It was a vain and fanciful prince who had my grandfather’s story expunged. Never mind—I have all the proof I need. That yackety old mirror never lied yet.

‘How many were there? I say.

‘That you, Junior?’ it says.

‘Don’t call me Junior,’ I say as I climb onto a chair.

‘Ah, Junior. There you are.’

‘Yes, yes. Mirror, mirror and all that. So tell me again. How many were there?’

‘How many what?’

‘Little people.’

‘Dwarves. Why didn’t you say? Eight. There were eight. Snoozy, Droopy, all that lot, whatever they were called. And Caruso.’

‘My grandfather.’

‘A lazier, more charming little sucker never existed. I remember the day he brought her in from the forest. Whistling he was, like he’d won some sort of prize. When she ducked through the door I wanted to whistle m’self. Course, it was always going to be trouble. Him with his pool-hall smarts and her as innocent as a babe, and the fairest of them all to boot.’

‘So now who’s the fairest one of all?’

‘Fairest what?’

‘Little p——.’

‘Dwarf? Why you are, Precious. You are.’

‘Yeah,’ I say. ‘Runs in the family.’

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