From rare electrum, polished sleek,
Made also my fair twin
That through us they might speak.
Then manufactured two-score more,
The size a lady's hand might hold,
To scatter through the realm
And watch events unfold.
I hung upon one wizard's wall,
Learned secrets of his arcane trade,
And watched the scenes my kin
Reflected and displayed.
Until my wizard's colleague fell--
Killed in some petty noble's scheme.
That day my mirror twin
Was given to the Queen.
My twin hung in the king's great hall;
I witnessed balls and trials and courts.
My wizard noted all,
Impatient for reports.
Those secrets, overheard, brought wealth:
The wizard died from his excess.
I passed then to a witch--
Great beauty she possessed.
"Am I the fairest of them all?"
She watched the kingdom's ladies preen.
With spell and potion's aid
Her beauty was supreme.
Thus I could state most honestly
(For I was made to never lie)
That she was fairest still
Of all whom I did spy.
Until the day my mirror twin
Showed me the princess as she passed:
White skin, black hair, red lips.
The witch her question asked,
And Snow White's loveliness outshone
The false lure magic gave to her.
Regretfully I said,
"The princess is most fair."
If only those who molded me
Had let me choose to hold my tongue,
For spilling truth has doomed
A girl naive and young.
I watch the witch shape spells and charms
To make the princess hers by right;
Her jealousy requires
The death of fair Snow White.
Julia H. West has had fantasy and science fiction stories published in several magazines and anthologies, including REALMS OF FANTASY. She has a degree in anthropology, and is a life-long reader of folk tales from many cultures.