|Resurrection Reunion 2, 1945, Sir Stanley Spencer|
Provided by Tess Kincaid.
Many years ago, I received an invitation to a very grand wedding; a beautiful young princess, with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony, was marrying the King’s son and all the people of the land were to come and join in the celebrations. You can imagine how delighted we were to attend the festivities and see the happy pair be joined in holy matrimony. After the ceremony, tables were carried in laden with all manner of glorious food; there were capons, geese, larks, chickens, beef, bacon, lamb, salmon, herring, eels and other fresh water fish; the dairy had contributed cheeses and butter and great mounds of eggs. There were huge bowls of sweet and spicy mead, there was ale, cider and perry, while the courtiers themselves drank wine. In short it was a feast to make the heart sing.
When all had eaten and drunk their fill, a band of musicians entered the hall and a space was cleared for dancing. Prince and Princess led the courtly dances with a Quadrille, but jigs and country dances soon took over and we ordinary folk joined the fray, kicking and hopping until our faces turned red and the sweat poured off the peasant’s brow.
It was then I saw her: a beautiful woman, no longer young but well preserved, dressed in courtly finery and glittering jewels, dancing in the centre of the throng. I had had to take a breather, my heart was pounding fit to burst and while I looked round to find a way out and maybe a stool to perch on for a minute, my eye was drawn to her. She danced wilder and faster than anyone else around; other dancers had opened up a circle around her and as they backed away, I saw horror on their faces. Curious, I edged nearer, the better to see her: her feet fairly flew across the ground. Her shoes! Oh, Lord have Mercy, her shoes! they were of iron, red-hot iron and no matter how hard she tried to shake them off, they were stuck to her feet.
And now I recognised her.
I had, of course, heard of her and her envious, malicious and murderous deeds. Not content with banishing Snow-white she had then thrice tried to kill her; first trying to lace her to death, then by combing her hair with a poisoned comb and lastly by making her choke on a poisoned apple. Three times her plan failed and Snow-white was resurrected, twice by the dwarves with whom she had found a home and lastly by the Prince, who fell in love with her instantly, the moment he saw her lying in her glass coffin.
The wicked stepmother’s machinations had finally failed and now she was paying the price. Condemned to dance herself to death there was to be no miraculous resurrection for her.