208 THE MAGIC MIRROR.
To her vexation the mirror repliedó
"Fair queen, at home there is none like thee, But over the mountains is Snow-v/hite free, With seven little dwarfs, who are strange to see; She is a thousand times fairer than thee I"
The queen was furious when she heard this, for she knew the mirror was truthful, and that the hunter must have deceived her, and that Snow-white still lived. So she sat and pondered over these facts, thinking what would be best to do, for as long as she was not the most beautiful woman in the land, her jealousy gave her no peace. After a time, she decided what to do. First, she painted her face, and whitened her hair; then she dressed herself in old women's clothes, and was so disguised that no one could have recognised her.
Watching an opportunity, she left the castle, and took her way to the wood near the mountains, where the seven little dwarfs lived. When she reached the door, she knocked, and cried, "Beautiful goods to sell; beautiful goods to sell."
Snow-white, when she heard it, peeped through the window and said, " Good-day, old lady. What have you in your basket for me to buy?"
"Everything that is pretty," she replied; "laces, and pearls, and ear-rings, and bracelets of every colour;" and she held up her basket, which was lined with glittering silk.
" I can let in this respectable old woman," thought Snow-white, " she will not harm me." So she unbolted the door, and told her to come in. Oh, how delighted Snow-white was with the pretty things; she bought several trinkets, and a beautiful silk lace for her stays, but she did not see the evil eye of the old woman who was watching her. Presently she said, "Child, come here; I will show you how to lace your stays properly." Snow-white had no suspicion, so she placed herself before the old woman that she might lace her stays. But no sooner was the lace in the holes than she began to lace so fast and pull so tight that Snow-white could not breathe, and presently fell down at her feet as if dead.
" Now you are beautiful indeed," said the woman, and fancying she heard footsteps, rushed away as quickly as she could.
Not long after, the seven dwarfs came home, and they were terribly frightened fco see dear little Snow-white lying on the ground