Snow White snoozed for some time, looking much less the beautiful princess and more the drooling hobo than when she’d left the palace that morning. The sun was setting by the time she felt a swift kick to her ribs. ’S’it dead?’ asked a man’s voice.

‘Must be,’ came another, ‘look how white it is. It’s been there a while I expect. Maybe a bear dragged it here.’ Snow White’s eyelashes fluttered as she tried to open her eyes, but they were thick with crusty sleep. She made to speak, but only a throaty croak came out of her dry mouth; all moisture seemingly having leaked out onto her cheek. She coughed and tried again, ‘No I’m not dead,’ she uttered, disgusted. She raised her hand to wipe her crusty face and eyes, and tried once more to open them. She was surrounded by six bearded faces looming over her, looking terrified.

‘What is it?’ asked one.

‘It? IT?!’ yelled the princess climbing to her feet. ‘I’m a very important princess. It is I who should be asking what are you?!’

One of the bearded faces looked amused. The others all looked uncomfortable. The amused looking beard adjusted his little round spectacles and said, ‘Well, I think we’re generally referred to as dwarves. Although we prefer to just be called men. Given that we’re men and it is so 9th century to use someone’s physical features to define them, you know?’

‘Oh. Yes. I suppose you are rather short,’ answered Snow White, for she was a very observant princess.

‘She’s a dick,’ grumbled one foul looking face.

‘I beg your pardon?!’ screeched Snow White.

‘Well you are! ‘Oh I s’pose you are quite short.’ How tall d’ya think you are lady?!’

‘I’m five foot three and three quarters thank you very much,’ she replied haughtily.

‘See? Short!’

‘Oh, well I’ve never-‘

‘Don’t mind Grumpy,’ interrupted the bespectacled beard. ‘He’s a right misery guts.’

‘You call him Grumpy?’

‘Erm…. yes… it’s his name…?’ He turned to look at the others with a face that asked if this chick was for real.

‘His mother called him Grumpy?’

‘That’s norm’ly how names work innit,’ sneered Grumpy.

‘Were you a grumpy baby?’

‘How’d I know? I was a baby!’

‘Right…’

The spectacled beard stepped in, ‘Allow me to introduce ourselves princess. I’m Doc. You’ve met Grumpy. That there is Sneezy.’

‘ACHOO!’ He wiped his red runny nose on his sleeve.

‘That cheery little fella is Happy.’

‘How’d you do ma’am?’ he grinned inanely.

‘Oh, that one there that’s just pinched your comfy looking spot on the ground is Sleepy.’ Sleepy did not greet Snow White for he was sleeping.

‘The one that’s hiding behind that tree over there, the one that ran off as soon as you spoke, that’s Bashful.’ A hand darted out from behind the tree to give a quick wave. ‘And that one trying to lick the beehive over there is Dopey.’

‘What… interesting names…’ said Snow White politely.

‘Well what’s your name then?’ demanded an offended Grumpy.

‘Why, it’s Snow White,’ the princess said proudly puffing out her chest. ‘Shit,’ She thought, ‘I’m meant to be in hiding.’

‘Well what sort of a name is that? You got named after your skin!’

‘It’s a fine name thank you very much!’

Doc, the voice of reason once more, stepped in. ‘You’re the princess? Oh Your Highness.’ He made to bow.

‘No no. No don’t do that. I’m not a princess, I’m-‘

‘You said you were a princess earlier,’ grinned Happy.

‘Shit. Right, well, the thing is, I’ve kind of faked my own death.’

‘Oh princess! Why? ACHOO!’

‘Because my stepmother is quite wicked and wanted me dead!’

‘Ah. The Wicked Queen,’ said Doc knowingly, ‘yes she’s quite wicked so I’m not shocked. We won’t say anything, princess.’

‘Why should we protect her?’ demanded Grumpy.

‘Because we’re fucking lovely!’ yelled Doc. Happy smiled merrily.

‘Oh my seven little heroes!’ cried Snow White.

Snow White made to hug Doc, who blushed and shook her off. ‘You can stay with us Your Highness,’ he offered.

‘What?! In this midden?!’ asked Snow White aghast.

Grumpy pointed out what a rude little bitch she was and it was the princess’s turn to blush for she knew that Grumpy was right and she had indeed been rude. ‘I’m sorry… erm… gentlemen… where are my manners? It’s just, I’m not sure I’d fit in in a… a bachelor pad you see. And a young woman living with seven men! Why, imagine the scandal!’

‘But no one will know, princess. You’re in hiding, remember. Perhaps you could be our maid,’ suggested Doc helpfully.

‘Maid? Pfft. Because I’m a woman my only worth is to clean up after a bunch of unkempt trolls, is that it?!’

‘Trolls?!’ Grumpy seethed.

‘Well, princess, that’s not what I was saying at all,’ Doc chattered, ‘but if you’re in hiding you’ll be sat around the house all day and-‘

‘And I might as well make myself useful? So this isn’t a selfless offer to help a damsel in distress? This is Middle Ages slavery; you want a maid for free! Oh for shame boys!’

Five little men stared at their toes embarrassed, whilst one slept soundly and another had his tongue stuck in a tree.

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