从前，一所孤僻的农舍里住着一位贫穷的寡妇。 农舍的前面是座花园，花园里种着两株玫瑰，一株开白玫瑰，一株开红玫瑰。 她有两个女儿，长得像两朵玫瑰，一个叫白雪，一个叫红玫。 她俩生性善良，又活泼可爱，是世上再好没有的两个小孩了。 只是白雪比红玫稍文静、温柔，红玫喜欢在田间草地上跳跃、摘花、抓蝴蝶，白雪则总呆在家中，帮助妈妈干家务活，或在空闲时朗读故事给妈妈听。
她们俩常常跑进森林，采摘红浆果吃。 野兽从不伤害她们，只是亲热地走近她们身旁。 小兔从她们手中啃吃着白菜叶，小鹿在她们身旁静静地吃着草，小马在她们身旁活泼乱跳，还有鸟儿坐在树干上，尽情地唱着它们才会的歌。
她们也从来没遇到过什么灾难，如果她们在森林里停留太久，当夜幕降临后，她们便双双躺在苔藓上，依偎在一起 ，一直睡到第二天清晨。 母亲也知道这一切，所以不用担心。
一次，她们又在林中过了一夜，黎明唤醒了她们，这时她们发现身旁竟坐着一位美少年，他穿着的一件白衣服，在阳光下闪闪发光。 他站起身来，十分友好地看着她们，然后一言不发地走进了森林的深处。 当她们回过头来向四周看时，发现自己竟睡在了悬崖峭壁旁。 如果她们在黑暗中再往前走上几步，就早已落进万丈深渊中了。 后来母亲告诉她们，那一定是位保护善良孩子的天使。
白雪和红玫把母亲的小屋布置得整整洁洁，看后确实令人赏心悦目。 到了夏天，轮着红玫整理房屋，每天清早，乘母亲还未醒，她总要从每株树上摘些花儿编成个花环，然后放在母亲的床前。 冬天白雪就会生火，并在铁架上挂个水壶。 铜质的壶儿总是擦得亮亮的，像金子般闪闪发光。 到了晚上，每当天空飘起雪花，母亲总会说："白雪，去把门拴上。"于是娘儿仨围坐在火盆旁，母亲带上眼镜，拿着本大书高声地朗读起来。 姐妹俩一边听着，一边坐着纺纱。 就在她们的不远处躺着头小羊，身后的杆子上蹲着只小白鸽，头正藏在翅膀下。
一天晚上，当她们正舒舒服服地坐在一块时，听到有人在敲门，似乎要进来。 母亲说："红玫，快去开门 ，一定是位求宿的过客。 "红玫走上去拔开了门栓，心想来者一定是位可怜的人儿。但来的不是个人，而是头熊，它把那宽宽的黑脑袋伸进了门内。
"可怜的熊儿，"母亲说，"躺到火边来吧，小心别烧着了你的皮毛。"然后她喊道："白雪，红玫，出来吧！熊不会伤害你们，没有歹意。"于是姐妹俩走了出来，小羊和鸽子也渐渐走到跟前，再也无所畏惧了。 熊说："孩子们，帮我把身上的雪打一下。"于是她们拿出了扫帚，把熊儿浑身上下扫得干干净净的。 熊然后心满意足、舒舒服服地爬到火堆旁，口中还不时哼着歌。 没多久，他们便随和起来了，她们和这位笨拙的客人玩起游戏来，使劲地扯着它的毛发，几只脚一同踏在它的背上，把它翻过去又覆过来，她们甚至还用榛木枝抽打它，若是它嗷嗷叫，她们就会大笑。 如是她们太过份时，它才喊："饶了我吧，孩子们：
春天到了，野外一遍翠绿。 一天早上，熊对白雪说："现在我得走了，整个夏天都不会回来。""你要到哪去，熊宝宝。"白雪问。 "我必须到森林深处去保护我的财宝，以防那些可恶的矮子偷窃。冬天，当大地覆盖着一层坚硬冰块时，他们只得呆在地下面不出来，而现在冰雪消融，和煦的阳光普照着大地，他们就破土而出，到处撬挖偷窃。一旦有任何东西落入他们的手中，被带入他们的洞中，就休想再见天日了。"
过了一段时候，母亲让姐妹俩去林中拾柴火。 她们发现一棵大树倒在地上，树干旁的草丛中有件东西在来回乱跳，不过看不清是什么东西。 等她们走近一看，原来是个小矮子，只见他面色枯黄，雪白胡须足有一码长。 此刻他胡须的一端正卡在树缝中，这小家伙就像一只拴在绳子上的狗，不停地乱跳，茫然不知所措。
姑娘们于是使劲地帮他拔，可就是拔不出，胡子在里面卡得太紧了。 "我去找个帮手来，"红玫说。 "你这没头脑的笨丫头！"小矮子咆哮起来了，"找什么帮手？你们俩已够烦人的了，难道你们就没有别的法子？""别着急，"白雪说，"我来帮你。"于是她从口袋里掏出一把剪刀，一刀就把胡子的那端剪断了。
过了一些时候，白雪和红玫一起去钓鱼。 她俩走近小溪时，突然见到一个蚱蜢似的东西要往下跳，仿佛随时都会跳入水中，她们走近一看，原来又是那个小矮子。 "你上哪儿去？可不是要往水中去吧！""我才没那么傻呢！"小矮子叫道，"难道你没看到那条该死的鱼想把我拖下水吗？"小矮子刚才一直坐在那儿钓鱼，不巧把胡须和渔线搅在了一起，一会儿鱼咬食了，这位手无缚鸡之力的小矮子可没有力气把鱼儿拉上来。 鱼儿渐渐占了上风，使劲地把小矮子朝水中拉。 他只得抓住一把草秆和灯芯草，但那又有何用呢？ 他只得跟着鱼儿的游动而上下跳动，随时有被拖入水中的危险。
姐妹俩来得正是时候，她们一边使劲地抓住小矮子，一边帮他从渔线上解胡须，可胡须和线缠得太紧了，怎么解也解不开。 她们实在是无计可施，只得拿出剪刀，一刀剪去好一段胡须。 小矮子一见便尖叫："真粗野！你们俩个坏丫头竟敢毁我的容！先前剪掉了我好端端的胡须还不够吗？现在又剪掉最漂亮的一段，我还有何面目去见人？你们赶快给我滚，滚得连鞋子也丢掉才好！"说完便从草丛中提出一袋珠宝，二话没说就一步一拐地消失在岩石后。
不久后，母亲又打发姐妹俩进城买针线、绳索和带子。 她们沿路来到一片荒地，荒地上布满了巨大的石块。 只见一只大鸟正在空中翱翔，慢慢地又在她们头上盘旋，鸟儿越飞越低，最后停在不远处的一块岩石上。 紧接着她们听到了一声撕心的惨叫声，走上前一看，她们惊呆了，老鹰居然把她们的老熟人小矮子给逮住了，就要把他叼走。
孩子们出于天生的同情心，立刻抓住了小矮子，拼命地与鹰爪抢夺起来，最后把他夺了过来。 小矮子这下可吓呆了，等他回过一点神后，立刻歇斯底里地大叫："难道你们就不能小心点吗？瞧你们把我这身棕色的上衣给扯成了什么破烂样，你们俩个笨手笨脚的毛丫头！"说完，他又扛起一袋宝石，钻进了岩石下面的洞中。 姐妹俩对这种忘恩负义的行径早已习以为常，赶忙上路往城中办事情。
回家的路上，她们又途经那片荒地，这下可把小矮子给吓了一跳。 原来他正往空地上倒一堆宝石，万万没想到这么晚居然还会有人来。 晚霞照在明亮的宝石上，七彩斑烂，耀眼无比，孩子们都看呆了，"你们傻呆呆地站在那里干什么？"小矮子吼道，他那张本是死灰色的脸气得变成了古铜色。 就在他不停的咒骂的同时，只听一声咆哮，一头黑熊从林中奔了出来，直向他们这儿扑来。 小矮子猛然吓了一跳，还没来得及逃回洞中，熊已赶到。 只见矮人心惊胆颤地哀求道："亲爱的熊先生，你饶了我吧！我把所有的财宝都给你，瞧地上这些钻石多漂亮，饶了我吧！你不会吃我这弱不经风的瘦骨头吧，我还不够你塞牙的，快去抓住那俩个可恶的臭丫头，你可美美地吃一顿，准有肥肥的鹌鹑那么好吃！饶了我吧，去吃掉她们吧！"熊才不听他那一套呢，劈手一掌就把这可恶的家伙击倒在地，从此再也起不来了。
姐妹俩撒腿就逃，但听到熊儿喊道："白雪、红玫，别害怕，等一下，我和你们一起去。"这时她们俩听出了这声音，于是停下来等着他。 熊走到跟前时，熊皮突然脱落了，只见站在她们面前的竟是位面貌英俊、浑身披金的帅小伙子。 "我是一位王子，"他说，"那个小矮子偷走了我的珠宝，并向我施了妖术，把我变成了一头野熊，整天在林间乱跑，直到他死我才能解脱。现在他已受到了应有的惩罚。"
There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore white and the other red roses. She had two children who were like the two rose-trees, and one was called Snow-white, and the other Rose-red. They were as good and happy, as busy and cheerful as ever two children in the world were, only Snow-white was more quiet and gentle than Rose- red. Rose-red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields seeking flowers and catching butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home with her mother, and helped her with her house-work, or read to her when there was nothing to do.
The two children were so fond of each another that they always held each other by the hand when they went out together, and when Snow-white said, "We will not leave each other," Rose-red answered, "Never so long as we live," and their mother would add, "What one has she must share with the other."
They often ran about the forest alone and gathered red berries, and no beasts did them any harm, but came close to them trustfully. The little hare would eat a cabbage-leaf out of their hands, the roe grazed by their side, the stag leapt merrily by them, and the birds sat still upon the boughs, and sang whatever they knew.
No mishap overtook them; if they had stayed too late in the forest, and night came on, they laid themselves down near one another upon the moss, and slept until morning came, and their mother knew this and had no distress on their account.
Once when they had spent the night in the wood and the dawn had roused them, they saw a beautiful child in a shining white dress sitting near their bed. He got up and looked quite kindly at them, but said nothing and went away into the forest. And when they looked round they found that they had been sleeping quite close to a precipice, and would certainly have fallen into it in the darkness if they had gone only a few paces further. And their mother told them that it must have been the angel who watches over good children.
Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother's little cottage so neat that it was a pleasure to look inside it. In the summer Rose-red took care of the house, and every morning laid a wreath of flowers by her mother's bed before she awoke, in which was a rose from each tree. In the winter Snow-white lit the fire and hung the kettle on the wrekin. The kettle was of copper and shone like gold, so brightly was it polished. In the evening, when the snowflakes fell, the mother said, "Go, Snow-white, and bolt the door," and then they sat round the hearth, and the mother took her spectacles and read aloud out of a large book, and the two girls listened as they sat and span. And close by them lay a lamb upon the floor, and behind them upon a perch sat a white dove with its head hidden beneath its wings.
One evening, as they were thus sitting comfortably together, some one knocked at the door as if he wished to be let in. The mother said, "Quick, Rose-red, open the door, it must be a traveller who is seeking shelter." Rose-red went and pushed back the bolt, thinking that it was a poor man, but it was not; it was a bear that stretched his broad, black head within the door.
Rose-red screamed and sprang back, the lamb bleated, the dove fluttered, and Snow-white hid herself behind her mother's bed. But the bear began to speak and said, "Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm! I am half-frozen, and only want to warm myself a little beside you."
"Poor bear," said the mother, "lie down by the fire, only take care that you do not burn your coat." Then she cried, "Snow-white, Rose-red, come out, the bear will do you no harm, he means well." So they both came out, and by-and-by the lamb and dove came nearer, and were not afraid of him. The bear said, "Here, children, knock the snow out of my coat a little;" so they brought the broom and swept the bear's hide clean; and he stretched himself by the fire and growled contentedly and comfortably. It was not long before they grew quite at home, and played tricks with their clumsy guest. They tugged his hair with their hands, put their feet upon his back and rolled him about, or they took a hazel-switch and beat him, and when he growled they laughed. But the bear took it all in good part, only when they were too rough he called out, "Leave me alive, children,
Will you beat your lover dead?"
When it was bed-time, and the others went to bed, the mother said to the bear, "You can lie there by the hearth, and then you will be safe from the cold and the bad weather." As soon as day dawned the two children let him out, and he trotted across the snow into the forest.
Henceforth the bear came every evening at the same time, laid himself down by the hearth, and let the children amuse themselves with him as much as they liked; and they got so used to him that the doors were never fastened until their black friend had arrived.
When spring had come and all outside was green, the bear said one morning to Snow-white, "Now I must go away, and cannot come back for the whole summer." - "Where are you going, then, dear bear?" asked Snow-white. "I must go into the forest and guard my treasures from the wicked dwarfs. In the winter, when the earth is frozen hard, they are obliged to stay below and cannot work their way through; but now, when the sun has thawed and warmed the earth, they break through it, and come out to pry and steal; and what once gets into their hands, and in their caves, does not easily see daylight again."
Snow-white was quite sorry for his going away, and as she unbolted the door for him, and the bear was hurrying out, he caught against the bolt and a piece of his hairy coat was torn off, and it seemed to Snow-white as if she had seen gold shining through it, but she was not sure about it. The bear ran away quickly, and was soon out of sight behind the trees.
A short time afterwards the mother sent her children into the forest to get fire-wood. There they found a big tree which lay felled on the ground, and close by the trunk something was jumping backwards and forwards in the grass, but they could not make out what it was. When they came nearer they saw a dwarf with an old withered face and a snow-white beard a yard long. The end of the beard was caught in a crevice of the tree, and the little fellow was jumping backwards and forwards like a dog tied to a rope, and did not know what to do.
He glared at the girls with his fiery red eyes and cried, "Why do you stand there? Can you not come here and help me?" - "What are you about there, little man?" asked Rose-red. "You stupid, prying goose!" answered the dwarf; "I was going to split the tree to get a little wood for cooking. The little bit of food that one of us wants gets burnt up directly with thick logs; we do not swallow so much as you coarse, greedy folk. I had just driven the wedge safely in, and everything was going as I wished; but the wretched wood was too smooth and suddenly sprang asunder, and the tree closed so quickly that I could not pull out my beautiful white beard; so now it is tight in and I cannot get away, and the silly, sleek, milk-faced things laugh! Ugh! how odious you are!"
The children tried very hard, but they could not pull the beard out, it was caught too fast. "I will run and fetch some one," said Rose-red. "You senseless goose!" snarled the dwarf; why should you fetch some one? You are already two too many for me; can you not think of something better?" - "Don't be impatient," said Snow-white, "I will help you," and she pulled her scissors out of her pocket, and cut off the end of the beard.
As soon as the dwarf felt himself free he laid hold of a bag which lay amongst the roots of the tree, and which was full of gold, and lifted it up, grumbling to himself, "Uncouth people, to cut off a piece of my fine beard. Bad luck to you!" and then he swung the bag upon his back, and went off without even once looking at the children.
Some time after that Snow-white and Rose-red went to catch a dish of fish. As they came near the brook they saw something like a large grasshopper jumping towards the water, as if it were going to leap in. They ran to it and found it was the dwarf. "Where are you going?" said Rose-red; "you surely don't want to go into the water?" - "I am not such a fool!" cried the dwarf; don't you see that the accursed fish wants to pull me in?" The little man had been sitting there fishing, and unluckily the wind had twisted his beard with the fishing-line; just then a big fish bit, and the feeble creature had not strength to pull it out; the fish kept the upper hand and pulled the dwarf towards him. He held on to all the reeds and rushes, but it was of little good, he was forced to follow the movements of the fish, and was in urgent danger of being dragged into the water.
The girls came just in time; they held him fast and tried to free his beard from the line, but all in vain, beard and line were entangled fast together. Nothing was left but to bring out the scissors and cut the beard, whereby a small part of it was lost. When the dwarf saw that he screamed out, "Is that civil, you toad-stool, to disfigure one's face? Was it not enough to clip off the end of my beard? Now you have cut off the best part of it. I cannot let myself be seen by my people. I wish you had been made to run the soles off your shoes!" Then he took out a sack of pearls which lay in the rushes, and without saying a word more he dragged it away and disappeared behind a stone.
It happened that soon afterwards the mother sent the two children to the town to buy needles and thread, and laces and ribbons. The road led them across a heath upon which huge pieces of rock lay strewn here and there. Now they noticed a large bird hovering in the air, flying slowly round and round above them; it sank lower and lower, and at last settled near a rock not far off. Directly afterwards they heard a loud, piteous cry. They ran up and saw with horror that the eagle had seized their old acquaintance the dwarf, and was going to carry him off.
The children, full of pity, at once took tight hold of the little man, and pulled against the eagle so long that at last he let his booty go. As soon as the dwarf had recovered from his first fright he cried with his shrill voice, "Could you not have done it more carefully! You dragged at my brown coat so that it is all torn and full of holes, you helpless clumsy creatures!" Then he took up a sack full of precious stones, and slipped away again under the rock into his hole. The girls, who by this time were used to his thanklessness, went on their way and did their business in the town.
As they crossed the heath again on their way home they surprised the dwarf, who had emptied out his bag of precious stones in a clean spot, and had not thought that anyone would come there so late. The evening sun shone upon the brilliant stones; they glittered and sparkled with all colors so beautifully that the children stood still and looked at them. "Why do you stand gaping there?" cried the dwarf, and his ashen-gray face became copper-red with rage. He was going on with his bad words when a loud growling was heard, and a black bear came trotting towards them out of the forest. The dwarf sprang up in a fright, but he could not get to his cave, for the bear was already close. Then in the dread of his heart he cried, "Dear Mr. Bear, spare me, I will give you all my treasures; look, the beautiful jewels lying there! Grant me my life; what do you want with such a slender little fellow as I? you would not feel me between your teeth. Come, take these two wicked girls, they are tender morsels for you, fat as young quails; for mercy's sake eat them!" The bear took no heed of his words, but gave the wicked creature a single blow with his paw, and he did not move again.
The girls had run away, but the bear called to them, "Snow-white and Rose-red, do not be afraid; wait, I will come with you." Then they knew his voice and waited, and when he came up to them suddenly his bearskin fell off, and he stood there, a handsome man, clothed all in gold. "I am a King's son," he said, "and I was bewitched by that wicked dwarf, who had stolen my treasures; I have had to run about the forest as a savage bear until I was freed by his death. Now he has got his well-deserved punishment."
Snow-white was married to him, and Rose-red to his brother, and they divided between them the great treasure which the dwarf had gathered together in his cave. The old mother lived peacefully and happily with her children for many years. She took the two rose-trees with her, and they stood before her window, and every year bore the most beautiful roses, white and red.