The Sleeping Beauty

sleeping beauty

Chapter one

once upon a time, there were a king and a queen who were very unhappy

because they had no children, everything else that the heart could

wish for was theirs. They were rich. They lived in a wonderful palace full 

of the costliest treasures, their kingdom was at peace, and their people were

prosperous, yet none of these things contented them because they wanted a little

child of their own to love and care for, and though they had been married several

years no child had come to them. every day, the king would look at the queen and say

“ah, if we only had a little child,” and the queen would look at the king and

sigh, and they were both very miserable about it. Then they would put on their golden

crowns and sit side by side on their thrones while lords and ladies, and ambassadors

from other lands came to pay them homage, and they had to smile with their lips

for the sake of politeness, but there was no joy in their hearts, and that is one

of the greatest disadvantages of being a king or a queen is that one has always to hide

one’s feelings. now happened one day that the queen went to her bath

and having dismissed her ladies, she descended the marble steps into the water

and began idly to play with some wild rose petals which had fallen into the water,

all of a sudden, she heard a croaking voice that said

“oh, queen, be cheerful, for the dearest wish of your heart will be granted you.”

“Who is that?” cried the queen, a little frightened, for she could see nobody

“look behind you?” Croaked the voice, “And did not be afraid, for I come only to bury you good tidings.”

so the queen looked behind her, and there was a great frog who looked at her with its

big round eyes, now the queen was afraid of frogs because they are cold and clammy,

but she was very polite by nature as well as breeding, so she did not show her dislike,

though she could not help shrinking back a little

“And do you tell me, master frog,” said she, “that I shall have the wish of my heart, and do you know what that wish maybe?”

“it is to have a small little child of your own,” said the frog

and the queen nodded

“very well,” the frog went on, “do you see the green leaves of that almond tree on the branch by the window?”

“I do,” reply the queen, wonderingly.”

“those green leaves will fade,” said the frog, “and the winter winds will blow them away,

then the branch will be bare, but in springtime, before the leaves come again, it will be

covered with pink blossom, and that blossom you shall show to a baby lying

at your breast.”

The queen gave a cry of joy. A ray of sunlight came through the trees, dazzling

her eyes so that  she had to close them for a moment; when she opened them again,

the frog had gone, and nothing  was to be seen but the dainty rose petals floating

on the surface of the water.

Chapter 2 

Those were wonderful tidings to be spoken by a frog who came no one knew once

and went no one knew with her, but the queen believed that the prophecy would prove

true, and she was right, for when the springtime came again, and the almond blossom

was pink upon the bow, she gave birth to a little daughter who was so beautiful

that nobody had ever seen her like.

Now what joy there was in the hearts of everybody in the palace; the king was so

excited that he went into the council in his dressing gown instead of his royal robe,

and he did not care a bit when his courtiers smiled; there was coming and going in all

the halls and corridors careers on swift horses were sent out to bear the glad news

to the most distant parts of the kingdom, all the bells in the churches were wrong flags

were put out in the houses, and streamers were hung across the roadways,

then the canons were fired “bang, bang, bang” to tell the people that everybody was

to have a holiday so that all from the highest to the lowest might rejoice in their

queen’s happiness.

“Never was there such a beautiful child,” said the king looking down at his little

daughter as she lay in her mother’s arms; he wanted very much to nurse her, but

this could not be allowed because men are so clumsy with babies

“What shall her name be?” said the king,

and he suggested all the grandest names that he could call to mind, for he thought

that such a wonderful child must certainly have a name to suit, but the queen would

have none of them.

“She shall be called briar rose,” said the queen, and so it was arranged

A few weeks later, the christening took place; that was a splendid ceremony, to be sure

for all the lords and ladies of the kingdom were present in their richest dresses

together with princes and ambassadors from distant countries, the little princess was

as good as gold all the time; she did not cry once but opened her big blue eyes

and smiled at the glittering company as though she understood everything that was

going on, outside the cathedral, the roads were crowded with people waiting to see

the guests came and went, the carriages extended for nearly a mile, and as they drove

away headed by the royal coach in which the queen sat with a princess briar rose

in her arms, the spectators took off their hats and shouted and cheered, some

of the little boys perched themselves on the branches of trees and the lampposts

in order to get a better view, and I was told that there was one poor woman

who saw nothing at all because her boy tried to climb up to an ensign where 

he dangled in such a dangerous position that his poor old mother had to stand with 

her back to the procession, holding onto his legs in a terrible state of anxiety lest 

he should fall.

At the palace, a magnificent feast had been prepared; now, it was a custom 

in those days when a king’s child was christened for all the fairies in the country

 to be invited to the christening feast; each fairy was bound to bring a gift, so of course,

it stood to reason that the royal child would have everything that the heart could

possibly desire.

There were 13 fairies in the king’s realm, but one of them had lived in a lonely place

on the outskirts of the kingdom there for the last 50 years, she had shut herself up

in a ruined tower with only a black cat to keep her company, and as she kept herself

to herself, everybody had forgotten her very existence; the result was that she was not

invited to the christening feast, and though she had nobody but herself to blame

for this, she was very angry about it. The truth of the matter is that she was always

a miserable sour creature with no love or kindness in her heart, and nobody missed

her because she had never given anybody any reason to care for her.

Well, the guests assembled in the banqueting hall of the palace, and the feast began.

Chapter 3 

The king and the queen sat in a daze at the end of the banqueting hall, and above them

 in a little gallery, there was a band of fiddlers and flute players on either side

of the royal pair sat the twelve fairy godmothers, six on the right hand, and six on

the left, in front of each fairy, was a golden plate and a golden casket made to hold her

knife fork and spoon, these caskets were beautifully carved and engraved and each

one was of a different shape, was in the form of a ship, another of a shell, a third

in the form of a castle with turrets and so on, nothing more beautiful could be 

imagined for they had all been specially made for the occasion by the cleverest

goldsmiths in the kingdom, and they were the king’s presence to the fairy godmothers.

He felt very proud when the fairies spoke admiringly of these caskets and said

that they would be pleased to accept them; below the dais were six long tables for

the guests, and there was only just room between the tables for the servants to pass

so you may judge how crowded the room was, such a glittering of silks, such flashing

of jewels, such dazzle and splendor had never been seen since the time of the king’s

coronation and all the guests were laughing and talking merrily; the court painter

was there, of course, to take a picture of the gorgeous scenery and was kept so busy

sketching on his tablets that he had no time to get any food though probably he had

a good meal afterward, and the nice things there were to eat there was forced meat

balls flavored with rare spices from the east, sardines from Sardinia,  tony fish from

the Mediterranean and sturgeon from Russia, steaming boar’s heads with lemons

in their mouths turkeys, peacocks and swans, ortalins, wonderful roasts, and delicious

stews roe deer and bear’s hams.

Sweets in all sorts of curious shapes, for instance, cakes like castles with little men

made of sweet stuff for centuries on the battlements, each complete in gilded armor

and with a halberd over his shoulder, a rare sight, and eagles carved of ice hovering

over silver dishes filled with apricots, then followed the smaller dishes, tiny cakes

as white and delicate as ladies’ fingers, birds’ nests made of spun sugar, and in

the nests were eggs of marshmallows, and in each egg was a tiny chicken made

of caramel, figs, and dates from the desert, other fruits in and out of season syrups

and preserves fetched from the four corners of the world, wines cooled in snow from

the distant mountains, one might fill pages merely by setting down the names of all

the delicacies, each dish was brought in by the servants in a kind of procession headed

by the master cook looking as grand and solemn as an archbishop, for he was a grave

and dignified person, and of course, he had a great responsibility.

The guests were served by little page boys of noble birth dressed in the liveries of their

masters, and these pages handed the dishes and the wines most politely on their

bended knees as they had been taught to do, so the guests enjoyed themselves,

and the fiddlers played, and the king laughed at everything everybody said because

he was in mighty good humor, and the bright afternoon sun shining through

the western windows lighted up the rich hangings on the walls and flashed upon

the jewels unfair ladies’ fingers and fell upon the marble pavement in a pool of gold

and then, you know, when the merriment was at its height, something happened,

there was a sudden cry, and a harsh voice like the croaking of a raven sounded through

the room.

“Be merry, my lords and ladies,” cried the voice, “laugh while you may but remember that tears may follow the laughter.”

a hush fell upon all the brilliant assembly. The queen turned pale and shuddered.

The king rose hurriedly from his place, and he and all the guests turned to look

at the strange figure that had suddenly appeared in the doorway; they saw an old

woman bent almost double with age, her gray head with matted hair sunk deep

between her shoulders, her face was white and twisted with anger, and her green eyes

flashed spitefully; slowly, she advanced towards the dais and, stretching out her arm,

pointed her finger at the gold plates and the gold caskets set before the fairy


“there’s one,” said she with a harsh laugh, “there’s two, there’s twelve,

did you not know, o, king, that there were thirteen wise women in your kingdom and the 13th, the wisest and most powerful of all? where, then, the plate and the casket set
for me?”

The king began to make excuses imploring the angry old fairy to forgive him for his

neglect and begging her to sit down and join them in their festivities

“For,” said he, “I am sure you are very welcome.”

“is it so, indeed,” said the thirteenth fairy. “I am not too late then though the feast is all but done, I shall eat off silver while my sisters eat off gold, and there is no curiously shaped casket for me, no matter I am content because I am on time, and I shall dower the princess with the gift which I have brought for her.”

and here, the spiteful creature uttered another of her sneering laughs, which made

the blood of all the guests ran cold by didn’t of much coaxing. The king, at last

managed to persuade her to sit down, and the feast proceeded

but a chill had been cast over the assembly, and nothing was quite the same

as it had been before, the old crone muttered and mouthed over her food.

Now and again, smiling to herself as though she were cherishing some secret and evil

triumph, the other fairies cast anxious glances at her, for they feared her malice,

and the youngest ferry of all who happened to be seated at the end of the table

presently rose up quietly from her place and, stealing away, hid behind the arrest,

and nobody saw her go nor made a single person remark upon her absence.

Chapter 4 

And now came the time for the most important part of the ceremony, when the fairy

godmothers should declare their gifts to the royal child all this time, the little princess

briar rose had been quietly sleeping in her cradle in the nursery, watched over by an old

servant who had tended her mother as a child, now the king gave orders for the baby

to be brought into the banqueting hall, the guests seized their laughter and talk

and the musicians laid by their instruments, so the sleeping child was brought and

placed in her mother’s arms, how tenderly she clasped the baby to her breast bending

over it as though to shield it from all harm, so sweet a sight should have touched

the hardest heart, and indeed, there was only one person in the room who remained

unmoved, and that was the spiteful and jealous fairy who looked up and bared her

yellow teeth in a sneering grin

“Queen!” said she. “Your face is pale, and your lips tremble; what is it that you fear on this day of the giving of gifts?”

but the queen shattered and was silent; then a fairy rose in her place and said

“I would begin my gift to the princess briar rose is the gift of beauty; she shall have eyes like stars and hair as bright as the sunshine of the spring day on which she was born and cheeks as fresh and fair as the petals of the flower from which she takes her name, none shall surpass her in loveliness.”

Then the second fairy rose in her turn and said

“after beauty with the princess shall be cleverer than any ordinary mortal could ever hope to be.”

“I give her virtue,” said the third

and the queen nodded her head and smiled, for though she esteemed beauty

and cleverness, she knew that neither was of any worth without goodness of heart

so all the fairies, in turn, named the gift which they had brought for briar rose,

the fourth said that whatever the princess put her hand to, she should do with 

the most exquisite grace, the fifth is that she should sing like a nightingale,

the sixth that she should dance as lightly as a fairy, and so on until she had nearly

all the virtues and accomplishments which even a king might desire for his daughter,

but as yet, the spiteful old fairy had not said a word, at last; she rose and cast an evil

glance around

“Have you all finished?” said she, “listen then to my wish, on the day when she reaches her 15th birthday, the princess shall prick her finger with the spindle of a spinning wheel and shall immediately die”

this terrible prophecy made the whole company shudder; the queen gave a cry

and hugged the sleeping baby still closer to her breast

“no, no, have pity,” she cried. “Call down your dreadful fate on my head if you will but do not harm this innocent child,”

at this mournful appeal, there was hardly one of the guests who could keep from tears,

but the old crone only mumbled to herself as though she were uttering a spell, then

the king leaped to his feet, his hand on the jeweled hilt of the dagger that

hung at his girdle in another moment, he might have stretched the wicked

creature lifeless at his feet, but before he could draw the weapon from its sheath,

another voice arrested him.

“Stay your hand o king, lest even worse befall no mortal may strike at a fairy and go unpunished and for the rest, take comfort for your daughter shall not die.”

then the twelfth fairy stepped out from behind the aris where she had been hidden

“my gift is still to come,” she continued. “As far as I can, I will undo the mischief which my sister has done, it is true, but I have not the power to prevent altogether what she has decreed. The princess shall indeed prick her finger with a spindle of the spinning wheel on the day when she attains her 15th year but instead of dying, she shall fall into a deep sleep, and this sleep shall last for a hundred years and when that time is passed a king’s son shall come to awaken her.

Chapter 5

So the worst was averted, but the fate of the poor little princess was still terrible

enough, and it was only to be expected that the king should do his best to prevent

the prophecy from coming to fulfillment. The first thing he did was to summon

all the magicians of his own and neighboring countries promising a rich reward

to the one who could show him a way to defeat the old fairy’s malice, the magicians

came in scores, some with long beards reaching to their feet, some without any beards

at all, some with bald heads and some with matted hair that looked as though

it had not been combed for centuries; for days, there were so many magicians about

the palace that they were commoner than cats, and it was impossible to enter

any room without surprising one or the other of them sitting in deep reflection

and looking as wise as only a magician can look, but nothing came of their thinking

and one after the other, they gave up the task and departed, having first asked for their

traveling expenses, at last, there came a wizard who was wiser and more venerable

than all the rest, and when he heard what was required of him, he said he would go

home and consult his secret books, which contained the magic lore of all the ages

and which had been written by the greatest of all, the magician Merlin himself,

home then he went to his cell, which was on a rocky cliff on the side of a mountain

and having uttered the word of power, which unlocked the massive door, he entered

and prepared to begin his research now the books of magic lore that Merlin had written

were in many volumes, and everything in them was set down in alphabetical order

so that it could be found easily

the old wizard, therefore, turned first of all to the word princess, 500 pages

were devoted to this subject, and truly, there was a great deal of very interesting

information as thus princess how to transform goose girl into a spell for causing

the princess to be surrounded by high walls of bronze, which may vary by no means

be broken down except by the notes of a certain trumpet “q v” now “q v” are the first

letters of two magic words, which are to be found in all dictionaries and encyclopedias

to this day, the princess enchanted ring for a new and improved method by which she

maybe changed into a fawn together with any members of her family, according

to desire, and all of them transformed back again into their proper shape princess

is an excellent device for causing a princess to grow tall or short by eating

of a mushroom with directions on how to find the place where the mushroom grows

and precautions to be taken lest by over much nibbling she disappears altogether

and so on, but there was never a word about how to prevent a princess from falling

into a charmed sleep by pricking her finger with the spindle of the spinning wheel,

so when he had read all through the 500 pages, the venerable wizard turned

to the word sleep in the hope that he would meet with better fortune and there was

much reliable information under this heading. Also, there were recipes for potent drugs

which could cause sleep and for still more potent drugs which would prevent people

from going to sleep, and when the wizard came to this last, he cried out eagerly

for he thought that he had succeeded in his quest until he read on and discovered

that the spell described was only for use on wicked queens who had shamefully

ill-used their stepchildren.

It is very easy to make a mistake in magic, for it is a most complicated science

by the time he had read through the 200 pages devoted to the word sleep

the venerable wizard was very uneasy, but he was a persevering person, and he did not

abandon his endeavors. Merlin’s wise books having failed him, he cast about for other

means to learn what he desired and consult his oracle; now, his oracle was a stuffed

crocodile hanging from the ceiling, and a voice came from it which told him to repeat

the magic formula- the magic formula is a sentence made up of all the sounds

that are left out of ordinary speech, and it is a fearsome thing to listen to; it is also very

exhausting to say, and after the venerable wizard had repeated it, he was obliged

to rest for several hours, then he rose again and drew pentagons on the rocky floor

of his cave and crossed triangles in circles bordered with all the signs of the zodiac,

and he stood in the middle of the pentagons and the cross triangles

and the circles and went through all sorts of strange and secret rites, but all to

no purpose, but still, he would not give up trying, and he went to mysterious places in

the woods and gathered strange herbs in the dark of the moon; returning home, 

he cast the herbs into abrasion, and they burnt with flames of many colors, giving out 

clouds of dense smoke and a most horrible smell then, as these exercises did not 

bring him the result he desired, he gazed into crystals and poured ink into the palm of 

his hand and did all the other things that he had learned to do in all the years since 

he was apprenticed to magic as a very small boy, and just as he was going to give up 

the quest in despair, a thought came into his head, and he cried aloud for joy, 

for he knew he had discovered what he sought. This shows how even the most 

difficult things may be attained by perseverance and patience at the top of his speed, 

he hastened back to the palace and asked an audience of the king. 

This was immediately granted for, to tell the truth, the king was awaiting his return 

with considerable anxiety.

“Well,” said he, “have you succeeded in finding a way” I have answered the venerable 


“my arts have not failed me,” and he handed the king a piece of parchment on which

were written the following words, they were written in Latin to make them look more

important, but very likely, it was not good Latin, for the venerable wizard had been

apprenticed to his trade at an early age, and in consequence, his classical education

was somewhat neglected, but this was the meaning of them

“shall spindle prick  then spindle burn, no thread weave, and no wheel turns; if there’s no spindle and there’s no wheel, then no finger, the spindle can feel.”

The king slapped his sigh for joy, “why, of course,” said he, “how is it that I did not myself think of such a simple solution? It seems to me, wizard, that you have easily earned your thousand crowns.”

“Ah, majesty,” the wizard made answered, “all things are simple when once you know them,” and in this, he was quite right.

Chapter 6

The king lost no time in putting the wizard’s counsel into effect the very next day,

he caused a proclamation to be written and ordered copies of it to be fixed on all

the church doors and in all the public places of every town in his kingdom; this is

the way the proclamation read

“whereas a certain malicious fairy

forgetful of the duties she owes to the highest and pusent king and queen rightful sovereigns of these realms, and to the princess briar rose their dearly loved daughter has of malice aforethought and with intent to work grievous bodily harm to the person of the said princess in the presence of the said most pusent sovereigns and of diverse of their loyal subjects made and uttered a prophecy to it that the said princess shall in her fifteenth year prick her finger with a spindle of a spinning wheel and a certain dire misfortune shall fall upon her because of that injury to the sorrow of her loving parents, now be it decreed that all spinning wheels or instruments of spinning whatsoever in the possession of any subjects of the king’s most excellent majesty, whether they be worked by hand or by treadle or by any other device together with all spindles shuttle bobbins and all other accessories or a pertinences thereunto belonging shall forthwith be rendered up to the officers of the king’s most excellent majesty appointed to receive them and be it further decreed that if any persons or persons fail to observe or obey this edict or ordinance by unlawfully retaining any instrument of spinning or accessory thereunto, such persons shall be dealt with according to the full rigor of the law and shall suffer the penalty of death, given under our royal hand and seal’

the issue of this proclamation caused a great deal of interest and excitement

throughout the kingdom, all the people came out of their houses to gaze at it, for they had never seen it like before, and though very few of them knew how to read,

they realized that it must mean something very important, so they sent for clerks

and scholars to read it to them, paying a penny a piece for the service which pennies

the clerks and scholars being usually extraordinarily needy persons, were very glad

to earn, it usually took about three hours to read the proclamation and explain it

and one must admit that it might have been expressed in fewer words to do so,

however, would not have been dignified for this proclamation was what is called

a legal instrument.

The very next day, in each town and village of the kingdom, the king’s officers came

riding and before them went a trumpeter who stopped at the head of each street

and blew a loud call; having thus commanded attention, he marched past the houses

calling in a loud voice, “Bring out your spinning wheels, bring out your spinning wheels.”

so the people brought them out not without grumbling, for a spinning wheel is a very

useful thing to have in a house, and in those days, people spun and wove their own

cloth to make their clothes, but they were afraid to disobey the king’s order,

and the spinning wheels were of all shapes and sizes; some of them knew and some

of them hundreds of years old, and there was hardly a house that did not possess one

of some kind or another, they were all collected together and loaded into wagons

and taken to the capital, where they were piled up into an immense heap in the public

square, then the king and queen and all the court came out and watched while the big

heap was set on fire.

The people came out to watch too in their thousands, and a very fine sight it was

to see the enormous flames shooting up into the air and to hear the crackle and hiss

of the burning wood that sounded like the discharge of a hundred muskets, the king

laughed aloud in his relief, and even the queen smiled while the little princess

briar rose, who was held up to a window of the palace to see the bonfire, stretched out

her arms to the pretty flames,

but the people were not very much amused by the sight because they were their

spinning wheels which were being burnt

“I’ve had my wheel for 20 years,” said one woman, “and now I’ve none at all, and how on earth can I get along without it, I don’t know, with six growing lads to find breeches for.”

“five silver crowns, my wheel cost me, good man, last candle mass,” said another, “and there it goes up in flames and smoke.”

“What is a wheel if the burning of it saves our little princess?!” quoth a third

“come, cheer up, Mother; the king has a reason for what he does, and he will not see us want,” and this man was right.

The king had no wish to oppress his subjects, for no sooner was the pile reduced

to ashes, then he caused another proclamation to be issued saying that the owner

of every spinning wheel should be paid for its loss, and not only so, but the king told

his merchants to buy spun yarn from neighboring countries so that the people might

be able to weave even though they could not spin.

Chapter 7

The little princess Briar Rose, of course, knew nothing of the strange events that had

happened at the feast of her christening, and the king gave orders that nobody should

even mention the subject to her. It is not a pleasant thing to know that the fairies have

decreed that one shall fall asleep for a hundred years on one’s 15th birthday, even

though one is to be awakened by a handsome prince at the end of that time, so all

the lords in waiting and the ladies-in-waiting had to be very careful and discreet if

they told the princess a story they had to keep the word spinning out of it,

and if they showed her a book, they had to take the pains to see it did not contain

a picture of a spinning wheel or any reference to a disc staff or spindle lest she should

ask what they were the king’s customs officers on the boundaries of the kingdom had

to examine every wagon load of merchandise that came into the country for fear

it should contain a spinning wheel, and if anybody was found trying to smuggle one in,

he was brought before the judges and punished.

By these devices, the king felt certain that he had averted the fate laid upon his

daughter, but the promises of the otherwise women were fulfilled to the letter,

for the young princess grew up to be the most beautiful, gifted, and gracious maiden

in all the world, that, at any rate, was what everybody in the palace said from the lords

and ladies down to the scullions in the kitchen, and although people are inclined

sometimes to flatter royalty; in this case, there were reasons for their

admiration, to begin with, the princess was as lovely as a spring morning with eyes

of the purest softest blue and hair in which rays of the sun seemed to be entangled,

when she came into a room, people stopped whatever they were doing to look at her,

and everyone felt happier because she was there and because of her cleverness,

she never had any trouble with her letters or her multiplication table; she could cipher

as easily as she could spell; she knew the history of her own country and of every

country around it, and nobody could puzzle her with the hardest question in geography.

She could sew and embroider and knit and paint and draw; she could repeat poetry

in five different languages, and she studied mathematics and botany, astronomy,

and even law; in short, there was no end to her knowledge, and all because she had

those fairies for her godmothers. besides this, there were all her other

accomplishments, she could play all sorts of musical instruments; for instance,

fiddle and zither, large harp and juice harp, church organ and mouth organ, flute

and penny whistle, and even on the nursery comb, she could sing like a nightingale

and dance like a fairy, and yet she was never conceited or puffed up as some

good-looking and accomplished people are apt to be; on the contrary, she was always

sweet-tempered and modest, and for this reason, she was loved.

People may admire good looks and a graceful deportment, and they may respect

ability, but it is only the sweetness of nature and goodness of heart that can win love,

and these things were the gift of the third fairy.

So the years passed, and at last came the day when Princess Briar Rose was

15 years of age, what a day that was everybody came to wish her many happy returns,

and she had so many presents that at least a dozen servants were kept busy

unwrapping the parcels, the king gave her a white pony with a saddle of red velvet

and bridal and stirrups of gold, while the queen’s present was beautiful and costly

necklace of pearls, even the boy who turned the spit in the kitchen brought her

something, and though it was only a little wooden shoe that he had carved with his

own hands, the princess prized it just as much as though it had been made of gold,

the only person who was not happy on the princess’s birthday was the queen,

and she went about with a pale face and a look of great anxiety

“Come, come, my love,” said the king, “what is the matter with you? Surely you are not thinking of that foolish old prophecy?”

“how can I help thinking about it?” the queen answered. “I have not been able to get it out of my mind for 15 years, and now that the day has come, I am afraid.”

“make your mind easy,” said the king. “Nothing is going to happen; why there’s not a spinning wheel within 100 miles? I have taken good care of that,” and he went away chuckling to attend a meeting of his cabinet, but the queen shook her head.

Now while the king and queen were talking, Princess Briar Rose was wandering

about in the castle, visiting room after room, as she had done many times before,

the castle was so big that a stranger might easily have been lost in its maze

of stairways and corridors, but Briar Rose knew every part of it quite well from

the great kitchens below ground where on feast days, a score of cooks prepared

the dinner for hundreds of guests, to the topmost turret above the battlements where

the sentries kept watch with their pikes on their shoulders; there was only one part

of the castle, which Briar Rose had never explored, and that was an ancient tower

that rose from the eastern end, the door of that tower was always locked, and although

the princess had often tried to find the key she had never succeeded; the servants told

her that tower had not been inhabited for nearly a hundred years, and it had never been

entered within the memory of anybody in the castle.

Today Briar Rose flitted restlessly from place to place; she peeped into the kitchen

and saw the kitchen boys turning the spits on which whole oxen were being roasted,

then she went into the empty throne room and saw the golden thrones side by side

upon the Deus and the rich tapestry glowing with all the colors of the rainbow

on the walls; after that, she mounted to the battlements from which she could see over

miles and miles of her father’s kingdom, and not content with that, she ran up

the staircases into the turrets and looked through their narrow slits of windows upon

the courtyard below so far down that the people walking therein seemed no bigger

than mice, and then she came down again and continued her wanderings, searching

in all sorts of out-of-the-way corners until, at last, she found herself before the door

of the ancient tower into which she had never been, and as she looked at the door,

she gave a start of surprise and then a cry of joy; there was a key in the lock.

Chapter 8

it was a rusty key, and Briar Rose was afraid that she might not be able to turn it,

but to her surprise, it turned out quite easily; the heavy door swung inward

on its ancient hinges with many a creak and a groan, and she found herself in a little

dark room thickly carpeted with the dust of years; from this room, a winding staircase

led upward, and Briar Rose was just about to climb the stair when a sudden noise

made her start back in alarm where there was a beating of wings, a flurry, and a scuffle

and past her face flew a dark shape with gleaming yellow eyes; it was only an owl

who was hiding in the tower out of the sunlight, but he gave poor Briar Rose had

a great fright, and she was in two minds about whether to turn back or not,

but the winding staircase looked very inviting, and she wanted to see whether it led,

so gathering up her skirts to avoid any creepy things that might be crawling about,

she ran up the stairway as fast as she could, round and round, until she reached

the top; there she came upon another door; in this door also was a rusty key,

and Briar Rose turned it as easily as she had turned the first, then she pushed open

the door and entered; she found herself in a small room lighted by narrow windows;

beneath one of these windows was a couch, and in front of it sat an old woman with

a spinning wheel.

“Good morrow, mother kin,” said the princess, “what are you doing?”

“I am spinning, my pretty child,” answered the old woman without ceasing her work

“spinning?” asked the princess. “Oh, do let me see what that thing which goes round so merrily is.”

“that is the spinning wheel,” said the old woman. “Why child, you speak as though you had never seen such a thing before?”

“Indeed I have not,” said the princess, “how interesting it is; I wonder whether I could do it as well as you; will you let me try?”

“Why, of course,” said the old woman, “every young girl should know how to spin; here you are, my dear,” and she gave Briar Rose the spindle.

Now whether the princess, in her eagerness to seize the spindle, grasped it too roughly

or whether it was just because the fairy had ordained that it should be so, I do not

know, but anyhow the sharp iron point pricked her hand, and immediately she fell

backward onto the couch in a deep sleep, and in that very moment, sleep fell upon

every man, woman, and child in the castle and upon every living thing within its gates.

The king, who was sitting at the council board with his ministers, stopped speaking

in the middle of a sentence and remained with his mouth open in the act of uttering

a word and nobody remarked on the strangeness of his conduct, for all his ministers were

asleep, too; just as they sat outside the door, the sentry leaned upon his pike

in the queen’s chamber, and the ladies-in-waiting fell into a profound slumber

in the very midst of what they were doing, one as she was hemming a handkerchief

another over her embroidery, still another while she was talking to her parrot, the queen

slept in her chair, and a little page boy who was singing fell asleep in the middle

of a note.

All through the castle, the charmed slumber spread courtiers, officers, stewards, cooks,

errant boys soldiers beetle, nay the very horses in the stables and the dogs in their

kennels were stricken motionless as though they were dead; the flies ceased to buzz

at the windows and the pigeons to coo upon the roof, in the great kitchen, the scullions

fell asleep as they were washing up the dishes, and the cook, in the very act of boxing

the ears of a kitchen knave but not for a hundred years would he feel that blow

or be able to utter the cry that was on the tip of his tongue; the dog fell asleep under

the table as he was gnawing a bone, the cat in front of a mouse hole the mouse itself

on the other side of the skirting board with its little sharp nose outstretched to sniff

the air suspiciously, even the spits which were turning at the fire laden with partridges

and pheasants cooking for the princess’s birthday feast even though they ceased

to turn, and the very fire stopped flickering, and the flames sank down; a deep silence

fell over  the castle; in the fields, the lambs ceased to bleach, the horses to nay

and the cows too low, the birds in the trees were silent for one moment; the air was full

of the music of their twittering, the next all was still as in a desert, the very wind

dropped to sleep in the woods, not a leaf stirred, and the white clouds were motionless

in the sky, so sleep fell upon the enchanted castle and upon all within it because

of the princess, Briar Rose, who lay there on her couch in the ancient tower, waiting till

the hundred years should be passed, and the prince should come to waken her,

and all around the castle, there grew up a hedge of thorns tangled with ivy wood vine

and creeping plants so dense that from a distance, it seemed like a little wood, higher

and higher it grew, closing around the castle like a wall until all that could be seen as

the top of the highest tower and the flagstaff from which the royal standard hung

lymph and motionless, and the years went by, each with its changing seasons.

Spring came and brought to the fields and woods outside the new life of a leaf

and flower, the trees awoke from their winter sleep and clothed themselves gloriously

in green, the birds began to sing again, and the swallows and martins built to their

nests under the eaves, children laughed and clapped their hands because they were

happy in the bright sunshine, and old people felt their hearts filled with joy when

they saw the mist of bluebells in the woods and the daffodils dancing in the breeze

but within the thorn hedge, no life stirred, and neither flower nor tree answered

the call of spring.

As time went on, the people who were young when the palace was enchanted grew

old and died, but they never forgot the prophecy that one of these days, the sleeping

princess should awaken, and they told the story to their children, who told it in turn

changing it a little because it was only a tale to them, and so after many years,

the legend spread abroad to neighboring countries, and many a young prince dreamed

that it was he who was destined to break the spell and wake the sleeping princess

now and again, one would take the quest upon him and try to force his way

through the thick hedge, but no one succeeded.

The sharp thorns gripped the unhappy young men like clutching hands and holding

them fast so that they could neither go forward nor back, and they perished miserably,

their bones whitened by the sun and the wind remained there as a warning for all to see

and the creeping plants grew over them.

Chapter 9

A hundred years passed away, and at the end of that time, it happened one day that

a young prince who was hunting in the neighborhood caught sight of the towers

of the enchanted castle rising above the dense forest; he had never been to that part

of the country before and had heard nothing of the story of the sleeping princess,

so he asked the first people he met what those towers were and to whom the castle

belonged everybody told him a different tale; one said that it was an old castle haunted

by spirits, another that it was a meeting place for all the witches and sorcerers

in the land who gathered there to practice their secret rights,

“no, no,” said a third “That castle is the home of a giant, and all the people in these parts are very much afraid of him, so I have been told because he steals their cattle and their crops and even carries off their children to be his servants, and they cannot go to the rescue of those he has imprisoned in this way because of the forest all around the castle which is so dense that nobody can force his way through,”

and so they went on one saying one thing and one another for each repeated what

he had heard, at last, an old peasant stepping forward

“Fifty years ago, my prince,” said he, “my father told me the story of that castle, and since he was born in these parts, I think it was a true story, and I will tell it to you if you would like to hear it,”

the prince nodded eagerly, and the old man went on

“my father said that years before he himself was born, a king and queen lived in the castle with their daughter, the most beautiful princess that ever was seen in some way or other; they angered the fairies, who put a spell upon the place and upon everyone within it so that they fell into a deep sleep, my father said that this sleep would last a hundred years, but at the end of that time, a king’s son should come and waken the beautiful princess and make her his bride.”

when the young prince heard these words, he felt his heart beat quickly; something

seemed to tell him that he and no other was the king’s son who was destined

to remove the spell,  and he cried,

“show me the way to the castle, for I will take this adventure upon myself,”

but the old man shook his head, “I have not yet told you all, my prince; many are the young men who have tried to force their way through the thick wood that guards the enchanted castle; each of them thought that he and he alone was destined to awaken the sleeping beauty, and each of them set out with high hopes, but none of them all came back and their bones, whitened by the wind and rain, lie among the thorns of the thick hedge a fearful warning to the venture some I pray you; therefore, my prince do nothing rash but think well before you take upon yourself this perilous quest.”

“What?” cried the prince with flashing eyes. “Shall I hold back when others have dared!? this very hour I will attempt to enter the castle, and if I do not return, carry home the news of how I have died.”

Then without paying any heed to the words of those who would prevent him

from rushing into such danger, the eager young man set out his heart on fire

with thoughts of love and glory. Nobody showed him the way, but he could see

the towers of the castle rising above the distant wood, and when he entered the wood

itself and the towers were hidden, each path he took led him nearer to the place where

he would be, at last, come to an open glade, and there before he was a tangled

hedge of thorns stretching in either direction as far as the eye could see.

Chapter 10

And now, as the prince drew nearer, he could see that the story he had heard about

that terrible place was true, for holding in the tangle of briar were the bones of many

unhappy young men who had tried to force their way through to the castle, rags

and tatters of their finery hung upon the great thorns that pointed menacingly like

sharp claws here and there upon the ground beneath lay pieces of rusty armor,

a helmet surrounded by a coronet of gold that once belonged to a king’s son, a shield

with a princess device, a sword with a jewel-encrusted hilt worth a king’s ransom; there

they lay all disregarded among the blanched bones upon the grass and the ground ivy

spread out its leaves to cover them, not a sound broke the deep and awful silence,

no bird sang, no insect droned, and there was no scurry of woodland creatures among

the leaves, no sigh of wind in the trees in all that place, only the thorn hedge seemed

threateningly alive, waiting to destroy the intruder who should attempt to force

the secret guarded; who would blame the prince if, for a moment, his heart had almost

failed him, there was no gap in that hedge, and the great thorns were sharp as

a dagger blade to stab his flesh, but if the prince hesitated,

“it was not for long have I come so far to turn back now,” he thought. “These others who have died were brave men, and though they failed with courage as great as theirs, I may succeed.”

and without wasting another moment, the prince began to force his way through

the hedge, and now he noticed with surprise that those thorns, which looked so sharp

and cruel, became soft and fizzled down as soon as he touched them, and the trailing

bramble branches did not entangle him but bent aside at his touch as though they had

been stems of grass, the hedge opened before him, and as he went through it, pink

blossoms of wild roses bloomed on the branches until the tangled wall became

a mass of flowers; at last, the prince found himself on the other side of the hedge

in the gardens of the castle before him, he could see the high towers and turrets bathed

in the fresh light of the morning sun, and as he hastened toward them, he noticed

that the gardens were as trim and tidy as though they had been tended by

the gardeners, there was no moss or weed upon the smooth paths of the turf

on the lawns was as short and firm as though it had just been the moon,

and in the flower beds, everything was in the most careful order; spring flowers were

blooming there, but they bowed their heads upon their stalks, and even the trees

seemed to hang their arms as though asleep everywhere, there was the same deep

silence, the air,  which should have been full of the twittering of birds, was heavy

and languorous, there was no flutter of butterfly wings or darting of flies; the fountains

on the lawns were not playing, and as the prince glanced over the edge of the marble

basin of one of them, he could see the goldfish beneath the water lily leaves lying still

with never a wave of the tail or flicker of fin, so he went on over the lawns and terraces,

and never waking thing did he see, but when he came to the courtyard, he saw

a soldier standing there leaning on his pike with his head bent upon his chest

at first, the prince thought that he was dead, but his cheek was fresh and ready

and it was quite plain to see that he was merely asleep in the courtyard itself, where

other human forms all still and silent, a row of pikemen leaned against the wall

and in front of them, stretched out upon the ground, snored the sergeant who had

been drilling them when the spell came upon the castle, a young squire with a sleeping

hawk upon his wrist slept leaning against the sleeping horse which he had been about

to mount nearby lay a page with a hound on a leash, both sleeping as soundly

as though they never would awake, and through a window in the stables, the prince

saw a groom lying with a straw in his mouth in the stables themselves like a condition

of things prevailed, the horses slept at their stalls with their noses to the managers

standing on their four legs just as they were when they were enchanted a hundred

years before, and on the back of one of them sat the stable cat here and there upon

the ground lay grooms and ostlers fast asleep among the straw from the stables,

the prince made his way to the great kitchen, where he saw equally strange sights,

and he could not help smiling when he came upon the cook with her hand still

outstretched to cloud the head of the unhappy scullion whom she had by the ear

before the fires hung, the spitted partridges and fowls that were cooking

for the princess’s birthday feast, and at the table, a maid had fallen asleep with

her hands in a large trough full of dough; she had been making the pastry for a pie

when the sleep fell upon her and by her side was another maid who had been plucking

a black hen at the sink, a kitchen knave was leaning over the pot he had been scouring;

then the prince went out into the great hall and saw the courtiers asleep in the window

alcoves or stretched out upon the polished floor everywhere was a silence so profound

that the prince was almost alarmed to hear his own breathing and the beating of his

heart sounded like a muffled drum on and on; he went through rooms and corridors,

up staircases and down staircases into the queen’s chamber, where he saw the queen

and her ladies as still and silent as the rest; one of those ladies had been reading

to the queen at the moment when the charmed sleep fell upon the castle and the book

history of Troy still lay open on her lap; then the prince went into the king’s room

where his majesty sat with his ministers of state around the council board. He almost

lingered there, for it was very curious to see those nobles as quiet and motionless

as though they had been wax works in a show; some of them were frowning as though

in deep thought and some smiling as though they had suddenly remembered

something clever to tell the king himself at the head of the council table had evidently

fallen asleep in the very midst of a speech for his arm they outstretched on the table

with the pointing finger and by his side, his secretary’s fingers still held the pen with which

he was inscribed on a roll of parchment the royal words, so the prince hurried through

the castle from top to bottom until he had glanced into every room and opened every

door, and still, he knew that there was something more to see, for nowhere had

he came across the sleeping princess many maidens he had seen of surpassing

beauty, but his heart told him that none of them all was the maiden whom he had come

to awaken down, he went into the courtyard again and found another stairway which

led to the battlements, there stood the watchmen whose duty it was to look out over

the country and report the arrival of travelers, but they too were all asleep though one

of them had his horn in his hand as though he had been about to blow it when he was

suddenly overcome by the charmed slumber from the battlements, the prince climbed

in turn into each of the turrets, but there was nobody in them at all, and no living thing

except for the owls asleep in the crevices of the walls and the bats that hung head

downward from the rafters now, only one small turret remained to be explored; it was

the oldest of the turrets was almost a ruin and plainly long unused, for the iron door

was rusty, and the ivy trailed about the walls; the prince approached it with a beating

heart, for there he knew he should find what he thought; he threw open the creaking

door with impatient feet, he mounted the crazy winding stair, opened the door

at the top and entered a little dark room and then and then he started forward with a

cry of joy and wonder for lying on the couch below the narrow window she saw

the princess was lying on a couch with her lovely hair spread out like a stream

of gold, and no words can tell how beautiful she was; softly, the prince came near

and bent over her; he touched her hand; it was warm as in life, but she did not stir;

no sound of breathing came from her parted lips, fresh and sweet as the petals

of a rose, her eyes were closed for a long time; the prince stood and gazed upon her,

for never in all his life had he seen a maiden so lovely then suddenly, he bent down

and kissed her lips which was the end of the enchantment.

The princess’s eyelids quivered languidly. She moved her head and stretched out her

arms; her eyes opened, and she smiled.

“Is it you, my prince?” she said, “how long have you kept me waiting?”

Chapter 11

At that very moment, the charm was broken, and the castle awoke instead

of the profound silence, there came a hustle and confusion of noise clocks began

to strike, doors began to slam, dogs began to bark, began to crow, and hence to cluck

a breeze sprang up outside and set the branches of the trees swaying and creaking

the doves began to coo upon the roofs, the swallows to Twitter under the eaves flies

came out and buzzed about the window, mice squeaked in the wainscot and ran

scampering along the rafters, the fountain in the garden lapped up 60 feet into the air

and the goldfish swam among the water lily leaves, ants left their nests and foraged

about the paths, the butterflies danced and fluttered over the flowers, which lifted their

heads as though to drink in the rays of the sun in every tree in the garden, a thrush

woke up and began to sing sparrows chirped, jays screamed, booted, chattered

and the chief chaff uttered his strange note in the woods; a cuckoo called and blackbird

fluted to black a bird in the hedge in the stables, the horses awoke and champed

at their stalls, the cat jumped down and ran after a mouse that crept out from under

the straw, the sentry at the courtyard gate woke up and rubbed his eyes, and came

smartly to attention, looking round uneasily, for he thought he had only been asleep

for a few minutes and was afraid that somebody might have seen him who would

report him to the sergeant; the pikemen also woke with a start, and the sergeant woke

too and bellowed an order in a loud and angry voice, for he was ashamed of himself for

sleeping in front of his men, the young squire who was going hawking fitted his falcon’s

hood and mounted his deed, the page boy with the hound went off to his master

on the topmost tower of the castle, the royal standard which had been drooping against

the flagstaff filled out and waved freely in the breeze the hedge which had grown up to

surrounding the enchanted castle broke in and disappeared peacocks squalled

and strutted on the lawns martins flitted to and from their nests under the eaves pigs

began to grant oxen to low sheep to bleed, rooks to call, and children to laugh and sing

in short, all the sounds which we hear every day and all the time and never notice

began again and seemed so loud in contrast to the deadly silence that they almost

cracked the ears, and in every room in the castle, the people who had been lying asleep

for a hundred years woke up and went on with what they had been doing just as

though nothing had happened in the kitchen, the flames of the fire lapped up

with a hiss and a roar, the kettle began to boil the stew pot to bubble, and the meat

before the fire to steam and hiss as the little boy turned the spit

“take that,” cried the cook, “giving the scallion the clout she had promised a hundred years before,

“take that for a lazy knave goodness,” yawned the maid who had been plucking the black hen “i wonder what made me drop off to sleep like that; well, well, it’s to be hoped the cook didn’t see me in my word how she made the feathers fly.”

“meow” cried the cat in disgust as he made a pounce at the mouse hole he had been watching for the little mouse who had poked his nose out a hundred years before drew it back like a flash and scampered away

“dear me,” said the servant who was washing the dishes, “I do believe I have been to sleep with this croc in my hand; it’s a mercy I didn’t let it fall,” and he went on with his scouring

it was the same thing in the dairy where the maids had fallen asleep while they were

skimming the cream and churning the butter, and the cream was not sour at all for all

that a hundred years had passed, nor was the butter rank butterfly which had been

sleeping on the edge of one of the milk pans, woke up, and flew down to taste the milk

and fell in and drowned, so he was none the better because the spell had been taken off the castle.

In the queen’s anti-chamber, the maids of honor and the ladies in waiting sat up

and yawned and stretched themselves; each one of them thought that she was the only

one who had fallen asleep, and they all began to explain at the same time that they had

only closed their eyes for 40 seconds it was the heat they all said to each other,

the sun is very hot for this time of year in the king’s council chamber; the king

and all his ministers woke up with a start; the ministers rubbed their eyes and looked

very sheepish, for each of them thought that he was alone in being caught napping

“your majesty was saying,” said the prime minister respectfully leaning forward,

“I was saying,” said the king, “what was I saying?” and he stretched out his arms and yawned

“I crave your pardon, my lords; I do believe I’ve been asleep, I ho, but my joints are stiff.”

“it was but an after-dinner nap,” said the prime minister. “Your majesty is overspent with the hard hunting yesterday. Is it your majesty’s will that we should proceed with our business, or shall the council rise until tomorrow?”

“go on, my lords, go on,” cried the king heartily. “My little nap has wonderfully refreshed me, but say you shall we pass that bill we were discussing a few minutes ago.”

but at this moment, a page came into the room with a message from the queen

and as soon as he received it, the king left his seat in the council chamber and went

to her alone among all the people in the castle, the queen had realized immediately

she awoke from her charmed sleep exactly what had happened; she remembered

the words of the fairy godmother, and she knew that what she had foretold had come

to pass and that the sleep from which she and everybody else in the castle had just

awakened had lasted a hundred years, and her first thought was of her daughter 

the princess Briar Rose where was she, and what would have happened to her if she too had merely fallen asleep?

All was well, but suppose the doom is first spoken by the 13th fairy had taken effect,

in a few words, she told the king all that was in her mind, and without delay messengers

were sent all over the castle to look for the princess. In the meantime, briar rose

and the young prince was talking together in the ruined tower for the first time

she heard the story of the enchantment, and her eyes grew round with wonder

as she listened to her lover’s account of the strange things that had happened

in the castle when he told of the great hedge and its cruel thorns and of the many

young men who had died trying to force their way through it. Her eyes filled with tears

“how great their courage was?” she sighed. “Oh, if only I could bring them back to life?”

but the prince kissed her tears away and hastened past that part of his tail

and presently, she was smiling again and happy because she understood that

everything had happened as it was bound to happen then the prince took her hand

and raised her from the couch on which she had slept so long, and they went down

the winding stair together and came to the battlements, where they found a score

of breathless people who had been running up and down in search of her and how

surprised these people were to find her in that place accompanied by a young man

they had never seen before; she seemed to have grown more beautiful than ever during

her long sleep and they were amazed by her loveliness; how may we describe the joy

of the king and queen when they saw their daughter again and knew that the good fairy

had kept her word, the king was so delighted that all he could say was, “Bless my soul,

bless my soul,” and the queen could say nothing at all, for she was weeping for joy

what a feast there was that night in spite of the hundred years that had gone by; it was

still the princess’s birthday, and she was, in reality, no more than 15 years old for

the time had stood still for her, so she had her birthday feast just the same, and it was

her betrothal feast, too, for the king joined the hands of the young prince and his

daughter and gave them his blessing.

The End