Hermann Vogel-The Three Little Men in the Wood

The Three Little Men in the Wood by Hermann Vogel

Dwarves (also known as Dwarfs) are a type of short humanoid folkloric creature that appears in many fairy tales. The most famous ones are the Seven Dwarves (or Seven Dwarfs) from the German fairy tale Snow White, and others.


Snow WhiteEdit

The Seven Dwarves are a group of dwarves that live in a tiny cottage and work in the nearby mines. Snow White happened upon their house after being told by the Huntsman to flee from the Evil Queen 's kingdom.

The Seven Dwarves returned home and immediately noticed someone had sneaked in, because everything was in disorder. During their loud discussion, they discovered the sleeping Snow White. She woke up and explained to them what happened. The Dwarves took pity on her, saying: "If you will keep house for us, and cook, make beds, wash, sew, and knit, and keep everything clean and orderly, then you can stay with us, and you shall have everything that you want." They warn her to be careful when alone at home, and to not let anyone in while they are delving in the mountains.

When the Evil Queen disguised as an old peddler ties a colorful, silky bodice onto Snow White which causes her to faint, the Seven Dwarves return just in time and Snow White revives when the Dwarves cut the lace. When the Evil Queen dresses as a comb seller and gives Snow White a poisoned comb, the Seven Dwarves save her again. The Evil Queen then appears disguised as a farmer's wife and gives Snow White a poisoned apple, of which she takes a bite. This time, the Seven Dwarves are unable to revive the girl, because they can't find the source of Snow White's poor health and, assuming that she is dead, they place her in a glass coffin in the middle of the forest and take turns guarding her.

After some time has passed, a Prince traveling through the land sees Snow White where he strides to her coffin, and instantly falls in love with her upon being enchanted by her beauty. The Seven Dwarves let him take the coffin, and as his servants carry the coffin away, they stumble on some roots and the piece of apple comes out of Snow White's throat, reviving her.

Dwarves in other fairy talesEdit

Snow-White and Rose-RedEdit

In the German fairy tale "Snow-White and Rose-Red", two sisters encounter a bear who was once a prince cursed into the form of a bear by a wicked dwarf who wished to steal the prince's treasure. The Bear Prince spent a winter with the two sisters warming himself by their fire and playing with the two little girls, as the snow buried and hid his treasure. When summer came, the Bear Prince returned to the forest to protect his treasure from the wicked dwarf, and Snow-White and Rose-Red encounter the dwarf several times.

Their first encounter is when the dwarf was trapped by his beard in a tree. To help the dwarf, the two girls cut his beard to free him, but the dwarf is ungrateful and angered that they have ruined his beautiful beard. Later, they encounter the dwarf fishing where his beard has become entangled in his fishing line and a fish threatens to pull him into the water. Snow-White and Rose-Red free him once again by cutting his beard, and once again the dwarf is ungrateful. Later the girls encounter the wicked dwarf about to be dragged away by a giant bird by his coat, and when they pull him free, the dwarf scolds them for ruining his brown coat.

Snow-White and Rose-Red encounter the wicked dwarf one last time, now cornered by a large bear. The dwarf pleads for the bear to let him go and eat the two sisters instead, and the bear (who is the Bear Prince that spent the entire winter with the sisters) kills him with one strike of his paw. With the wicked dwarf dead, his curse is lifted and the bear transforms back into a handsome prince.

The Three Little Men in the WoodEdit

In the German fairy tale "The Three Little Men in the Wood", a young maiden is persecuted by her stepmother and stepsister, and is ordered by her wicked stepmother to seek strawberries in the woods. While in the woods, the maiden meets three little men (dwarves, or sometimes referred to as "gnomes") and kindly shared her food with them and cleaned for them. Because of her kindness, the three little men reward her each with a wish: one declared that she should grow more beautiful every day, the other declared that a gold piece should fall from her mouth whenever she spoke, and the third declared that a king would marry her.

The maiden returned home and, upon seeing the magical gifts she was given, her stepsister demands the same gifts for herself. The stepsister entered the woods and found the three little men, but refused to share her food with them or clean for them. The little men wanted to punish her for her haughtiness and one declared that she would grow more ugly every day, the other declared that a toad should fall from her mouth whenever she spoke, and the third declared that she would die a miserable death. After these events, the three little men aren't seen again in this fairy tale.