When you ask people which Ladybird books they remember best from their own childhood so many people recall the Well-Loved Tales series and being read the books as bedtime stories on many occasions. Strangely I don’t actually remember many of them at all from my own childhood, yet I’m pretty sure I can’t have avoided them all completely.
So many people know the story of Snow-White from the Disney film, yet the story of Snow-White and Rose-Red was completely new to me when I found this book from the Well-Loved Tales series (606D) in a local charity shop.
It’s rather a strange story if the truth be told. Two sisters, Snow-White and Rose-Red live with their mother in the forest. One winter’s evening a talking bear comes to their cottage and asks to be let in from the cold. Their mother obliges and the bear becomes a regular visitor each winter’s night and the sisters soon form a strong bond with him.
Come the summer and the bear is back living in the forest and the girls our out exploring one day when they find a dwarf with his long white beard stuck in a tree trunk. They try to free him, but the only way to do so is to cut off the end of his beard. The dwarf is far from happy and goes away without a single word of thanks. Twice more the dwarf finds himself in peril and again the sisters save him without any thanks at all.
One day the girls come across the dwarf selling his precious jewels and they can’t help but stop and stare. Again the dwarf is not happy and he starts to shout at them, but soon a terrible growl is heard and a big black bear comes towards the three of them.
The dwarf pleads to be saved, but the bear ignores him and kills him with a single blow. The sisters run away terrified, but a familiar voice shouts to them and they soon realise that the bear is actually the one that came into their cottage each winter’s night. As the three of them are reunited the bear’s fur falls away and instead a handsome young man dressed in gold stands before them. Obviously.
It transpires that the young man is a King’s son and years ago the dwarf robbed him and put a spell on him so that he was changed into a bear. Ever since then the bear had been looking for an opportunity to kill the bear so that the spell could be lifted from him.
The sisters and their mother end up going to live with the Prince in his castle and Snow-White married the prince, whilst Rose-Red married his brother.
All sounds a bit far-fetched doesn’t it? No wonder Little Miss C asked if the story was real or not!
f you have a collection of old Ladybird books then please feel free to join in with Ladybird Tuesday. There are no formal rules to follow, just leave a link to any post you write in the comments below and if you’re feeling kind link back to my Ladybird Tuesday category here on Being Mrs C. Thanks!