Featured Fairy Tale: Sleeping Beauty (this is quite long; thanks ahead for reading it all!)
Once upon a time there was a king and queen who longed for a child.
Okay, I’m going to stop right here. Is it just me or does EVERY fairy tale start out with someone longing for a child?
Back to our story. King and queen, longing for a child. After trying every method possible, the queen finally became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl. At the princess’ christening the king and queen invited alllll the fairies in the realm. There were seven. SEVEN! The fairies were to be godmothers to the princess, mostly in part because it was custom for them to bestow gifts on the princess. Priorities
A grand feast was held after the christening and each fairy’s place was set with a solid gold casket containing a spoon, knife, and fork, each inlaid with diamonds and rubies. Just as they were beginning the feast, an elderly fairy entered the room, thus becoming history’s first party crasher. No one had thought to invite the fairy because she had not been seen or heard from in fifty years and most thought her dead.
The king ordered an extra place setting for her, but as only seven gold caskets had been made, she was given the everyday china instead. Naturally there was some grumbling from her, which one of the seven fairies overheard. She hid behind a tapestry just before it was present time so that she could be the last to go.
The fairies bestowed their gifts upon the princess – beauty, sweetness, grace, dancing, singing, musical abilities. She would become a pop sensation. But then the old fairy bestowed her gift: the princess would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. There was a collective gasp from the room and everyone’s eyes filled with tears. But aha! the seventh fairy who had hid popped out from behind the tapestry! She declared that while she could not undo the old fairy’s spell, instead of dying she would fall asleep for 100 years and at the end of that time a prince will come to awaken her.
Not wanting to chance fate, the king ordered every spinning wheel burned and outlawed them and spinning altogether.
Approximately 16 years passed and the king and queen were out visiting. The princess, exploring the castle, came upon a room and found an old woman spinning. The old woman had SOMEHOW missed the king outlawing spinning. The princess asked the old woman what she was doing and if she could do it. She reached for the spindle and pricked her finger, crumpling to the ground.
When her parents arrived, the king ordered her moved to the most beautiful apartment in the castle. The seventh fairy was summoned. Once she arrived at the castle she realized that when the princess woke, she would be distressed to find herself alone, so she put the rest of the castle to sleep. A sudden forest of trees and brambles and thorns appeared around the castle.
Some years later (ie like 99+), a prince was out riding and came upon the bramble and thorn covered castle. His attendants began telling all sorts of stories, but the one that stuck out to the prince was that of a beautiful princess asleep in the tower. He then went to the castle and the brambles and thorns moved for him so he could enter.
Okay folks… here’s where the story gets interesting…
The prince entered the castle, taking in the strange scene of sleeping people everywhere. Exactly HOW is he supposed to know which one is the beautiful princess?! He searched the castle until he came upon a beautiful apartment and saw the most beautiful woman asleep on a bed. He knelt by her side, in awe of her beauty.
It was this moment that the princess’s 100 years had ended, and she opened her eyes, exclaiming that it was about time he showed up. The prince was charmed by these words and stuttered out a string of nonsense because he was too overcome with love. The princess was slightly better, mostly because she had been planning on what to say for some time now. The two of them talked for hours and hours before going downstairs to join the rest of the newly awakened castle where they ate a lovely dinner of 100 year old food. The prince was also kind enough not to tell her that her clothes were so last season. Soon after they got married and lived happily ever after into part two of the story where the prince’s mother threatens to eat their children.
Why I love it: Sleeping Beauty is probably one of the most wackadoodle popular fairy tales. Like she doesn’t actually DO anything. And, let’s be honest, nothing actually happens. No fighting, no dragons, no amazing rescues. And… THERE WAS NO KISS! All this “she’ll be woken by true love’s kiss” nonsense… the prince just happened to be in the right place at the right time. The only thing he has going for him is excellent timing.
So there you have it: true love = right place at the right time. But we’re talking about why I love it…
Y’all… it’s romantic, okay? It’s sweet, and it’s sappy, and it’s just a lovely story that makes you feel lovely. In the original by Perrault (which is what I told you up top) the prince is so awkwardly gaga over the princess that he makes a fool of himself trying to talk to her. There’s a particular line that explains just how awkward he is: “The less there is of eloquence, the more there is of love.” Like c’mon… that’s just precious. And while I know the Disney version isn’t QUITE an accurate telling, the scene where they dance in the woods and fall in love? How can you not love that?!
This is also a perfect example of a guest list gone wrong/every bride’s worst nightmare. You’re just sitting down to your dinner, entertaining all the most important people in your life, when all of a sudden old Aunt Constance hobbles in, her crotchety old face scowling at you, and you think “holy bleepity bleep we didn’t invite Aunt Constance!” Then there are murmurings of “I thought she died!” passing around the room. And you of course make room, bring out an extra plate, but all you have is an extra fish plate and Constance prefers beef.
Moral of the story: when inviting people to your party, do not assume people you should invite are dead, else you or your firstborn may end up sleeping for 100 years.
Why you’ll love it: You’ll love it because it’s sweet, because no matter how anti-princess instalove you may be, there’s no greater feeling than falling in love. Or at least that’s what Sleeping Beauty taught me. Also, there are some really funny lines in Perrault’s version that made me giggle. If you haven’t read it, please check it out! And if you want a real treat, watch the Faerie Tale Theatre version of Sleeping Beauty. Christopher Reeves made the dreamiest prince and who doesn’t love Carol Kane, who plays the 7th fairy, in ANYTHING she’s in?!
Awesome Retellings: There are some GREAT retellings of Sleeping Beauty out there! Check these out!
Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Once Upon A Dream by Liz Braswell
Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas
Did you review any of these retellings? Let me know and I’ll add your review link on here!