Now that she had that entire cauldron of Sleeping Death potion, the Evil Queen had to figure out a way to get Snow White to taste it. The apple wasn’t her first try.
For many days, the Queen observed Snow’s daily patterns, looking for an opportunity. At last came Thursday, washing day. Snow let the forest creatures amuse themselves trying to beat the stains out of the floor washing cloths, but she did the clothing herself. “You do the hard part, little deers! I’ll work on the easy things.” Her laugh tinkled over the brook and grated on the Queen’s ears. It wasn’t the infernal cheer that grated so much as Snow’s dishonesty. Why didn’t she tell the animals that no one on two feet could look presentable with so many hoof- and paw- and tiny bird footprints stamped across his trousers?
Even the frogs tried to help the princess, though they mostly popped bubbles and splashed. Frogs. That was it!
Frogs were natural allies to witches because of their virtual immunity to poisons. They didn’t lick their own skin like mammals or clean their feathers like birds. If you poison a frog, you poison the person who touches the frog.
The Queen caught a fat frog and hurried back to her castle. All week she fattened it on flies and moths that gathered around the remains of her enemies. The following Wednesday night, she dipped the frog in potion and gave it instructions. “Hop this little packet of soap flakes to your mistress when she comes to do the wash.”
Frogs, being loyal only to food, never understood that such a thing as an ulterior motive might exist. The frog knew only that he was going home to his squashy mud home, to fresh mosquitoes and gnats, and to the music and bubbles of laundry day.
The morning sun rose, and with it, the girl who lived with the dwarves as cook-housekeeper. The frog heard the sweet slurp of the mud pulling at the girls sturdy wooden clogs as she walked the heavy laundry basket to the roundest part of the stream. The frog hopped out of his hole with three easy plops and took up the little packet of soap in his mouth. From the shadows, the hidden Queen watched with bated breath.
The princess saw the frog before he had taken two hops her way. “Is that soap? Oh, dear, fat frog, won’t you pour it into the water there and splash around? I know how much you love bubbles!”
The frog tugged loose the flap, took the packet in his mouth, leapt high into the air above the stream, and came down with a great splash, made greater by his week of rich meals. He dove down with the packet until all the soap floated to the surface. Then he splashed with abandon until the air around the princess was filled with blue and pink bubbles.
“Thank you, dear frog!” the princess said, and she kissed him right on his slick green nose.
The Queen nearly yelped in triumph, and perhaps she would have, if anything unusual had happened next. But, far from succumbing to the sleep like death, Snow White began to sing and whistle with the birds. They sang a superfluous song about underwear and aprons for so long that the Queen nearly gave herself a headache from rolling her eyes. The princess soaped and scrubbed and rinsed and squeezed the laundry and kissed a dozen birds and frogs. But she was not even drowsy. The frog had washed all the poison off in making bubbles.
When the menagerie had returned to the cottage to hang out the wash, the Queen emerged from her coterie. Her lips were flat and pale with rage as she stomped home through the swamp. But by and by, she found herself humming, then singing a song as she treaded the weary miles to the castle:
We wash the little underwear
We wash the little apron
We wash the blouses and the strings
That tie my little cape on
*whistling interlude in manner of obnoxious birds*
We scrub the bottoms and the tops
We scrub the undergarments
Scrub the nightgowns and the pockets
Filled with small compartments
*stomping in manner of bunnies*
Yes, every duty has its place,
The small ones and the great ones,
But how I love to wash and scrub
The underwear and aprons.
We had a dentist appointment this morning where my youngest tried to take some medicine, and I made up this and a few other failed alternative sleeping death potion delivery methods for her.