It’s easy to forget about the dwarves.
Somehow, caught up in the heady excitement of the happy ever after and of course THAT kiss, the little men get lost, fall out of the narrative, vanish.
But, just for a moment, stop, take a step back and ask yourself, what happens to the dwarves when Sleeping Beauty, woken from her sleep, rides off into the sunset in the arms of her Prince ?
Go back in time……
The batchelor pad, can you see it?
Plates piled up, beds unmade, the kitchen utilitarian, the sitting room unloved. A house to return to after a hard days work, bone tired, hungry, squabbling with the others as to whose turn it is to throw together the pot of food, designed simply to fill the belly.
And let’s not get started on the bathroom, a room used by 7 men, shaving, urinating, washing off the filth of a 12 hour shift.
But then,she comes, the house is transformed, made into a home, clean, shining, smelling good.There are flowers on the table, food that does more than just stave off hunger.
Suddenly, there is a reason to wash up, change a shirt, smooth down hair.
The taciturn conversations become playful, teasing, there are jokes, even god help us, a little bit of flirting.
Sleeping Beauty brings songs, music, even remembers to wash the bedding, so that tired male bodies fall into sleep scented with the smell of lavender and sunny afternoons.
Sleeping Beauty makes them more than just men who toil underground, she makes them a family,sitting around the table, shades of Walton’s Mountain.
Night, night sneezy
Night, night doc
Night, night bashful.
The dwarves stand tall, feel bigger.
Their home is full of love.
They don’t question it, don’t wonder where she has come from, don’t ask what back story has brought her through the woods, alone, to their lonely cottage.
And then, of course, it all goes wrong, the past, like the apple, back to bite her.
The dwarves, suddenly diminished, powerless, not man enough, any of them, to make it better.
They stand, weeping, grouped around that glass coffin, back to squabbling, blaming each other.
How do they really feel, when he arrives, beautiful, dashing, more than man enough.
How do they feel when her eyes open and she falls into his arms.
How does it feel when 2s company and 9s a crowd.
Fast forward…. The nuptials… A fairy tale wedding and a fairy tale ending.
But, where are dwarves on the seating plan ?
Top table or tucked into a corner with the annoying cousins and the children too old to sit with their parents ?
And afterwards, does their song stick in their throat as they make their way home
It’s off to work we go..
Of course,they try to keep it together, cleaning rota on the fridge, cookery books from the library, flowers in a milk bottle on the table.
It doesn’t last.
Sometimes at night, using the nearest thing to a clean plate, shovelling in food as fuel,they remember her, take turns to offer a story,a memory.
Each one lovingly polished, as shiny as the gems they still mine every day.