The Grimms' story was based off of a tale from the early 1820s by Caroline Stahl, "The Ungrateful Dwarf," added to their 1837 edition of Children and Household Tales. According to Jack Zipes, there are no known oral tales related to this story, so Stahl's story really is the first of its kind.
In Stahl's version, the bear is not a main character, and he does not turn out to be a prince in disguise in the end who marries Snow White. The story purely revolves around Snow White's encounters with a dwarf, and after she does him favors time and time again, she never thanks her, through words or his obvious riches. After this pattern happens three times-the first to which Snow White was the only witness, the latter two her sister Rose Red was with her-the girls once again encounter the same dwarf, about to be devoured by a bear. The dwarf tries to distract the bear by pointing out how young and juicy the sisters are, but the bear devours the dwarf instead and went on his way.
Even more disappointing, in my mind, is the fact that the relationship between Snow White, Rose Red, and their mother was all completely added by Wilhelm Grimm. All we know about the sisters from Stahl's story is that they are two of "many, many" children, no mention of their personalities. Though the story shows them working together on several occasions, there is none of the love and loyalty from the Grimm's characters, who, whenever they went out, "always held hands...and when Snow White said, 'Let us never leave each other,' Rose Red answered 'Never, as long as we live.'"
Zipes points out that this is an example of the Grimms' domestication of fairy tales to become example tales for children. The first story already had an implied message against being greedy, and the sisters' relationship under Wilhelm's treatment becomes a little over exaggerated and almost suffocatingly saccharine...although I still enjoy seeing sisters and mothers get along in a fairy tale! Which version do you prefer?