “Well, of course, we’d be hot by the end of climbing up that turret. It’s got three hundred and thirteen stairs. But I thought it might be good to wear him out a bit so he wouldn’t be so handsy in the evening.” The young woman stopped and gazed sadly into the distance before thoughtfully commenting. “I did want to change out of my high heels and big flowing dress with the hem that I catch my heels in all the time. But the Prince wouldn’t have it. He said that, if need be, he’d carry me up the twenty-four flights of stairs himself. Apparently, the view is to die for, and he really wanted me to experience that firsthand, so to speak.”
Grumpy sat down; one bushy eyebrow was raised high onto his forehead. “Then how did he trip and fall into the dragon?”
The six other miners sat quietly, listening to every word.
“Well, we finally got to the top, and I was totally buggered!”
Happy coughed then blew the red wine he’d been sipping to cool himself down all over the table and Sneezy, who sadly had chosen to sit opposite.
The young woman ignored her choking uncle and spoke loudly over his coughing, “The Prince wanted me to hold his hand whilst I leant out over the side so I could look at the bottom of the moat. But I said I hated heights and wouldn’t let go of the turret’s entrance gate. To wit, the prince said, “If you don’t.” Snow White blushed. “It’s a rude word, so I’ll use one that sounds like it.”
The minders all nodded, knowing that Snow White had never uttered a profanity in her life, and they respected her demure, ladylike manner!
“He said… if you don’t ‘ducking’ well, let go that ‘ducking’ door, I’m going to ‘ducking’ well rip it off its ‘ducking’ hinges, and you can ride it all the way down!”
Happy lent back in his chair as stiff as an iron rod as Sneezy grabbed his napkin and quickly began fanning him.
“I know!” quivered Snow White, who blew her nose on her napkin. “Well, I wasn’t going to put up with that! So, I said, “You can darn well ‘duck’ yourself for the rest of your ‘ducking’ life! My ‘ducking’ Uncles are going to ‘duck’ you over!”
The silence in the palace’s dining hall was deafening.
Snow White cried into her damp but silk handkerchief, “He said, “You dumb ‘duck’!” And then, he lunged at me with his fingers spread out like claws. So, I kicked him right between his legs. He fell forwards, tripped over my skirt and….” She sighed dramatically, “Well, the rest, you know!”