Watching from behind bushes and trees and logs, the animals saw not seven little children coming out of the forest but . . . SEVEN LITTLE MEN! Each one carried a pick over his shoulder and each one could have walked under your dining-room table without upsetting his cap.

The leader was Eugene “Doc” Sawyer, a well-intentioned dwarf who kept jumbling his words so he could hardly be understood. “Swallow me!–er, I mean follow me!” he told the others. But they refused, each seeking to become leader himself and to win the hand of the fair Snow White–Chicago’s mayoral crown.

The angriest member of the group was Edward “Grumpy” Burke (who had never got along with the deceased king of the realm). He was always folding his arms defiantly, ordering people around, and predicting doom unless he got his way. “I’ve been telling you for nigh 200 years that something awful was about to happen,” he warned the others.

Then there was Danny “Sleepy” Davis, who not only looked like he was about to doze off but made everyone else nod off whenever he began a long speech in his funereal baritone. “It’s off to work we go,” he yawned.

Lawrence “Happy” Bloom had no known enemies and even fewer committed supporters. He was incurably upbeat and enthusiastic, always trying to build bridges and keep everyone in a good mood. “Let’s all make a bed for Snow White,” he gushed on one occasion. And they did.

Richard “Bashful” Daley didn’t associate much with the other dwarfs, partly because he was too shy and partly because he claimed to be too busy trying to keep gnomes out of the forest. Whenever anyone looked at him, he would blush, squirm, and go, “Awwww.” Secretly, however, he believed his father had left him magical powers.

Timothy “Sneezy” Evans held high hopes of dislodging Doc as leader, and he enjoyed considerable support in the forest. But he had been known to associate with trolls like Jane “Wicked Queen” Byrne and Dorothy “Poison Apple” Tillman. When asked about these matters, he said, “ah-ah-ah-KER-CHOO!”

Then there was Ed “Dopey” Kelly, a cute dwarf who never spoke at all, and with good reason. During his long maintenance of the forest, Dopey had aroused considerable criticism for allegedly handing out jobs to incompetent dwarfs while neglecting to trim the trees and bushes in certain areas.

With the primary election only a couple months away, the seven little fellows plotted and scrambled for position, each hoping to eliminate the others and win the hand of the beautiful Snow White. Eventually, Grumpy and Dopey joined forces with Bashful, and Sleepy with Sneezy. Meanwhile James “Noisy” Taylor (sometimes known as Bulljive) and Juan “Peppy” Soliz announced that they too intended to woo.

The story is still unfolding; rumors circulate throughout the realm that other small creatures may emerge from behind trees and under rocks to join in the contest for the sheer fun of it. More than a few of the land’s inhabitants still harbor hopes that Prince Jesse, wounded after a long national battle but still resolute, will return at the last moment, kiss Snow White on the lips, and send the whole scraggly pack of dwarfs scurrying for cover.

Whatever the outcome, it’s not likely that anyone will live happily ever after.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Tony Griff.