Day by day, the answer never changed.
When she asked, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?"
"You are, my love," said the magic mirror. "You are the fairest one of all that has ever reflected upon this ancient glass of thine."
That was all that the mirror said. Day by day, and through the years, it repeated the same assurance. As long as the queen asked, and she asked it often, it repeated the same old answer.
"You are. You are, my queen, my love and fairest one of all."
The mirror's answer did not change when she needed solace in her childhood. Or when the insecurities of adolescence washed her with shame. Or when she donned her wedding gown, when she mourned her husband's passing, or when they crowned her as queen regent, on behalf of the crown princess, Snowdrops.
Every time she asked, she meditated on its answers. There was a patch of silence in her days reserved to process what the mirror had to say about her behavior and outward appearance. She might have known the answer, but it made it all the better to hear it in the clarity of engulfing silence.
Besides, it was easier, she noticed, to correct fresh mistakes, than old scars. So the queen made it a point to look into the mirror often.
Ever the faithful and sincere and loving, the mirror said, "You are, my love, the fairest one of all."
But, lo, as ultimate ruler of the queendom, she allowed herself to be taken by the bustle of sovereignty. The affairs of the country are more demanding to her attention than mirror meditations, she argued.
And, for shame, the mirror went deeper into the realms of forgetfulness; right when its master needed its advice the most against the ultimate temptress. The queen forgot that power does not corrupt suddenly, with thunder and clamor. It gnaws its corrosive grip upon the soul gently, seductively; catching its targets unawares with countless unnoticeable small decisions.
"How many are invited to the banquet? What, only 1000? What will the noble kinsfolk say? Invite 10'000!"
"How much are you betting? Ha, I'll raise you twice that much."
"Who cares what the farmer thinks? Just bulldoze the damn house and build that summer palace."
Until one day, after years spent in the deepest part of the queen's wardrobe, on the event of clearing it to make more space for shoes, they found the magic mirror. Dusty and bitter with neglect, it spoke years of small bad decisions, far too many that it took a poisonous apple, a death, a long slumber and a forgiving kiss for all mistakes to be repaired.
Far too many that, when it was Snowdrop's turn to be queen, she made it a point to attend a daily audience with the reflective Silence, lest she be caught unawares of small mistakes that have would have gnawed too deep to be uprooted.