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Snowwhite is of special interest to the students of the folk-tale as being obviously a late product combining many _motifs_ from different, more primitive, or at least earlier formulae. E. Boeklen, in his _Schneewitchen Studien_, I, Leipzig 1910, suggests influence by Hansel and Gretel; The Seven Ravens; The Sleeping Beauty; The Maiden without Hands; One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes; False Bride, etc.; and Bolte, i., 453, appears to agree with him. Certainly almost every one of the incidents can be paralleled in other sets of folk-tales. The combination "white as snow," "red as blood," "black as ebony," has already been given in the present volume (see p. 173). Bringing back an animal's heart instead of the proposed victim's is common form as early as the Book of Genesis; and the trial of the three beds is familiar to English children in Southey's "Three Bears." It would seem that a story something like "Snowwhite" was known in Shakespeare's time, as there appears to be a reference to it in the main plot of "Cymbeline" (see _Germania_, ix., 458).
The form I have given to the formula follows very closely that of the Grimms' 53. It is one of their best stories and occurs widely spread throughout Germany. Whether that implies original composition in Central Europe cannot at present be determined, but it certainly looks that way. I have, however, omitted Bolte's F referring to the punishment of the Queen, which is wanting in the majority of the variants. No editor of a text would under similar circ.u.mstances take account of so rare a variant.