The fairy tale features such elements as the Magic Mirror, the poisoned apple, the sleeping enchantment, the glass coffin, and the characters of the beautiful princess and titular character Snow White, the Evil Queen (Snow White's wicked stepmother), the Huntsman, a handsome prince, and Seven Dwarves. The Grimm story, which is commonly referred to simply as "Snow White" in English, should not be confused with the story "Snow-White and Rose-Red " (in German "Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot"), another fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm which features a completely different character (named Snow-White in English) who also encounters a Dwarf.
In the Aarne-Thompson folklore classification, tales of this kind are grouped together as type 709, Snow White.
At the beginning of the story, a beautiful young queen sits sewing at an open window during a winter snowfall when she pricks her finger with her needle, causing three drops of red blood to drip onto the freshly fallen white snow on the black windowsill. Admiring the beauty of the of the resulting colour combination, she says to herself; "How I wish that I had a daughter that had skin White as Snow, lips Red as Blood, and hair Black as Ebony." Soon after that, the Good Queen gives birth to a baby daughter, a girl with White as Snow, lips Red as Blood, and hair Black as Ebony. She is named "Snow White". Sadly, the Good Queen, Snow White's mother, dies during childbirth.
After a year has passed, Snow White's father, the Good King, takes a new and second wife, who is very beautiful but a wicked and vain woman. The new queen , Snow White's wicked stepmother, possesses a Magic Mirror , which she asks every morning; "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" The Mirror always replies with; "My Queen, you are the fairest of them all." The Evil Queen is always pleased with that, because the Magic Mirror never lies. But as Snow White grows up, she becomes more beautiful each day, and by her seventh year, she is even more beautiful than the Evil Queen. When the Evil Queen asks her Magic Mirror, it says; "My Queen, you are the fairest here so true, but your stepdaughter Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than you."
This gives the Evil Queen a great shock. She becomes yellow and green with envy and from that hour on, her heart turns against her stepdaughter Snow White, and the Evil Queen hates the girl more and more. Anger and pride, like ill weeds, grow in her heart taller every day, until she has no peace in her heart day or night. Eventually, the Evil Queen orders her Huntsman to take her stepdaughter Snow White into the deepest woods to be killed. As proof that Snow White is dead, the Evil Queen demands that he return with her lungs and liver. The Huntsman takes Snow White into the forest. After raising his knife, he finds himself unable to kill the fair, innocent child. Frightened by the Huntsman's actions, Snow White escapes into the forest, promising never to return, and convinced that she will be eaten by some wild animal, the Huntsman lets her go. He instead brings the lungs and liver on a wild boar, which is prepared by the cook and eaten by the Evil Queen.
After wandering through the forest for days, Snow White discovers a tiny cottage belonging to a group of Seven Dwarves. Since no one is at home, she eats from their tiny meals, drinks of their wine and then tests all their beds. Finally, the last bed is comfortable enough for her and she falls asleep. When the Seven Dwarves return home, they immediately become aware that someone has entered their home secretly and soon discover the sleeping Snow White. The girl awakens and explains what has happened to her, and the Seven Dwarves take 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 she have everthing you want." They warn her to be careful when alone at home and to let no one in when they are delving in the mountains.
Meanwhile, the Evil Queen asks her Magic Mirror once again; "Magic Mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?" The Mirror replies; "My Queen, you are the fairest here so true, but your stepdaughter Snow White beyond the mountains at the Seven Dwarves is a thousand times more beautiful than you." The Evil Queen is horrified to discover the Huntsman has betrayed her and that her stepdaughter Snow White is still alive. She keeps thinking how to get rid of Snow White, and disguises herself as an old peddler woman. The Evil Queen then walks to the cottage of the dwarves and offers her stepdaughter Snow White beautiful, silky lace bodices and convinces her to take the most beautiful bodice as a present. Then the Evil Queen laces it so tightly that Snow White faints, causing her evil stepmother, the Evil Queen, to leave her for dead. However, the Seven Dwarves arrive home just in time, and Snow White revives after they cut the lace off her.
The next morning, the Evil Queen consults her mirror anew, and the Magic Mirror reveals her stepdaughter Snow White's revival. Now infuriated, the Evil Queen dresses as a comb seller and convinces her stepdaughter Snow White to take a beautiful comb as a present. She brushes Snow White's hair with the poisoned comb, and the girl faints again. When the Seven Dwarves return, they remove the comb from her hair and she revives once again. The next morning, the Magic Mirror tells the Evil Queen that her stepdaughter Snow White is still "a thousand time more beautiful". Now the Evil Queen nearly has a heart attack in shock and rage. As a third and last attempt to rid herself of her stepdaughte, she secretly consults the darkest magic and makes a poisoned apple, and in the disguise of a farmer's wife, she offers it to her stepdaughter Snow White. The girl is at first hesitant to accept it, so her evil stepmother, the Evil Queen, cuts the apple is half and eats the white (harmless) half and gives Snow White the red (poisoned) half. The girl eagerly takes a bite and falls into a state of suspended animation, causing the Evil Queen to triumph. This time, the Seven Dwarves are unable to revive the girl because they cannot find the source of her ill health. Presuming she is dead, they construct a glass coffin so her frozen beauty wouldn't be buried underground for none to see, and they place her in the middle of the forest and each tae turns guarding the princess.
Time passes and a handsome prince travelling through the land sees Snow White. Enchanted by her beauty, he falls in love with her and convinces the Seven Dwarves to take the glass coffin back to his kingdom. However, as the prince's servants carry the glass coffin away, they stumble on some roots in the forest's floor. The tremor causes the piece of poisoned apple to dislodge from Snow White's throat, awakening her. The prince then declares his love for her and a wedding is soon planned. The couple invite every king and queen to the wedding party, including Snow White's wicked stepmother, the Evil Queen. Meanwhile, the Evil Queen, still believing that her stepdaughter Snow White is dead, again asks the Magic Mirror who the fairest in all the land is. The magic mirror says; "You, my queen, are fair so true. But the young Queen is a thousand times fairer than you".
Appalled, in disbelief, and with her heart filled with fear and doubt, the Evil Queen is at first hesitant to accept the invitation, but she eventually decides to go. Not knowing that this new queen is indeed her stepdaughter Snow White, she arrives at the wedding and her heart fills with the deepest dread when she realizes the truth. As a punishment for her attempted murders, a pair of glowing hot iron shoes are brought forth with tongs and placed before the Evil Queen, Snow White's evil stepmother. She is forced to step into the burning shoes and dance until she drops dead.