Once upon a time, there lived a king and a queen, who had no children. They were so sorry about having no children, that I cannot tell you how sorry they were. At last, however, after many years, the queen had a daughter.
There was a very fine christening for the baby princess. The king and queen looked throughout the kingdom for fairies to be her godmothers, and they found seven fairies. Each fairy godmother was to give the princess a gift, as was the custom of fairies in those days. In this way, the princess had all the perfections imaginable.
After the christening ceremony was over, the whole party returned to the king’s palace, where there was prepared a great feast for the seven fairy godmothers. There was placed before each one of them a magnificent case of gold, in which were a spoon, knife, and fork; all of pure gold set with diamonds and rubies. But as everyone was sitting down at the table, they saw come into the hall a very old fairy, whom they had not invited, because she had not left the tower where she lived for over fifty years, and she was believed to be either dead or under an evil spell.
The king could not give her a case of gold as the others had been given, because they had only seven made for the seven fairies. The old fairy felt insulted and muttered some threats between her teeth. One of the young fairies who sat by her overheard how she grumbled; and guessing that she might give the little princess an unlucky gift, went, as soon as they rose from table, and hid behind the curtains, so that she might make the last wish for the little princess, and use it to put right any evil that the old fairy might do with her magic spell.
Meanwhile, all the fairies began to give their gifts to the princess. The youngest wished that she should be the most beautiful person in the world. The next, that she should have the intelligence of an angel. The third, that she should have a wonderful grace in everything she did. The fourth, that she should dance perfectly well. The fifth, that she should sing like a nightingale, and the sixth, that she should play all kinds of music to the utmost perfection.
The old fairy’s turn came next, and shaking her head more with spite than anger, said that one day the princess would have her hand pricked by a needle on a spinning wheel and that she would die of the wound. This terrible gift made the whole company tremble, and everybody began to cry.
At this very instant the young fairy came out from behind the curtains, and spoke these words aloud:
“Assure yourselves, O King and Queen, that your daughter shall not die of this disaster. It is true, I have no power to undo entirely what the elder fairy has done. The princess shall indeed pierce her hand with a needle on a spinning wheel, but instead of dying, she shall only fall into a deep sleep, which shall last a hundred years, at the end of which a king’s son shall come and awake her.”
The king, to avoid the misfortune foretold by the old fairy, immediately made a law by which everybody was forbidden, on pain of death, to use a spinning wheel, or to have any spinning wheel in their houses.
About fifteen or sixteen years later, on a day when the king and queen were busy in a far corner of the vast palace, the young and beautiful princess amused herself by running up and down the corridors and going up from one apartment to another. Eventually, she came into a little room at the top of the tower, where a good old woman, alone, was spinning with her wheel, for this good old woman had never heard of the king’s law against spinning wheels.
The princess said: “What are you doing there, good old woman?”
[old lady’s voice] “I am spinning sheep’s wool into thread so that I can knit it into a cardigan.”
“Ha!” Said the princess, “that’s very clever. I’ve never seen that done before. How do you do it? Give it to me, so that I may see if I can do the same.”
Now whether it was because she was in too much of a hurry, or whether it was because she was clumsy, or whether it was because the old fairy had wished it so, I cannot say – but no sooner than the princess took the spinning wheel, than she pricked her hand on the needle, and she fell down in a faint.
The good old woman, not knowing what to do, cried out for help. People came rushing from all over the palace and they came in great numbers. When they saw the princess lying in a deep, deep sleep on the floor, they threw cold water on her face, they loosened her clothes, they struck her on the palms of her hands, and they rubbed her temples with smelling salts, but nothing they could do would awaken the princess.
The king, who heard the great commotion from the far end of the palace, remembered the terrible warning of the fairies, and guessing what had happened, came rushing to the tower. There he saw the princess lying in a deep, deep sleep, and he ordered her to be carried into the finest apartment in his palace, and to be laid upon a bed all embroidered with gold and silver.
If you had seen her, you might have taken her for a little angel, she was so very beautiful, for her swooning away had not paled her complexion; her cheeks were like roses, and her lips were like sea coral. Indeed, her eyes were shut, but she was heard to breathe softly, which persuaded everyone that she was not dead. The king commanded that they should not disturb her, but let her sleep quietly until her hour of awaking was come.
When this accident happened to the princess, the good fairy who had saved her life by condemning her to sleep for a hundred years, was in the kingdom of Matakin, twelve thousand miles away, but she quickly heard the terrible news from a little dwarf, who had one hundred mile boots, that is boots with which he could tread over one hundred miles of ground in a single step. The fairy came immediately, and she arrived at the palace about an hour later, in a fiery chariot drawn by dragons.
The king took her hand as she stepped out of the chariot, and they both went to look at the sleeping princess. As the fairy was very good at thinking and planning ahead, she realised that in one hundred years time when the princess would wake up, she might not know what to do with herself, being all alone in this old palace. So this was what she did: she touched with her wand everything in the palace (except the king and queen), nannies, maids of honour, ladies of the bedchamber, gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks, undercooks, cleaners, guards, with their beefeaters, pages and footmen. She also touched all the horses in the stables and fields, the fierce guard dogs in the outer court, and pretty little Mopsey too, the princess’s little puppy, which lay by her on the bed.
Immediately, as soon as she touched them they all fell asleep, so that they might not awaken before their princess, and that they might be ready to serve her when she wanted them. Even the great fires in the ovens of the kitchen, that were just then roasting partridges and pheasants, fell asleep too. All this was done in a moment. Fairies do not take long to finish their business.
Now the king and the queen, having kissed their dear child without waking her, went out of the palace and made an order that nobody should dare to come near it. This, however, was not necessary, for in a quarter of an hour’s time there grew up all round about the palace grounds such a vast number of trees, great and small, bushes and brambles, entwining one within another, that neither man nor beast could pass through; so that nothing could be seen but the very top of the towers of the palace. Nobody doubted but the fairy had demonstrated a very extraordinary sample of her power, that the princess, while she continued sleeping, might have nothing to fear from any curious people.
When a hundred years had passed by, the son of a king from another family had gone a-hunting in that part of the country where the palace used to be. He asked: “What are those towers in the middle of that great thick wood?”
Everyone answered with the rumours that they had heard. Some said that it was a ruinous old castle, haunted by spirits. Others, that all the sorcerers and witches of the country used to meet there at midnight when there was a full moon. Most people believed that an ogre lived there, and that he used take there all the little children he could catch, so that he could eat them up whenever he pleased, without anybody being able to follow him, as only he had the power to pass through the wood.
The prince was all in a quandary, not knowing what to believe, when a very good countryman said to him: “May it please Your Royal Highness, it is now about fifty years since I heard from my father, who heard my grandfather say that there was then in this castle a princess, the most beautiful that was ever seen; that she must sleep there a hundred years, and should only be waked by a king’s son.”
The young prince was all on fire at these words, believing, without thinking things through, that he could save the princess, and pushed on by love and honor, he swore that moment that he would do just that.
As he rode on his horse toward the wood, all the great trees, the bushes, and brambles gave way to let him pass through. He walked up to the castle which he saw at the end of a large avenue and he went into it. What rather surprised him was that none of his people could follow him, because the trees closed again as soon as he had passed through them. However, he did not stop; a young and amorous prince is always brave. He came into a wide, wide outer court, where everything he saw might have frozen the most fearless person with horror. There was a most frightful silence; the image of death everywhere showed itself, and there was nothing to be seen but stretched-out bodies of men and animals, all seeming to be dead.
The prince realised when he saw the red faces and pimpled noses of the guards, that they were only asleep; and that their glasses, in which there still remained some drops of wine, showed plainly that they had fallen asleep, while drunk.
He then crossed a court paved with marble, went up the stairs and came into the corridor where guards were standing, with their rifles upon their shoulders, snoring as loud as they could. After that he went through several rooms full of gentlemen and ladies, all asleep; some standing, others sitting. At last he came into a chamber all gilded with gold, where he saw upon a bed the most wonderful sight that had even met his eyes – a princess, who appeared to be about fifteen or sixteen years of age, and whose bright and rosy beauty was quite angelic. He approached with trembling admiration, and fell down before her upon his knees and kissed her hand.
Now, as the evil fairy’s spell was at an end, the princess opened her blue eyes for the first time in one hundred years and looking at him said: “Is it you, my prince? You have waited a long time.”
The prince, charmed with these words, and much more with the manner in which they were spoken, knew not how to show his joy and gratitude. He assured her that he loved her more than anyone or anything in the whole wide world. Their conversation did not make much sense – they spoke with little reason but a great deal of love. He was more lost for words than she, and we need not wonder at it; she had time to think what to say to him; for it is very probable (though history mentions nothing of it) that the good fairy, during so long a sleep, had given her very agreeable dreams about handsome princes coming to her rescue. In short, they talked four hours together, and yet they said not half of what they had to say.
In the meanwhile, all the palace awakened, and as all of them were not in love, they felt most desperately hungry after 100 years without a bite to eat. The chief lady of honor grew very impatient, and told the princess aloud that supper was served up. The prince helped the princess to rise. She was entirely dressed, and very magnificently too, but His Royal Highness took care not to tell her that she was dressed in the fashion of one hundred years ago, like his great-grandmother. She looked not a bit less charming and beautiful for all that.
They went into the great hall of mirrors, where they ate supper, and were served by the princess’ officers. The orchestra played old tunes, but very nice ones, and after supper, without losing any time, the priest married them in the chapel of the castle, and the chief lady of honour drew the curtains. They had but very little sleep – the princess had had too much of it recently, and the prince left her the next morning to return to the city, where the king was anxiously waiting for him.
The Queen Mother was of the race of the ogres, and the king would never have married her had it not been for her vast riches; it was even whispered about the court that she had ogreish inclinations, and that, whenever she saw little children passing by, she had all the difficulty in the world to avoid falling upon them and eating them up.
Soon after the king went to make war with the Emperor Contalabutte, his neighbour, she went into the kitchen and said to her clerk:
“I have a mind to eat little Morning for my dinner tomorrow.”
“I will have it so!” – This she spoke in the tone of an ogress who had a strong desire to eat fresh meat: “And I will eat her with cranberry sauce!”
This little known sequel to The Sleeping Beauty is clearly a Rather Scary Story, but it’s a fairy story, so the good survive and the bad meet their fate.
The Sleeping Beauty has married her handsome prince and now he has become king. She should be living happily ever after with her two children …
In our Pond Life introduction, Sadie the Swan wants to hear a romantic tale of love, but Colin the Carp overrules her.
Read by Natasha. Duration: 15 minutes.
Proofread by Jana Elizabeth.
The Sleeping Beauty Part Two –
If you listened to the first part of this Storynory, you will know that a handsome prince discovered a Sleeping Beauty in a palace in the woods. She had been fast asleep for one hundred years, but when he kissed her hand she woke up and fell in love with him. They were married that very day. Did they live happily ever after? Do you want to know? You do? Well listen quietly, and I will tell you the second and final part of The Sleeping Beauty in the woods.
The morning after the handsome prince had married the Sleeping Beauty, he left her and returned home to the city where his father, the king, was anxiously waiting for him.
When he reached home, the prince said that he had lost his way in the forest as he was hunting, and that he had slept in the cottage of a farmer, who gave him cheese and brown bread. He did not say a word about the Sleeping Beauty, let alone how he had married her.
The king, his father, who was a good man, believed him, but his mother could not be persuaded it was true; and seeing that he went almost every day a-hunting, and that he always had some excuse ready for so doing, though he had slept out three or four nights together, she began to suspect that he was married, for he lived with the princess for over two whole years, and they had two children – the eldest of which, who was a daughter, was named Morning, and the youngest, who was a son, they called Day.
The queen spoke several times to her son, to ask him how he passed his time. He never dared to trust her with his secret. He feared her, though he loved her, for she was of the race of the ogres, and the king would never have married her had it not been for her money; it was even whispered about the court that she had ogreish inclinations, and that, whenever she saw little children passing by, she had all the difficulty in the world to stop herself pouncing on them and gobbling them up for a snack. And so the prince would never tell her one word about his beautiful wife and two little children.
The king died about two years later, and although the prince was very sad, he became Lord and master, both of the people and of himself. A month later, he announced his marriage to the cheering crowds; and he led his beloved wife, the former Sleeping Beauty, in a great procession to the palace. They made a magnificent entry into the capital city, she riding between her two children. Now she became his queen.
Soon after, the king went to make war with the Emperor Contalabutte, his neighbour. He left his wife, the Sleeping Beauty, and his two children, Prince Day and Princess Morning, in the care of his mother. His war went on all summer, and after a while his mother said to the Sleeping Beauty: “Why don’t you go to visit your old palace in the forest, my dear, and see that everything is in order there? I will look after little Princess Morning and little Prince Day.”
Sleeping Beauty went to visit her old palace in the forest to see that everything was in order there, and she left the great city, and little Princess Morning and little Prince Day in the care of the king’s mother, for she did not know that she was an ogress who craved to eat little children for dinner.
As soon as Sleeping Beauty was gone, the queen went into the palace kitchen. She said: “I have an idea to eat little Morning for my dinner tomorrow.”
“Ah! madam!” cried the chief cook of the kitchen.
“I will have it so,” replied the queen (and this she spoke in the tone of an ogress who had a strong desire to eat fresh meat) “and I will eat her with cranberry sauce.”
The poor man, knowing very well that he must not play tricks with ogresses, took his great knife and went up into little Morning’s chamber. She was then four years old, and came up to him jumping and laughing, to take him about the neck, and ask him for some sugar-candy. Upon which he began to weep, the great knife fell out of his hand, and he went into the back yard, and killed a little lamb, and dressed it with such good sauce that his mistress assured him that she had never eaten anything so good in her life. He had at the same time taken up little Morning, and carried her to his wife, to conceal her in a hut he had at the bottom of the courtyard.
About eight days afterward the wicked queen said to the chief cook of the kitchen: “I will eat little Day for my supper.
He answered not a word, being resolved to cheat her as he had done before. He went to find out little Day, and saw him with a little sword in his hand, with which he was fencing with a great monkey, the child being then only three years of age. He took him up in his arms and carried him to his wife, that she might conceal him in her chamber along with his sister, and in the room of little Day cooked up a young goat, very tender, which the ogress again found to be wonderfully good.
So far all was well, but one evening this wicked queen said to her chief cook of the kitchen: “I will eat Sleeping Beauty with the same sauce I had with her children.”
It was now that the poor clerk of the kitchen despaired of being able to deceive her. The young queen was turned of twenty, not reckoning the hundred years she had been asleep; and how to find in a beast of the size, shape and firmness puzzled him. He decided that to save his own life, he must cut Sleeping Beauty’s throat; and so he went to her palace in the forest with the meaning to do just that. He put himself into as foul a mood as he possibly could, and came into Sleeping Beauty’s room in the palace with his dagger in his hand.
When he saw her beautiful face, he could not bring himself to kill her, but told her, with a great deal of respect, the orders he had received from the queen mother.
“Do it, do it,” said she, stretching out her neck. “Execute your orders, and then I shall go and see my children, my poor children, whom I so much and so tenderly loved.”
For after hearing of the queen’s orders, she thought that they must be dead.
“No, no, madam,” cried the poor chief cook of the kitchen, all in tears, “you shall not die, and yet you shall see your children again, but you must go home with me to my lodgings, where I have concealed them, and I shall deceive the queen once more by giving her in your place a young deer for her dinner.”
And so he led her to his house, where leaving her to embrace her children, and cry along with them, he went and dressed a young deer, which the queen had for her supper, and devoured it with the same appetite as if it had been Sleeping Beauty. She was so delighted with her cruelty, and she had invented a story to tell the king, on his return, how the mad wolves had eaten up his wife and her two children.
One evening, as she was, according to her custom, rambling round about the courts and yards of the palace to see if she could smell any fresh meat, she heard in a ground room, little Prince Day crying, for his mamma was sending him to bed without supper because he had been naughty; and she heard at the same time, little Morning begging pardon for her brother.
The ogress presently knew the voice of Sleeping Beauty and her children, and being quite mad that she had been tricked, commanded the next morning, by break of day (with a most horrible voice, which made everybody tremble), that they should bring into the middle of the great court a large tub; which she ordered to be filled with toads, vipers, snakes, and all sorts of serpents, in order to have thrown into it Sleeping Beauty and her children, the chief cook of the kitchen, his wife and maid – all whom she had given orders should be brought there with their hands tied behind them.
They were brought out, and the executioners were just going to throw them into the tub, when the king (who was not so soon expected) entered the court on horseback (for he came post) and asked, with the utmost astonishment, what was the meaning of that horrible spectacle.
No one dared to tell him. When the ogress, all enraged to see what had happened, threw herself head first into the tub, and was instantly gobbled up by the ugly creatures she had ordered to be thrown into it for the others. The king was very sorry, for the ogress had been his own mother; but he soon comforted himself with his beautiful wife and his pretty children, and they lived happily ever after.