Writing Out Loud: THE SEVEN PLUS ONE

By George Stahl

It was on this day in history, in 1937, that Walt Disney, in a feature cartoon, first introduced us to seven of the most mismatched, thrown together bag of misfits ever assembled by the Brothers Grimm. These little guys were all of 3 feet tall, but had enormous hearts as big as any giant of 70 feet. They lived in a small cottage, less than two rooms (that would be one) with a thatched roof, dirt floor and mud walls. These guys were extremely close in their relationships with one another, and very rarely did they argue. Certainly, they never got physical with one another (not that way) simply because there wasn’t enough room in their house for horseplay. Besides, as we saw their story unfold, we knew that they were very serious-minded fellows. No nonsense sort of guys.
The ironic thing about their tale was where they earned a living and how. Every day, all seven of them would wake up early, get dressed and leave the house at the same time. As they walked through a dense forest where they lived, they’d whistle. Of all things, they whistled a happy tune and carried their tools with them over their shoulders. Picks, shovels and lanterns. It was all they had to work with. Oh, and they all had huge, oversized pockets in their pants. Odd? Yeah, sure, but not as odd as what they were doing out there in those dense, dark, scary woods all day.
In the story, we are not told exactly where they live, only that it is in the realm of some evil, power hungry queen-slash-sorceress-slash-evil-stepmother-slash-all-around-cranky…witch. (Somebody saved a lot of money putting all of those nasty characters into one bony woman.)

Anyway, the dwarfs, as they were known, these seven guys worked 7 days a week, 7 hours a day, and 7 miles from home. That last seven is a guess, and it fits in the sequence. Let’s also add that they worked seven levels below the ground in a mine. Yep, let’s call it, ‘The Seven Carat Mine.’ After all, according to the story, the legend and the cartoon, they were diamond harvesters.
See, there’s the rub. These guys live in a one room shack, in the woods, in the dark, under the thumb of some mad woman with an ego the size of Pluto, and they collect diamonds. No mention of a boss, a company, a mine owner or anything remotely close to someone they are accountable to. So…why? What do they do with the diamonds? They’ve been at this for years, they have a stash of sparkling glass somewhere and they sit on it? Stop the diamond cutters, there is something really wrong with this picture. We never get the answer. It is a mystery to this day. Whatever.

Maybe they harvest the diamonds in their rarest form…coal. For the sake of not having to change their moniker to ‘The Seven Misers,’ we’ll go with that, for now. Ok. All that being said, one day, these heptagons of the forest were on their way home from the mine. They were approaching their door, and they saw it was open. One of them looked at the rest of the group, “Who was the idiot that left the door open?” asked the one called Grumpy, demanding an answer. The rest were silent. No one was going to cop to this. Leaving the only door of a one room house open in a heavily wooded area for 7 hours was not a good thing. There be critters in them thar woods!

As they cautiously approached, they heard rumblings from inside. They also saw a glowing candle flickering. “Correct me if I’m wrong, and I am most of the time, but I don’t think animals can light a candle,” said Dopey. “Hello!” shouted Happy. “You might want to not do that,” said Bashful. “Ah buggers! (Sniffle) Let them know we’re here,” yelled Sneezy. “Man…why now? I am really ready to hit the sack,” complained Sleepy. “Get out of our house whoever you are,” he screamed. They started running towards the mud hut, yelling and spitting, and screaming, and carrying on like banshees. Suddenly, they skidded to a stop as a giant woman, dressed in red white and blue clothes came out shaking a mop. She slapped Grumpy in the head and he fell back. “Let’s see that. She got you good, boy,” said Doc, tilting Grumpy’s head back. “Boy? How big do the men get where you come from?” Grumpy snarled at Doc.

“Oh I am soooo sorry…..are you ok?” the large lady asked, putting the mop against the house. “Let me see,” she said, cradling Grumpy’s head. The others watched as Grumpy began blushing.

“What’s that? Stop that. She just slammed your face with a mop!” said Sleepy. “I didn’t know we had a mop,” Happy whispered.

The girl explained the story about her being there. It all had to do with her stepmom, the evil witch queen of the realm. Long story short, the seven little dudes let the large white woman stay with them as long as she took care of them. Cleaned, cooked, sewed, cooked (that one was important enough to mention twice), drew their bath, ironed their clothes, washed their undies and did the window (only had one). She had to be pretty much their slave girl, and they wouldn’t give her over to mommy dearest.

She agreed. Time goes on, a handsome prince guy comes along, sweeps Snow White off her feet, that was the girl’s name, really. By the way, she never wore yellow with a name like that. Snow and the Prince ride off into fairy tale land, and as for the Heptagons? Well, did you ever hear of the ‘Magnificent Seven’? There ya go.