Make no mistake about it—we mirrors have one duty, and one duty only. We are here to ensure that there is nothing amiss in the appearance of the princess. No stain on her satin dress, no golden hair out of place, and not one petal withered on her garland of flowers. It is we, and not her maids, who are the final arbiters of her perfection.
Once she is assured that nothing is lacking in her appearance, she mounts her throne of gold, ebony, and ivory, while her ladies take their guitars and began to sing softly. Then Prince Charming is led in, and he is so astonished by her perfection that he cannot find his tongue. Eventually he summons his courage and delivers his harangue, bravely ending by begging the princess to spare him the disappointment of going back without her. He clearly would not be able to survive the defeat.
She says, “I assure you that I should have more pleasure in obliging you than anyone else, but you must know that a month ago as I was walking by the river with my ladies I took off my glove, and as I did so a ring that I was wearing slipped off my finger and rolled into the water. As I valued it more than my kingdom, you may imagine how vexed I was at losing it. I vowed to never listen to any proposal of marriage unless the ambassador first brought me back my ring. So now you know what is expected of you, and if you talked for fifteen days and fifteen nights you could not make me change my mind.”
A flawless performance!
The Gallery of Mirrors in The Story of Pretty Goldilocks, Blue Fairy Book. Picture by Edward Burne-Jones.