At a time, once in some land, there was a girl. This girl was very pretty, and kind, and loved living with her father very much. Her father had taken care of her since her mother had died of an illness. One day, her father had to go to war. She stayed behind on her own, living in their house and taking care of it. Before he left, the father told her about the magic mirror that they had in the basement. It had to be cleaned once a day, or the demon living inside of it would escape and wreck havoc on the village. He said, "Now, you must not become to focused on the image in that mirror. It may look beautiful at first, but the longer you stare the more it will take on the image that words paint. And no words in the world are truly as you are."
The little girl told him that she would remember that. And so he left. Each day, the young girl would go down to the basement and clean the mirror. And each time she looked in, she saw herself. She was dressed in the finest of dresses, her pinned with pearls and diamonds, and jewelry lacing her throat and wrists. She looked beautiful, in short. Even her features seemed enhanced.
But she remembered her father's words, and never looked in for too long. But one day, she went out into the village to get some more water. On her way to the well, she heard some of the other girls whispering about her. For a moment she stopped and listened. They said she was ugly and fat, and would never be married. They spoke of how horrid the girl's features were, and of how her form was repulsing. When the girl got back to her home, she quickly ran down the stairs to look into the mirror. When she got there, she looked in, and at first saw the beautiful girl she always saw. But the harder she looked, the more the reflection seemed unattractive. It happened so slowly, that she did not notice. Now, she simply saw the imperfections that were on the girl in the dress. Finally, she decided that it was okay. She still looked pretty, and that was good enough for the girl.
This happened for several days. Each time the girl went out to get water, she would hear the village girls talking of her. Her poor clothes, clumsiness, imperfect teeth, unmanageable hair, of the blemishes on her skin. Nothing but jab after jab. And each time the girl went back down to the mirror, she stared longer and longer. By the end of the month, when the girl went down to check on the mirror, the sight there made her cry. A fat and short girl stood there. Her shoes were gone, her feet raw. Her dress was now mere rags. Her teeth were crooked and yellow, and there were marks all over her cheeks. Her hair was cut short and close to the ears, unevenly, and was missing clumps. Her eyes were dull and glassy, and her lips were cracked and bleeding. Everything about her looked completely ugly.
Her father came back two nights later. He called out for his daughter, but could not find her anywhere. At last he went down to the mirror room, and found her laying on the floor. He smiled, knowing she must have fallen asleep. But when he went to wake his beautiful daughter, she did not stir. Panicked, he began to shake her, but she still did not wake. Then he heard her voice. "Father?" Her voice asked.
He turned, and there was an goblin of a girl, reflected in the mirror. He was so repulsed by what he saw, that he shielded his daughter and drew his sword.
He yelled, "Be gone from here, demon. The mirror is already home to another."
And the creature replied in his daughter's voice, "Father, it is me."
It was only then he realized that the horrible creature was her. He cried out, "My God, my daughter, what has happened to you? What monster has cursed you so?"
The girl, frightened, moved to hug her father, but found that she was stopped by a wall she could not see. The father watched, helpless, as she pounded on the surface of the mirror. It was then he realized what had happened. She had stared into the mirror for far too long, and saw not what she was, but what others made her out to be. And such was the curse, for she was forever trapped within the mirror.