|There once lived a King and Queen who were very sorrowful
because they had no children. When at last, after long waiting, a daughter was born, the
King showed his delight by giving a christening feast. He invited all the fairies in the
land to become the little princess's godmothers, hoping that each would bestow a gift upon
After the christening all the guests returned to the palace, where a grand feast was
prepared. Before each fairy was placed a splendid cover, with a spoon and knife and fork
of pure gold studded with diamonds and rubies. As they were all sitting down at the table
a very old fairy came into the hall. She had not been invited, because for more than fifty
years she had not been heard of. The old fairy thought herself slighted, and muttered some
angry threats that were overheard by one of the young fairies who chanced to sit beside
Thinking that some harm might be done to the pretty babe, the young fairy hid herself
behind the curtains in the hall. She did this so all the others might speak their wishes
for the child first. Then, if any evil gift were bestowed upon the child, she might be
able to counteract it.
Then came the turn of the old fairy. Shaking her head spitefully, she uttered the wish
that when the baby grew up she might prick her finger with a spindle and die of the wound.
Just then the young fairy appeared from behind the curtains, and said in a cheerful tone,
"Your Majesties may comfort yourselves; the princess shall not die. I have not the
power to change entirely the ill-fortune just wished her by my ancient sister. The
princess must indeed pierce her finger with a spindle, though she will not die, but sink
instead into a deep sleep that will last a hundred years. At the end of that time a King's
son shall come to awaken her."
Years passed, and when she was just fifteen years of age, while wandering the castle she
came to a room at the top of the tower, where she found a very old woman. "What are
you doing, my good woman?" asked the princess. "I'm spinning, my pretty
child," was the answer. "Ah, how charming! How do you do it? Let me try."
She had no sooner taken the spindle than she pierced her finger with the point. She fell
to the floor. There she lay, as beautiful as an angel, with the color still lingering in
her lips and cheeks, but her eyes were tightly closed.
She slept for a hundred years.
At last a prince came to the chamber, where he saw the fairest sight he had ever beheld.
The princess looked as if she had just closed her eyes. Trembling and filled with
admiration, the prince approached the bed and knelt beside it. Some say he kissed her, but
none saw it. Be that as it may, the princess awakened immediately. Looking at him
tenderly, she said, in a soft and drowsy voice, "Is that you my prince? I have waited
for you a very long time."
And all the kingdom rejoiced in the happiness of the couple.
Editorial note: They lived happily ever after, as they always do in fairy tales, not quite so often, however, in real life.
Thanks to "The White Rose" for the suggestion, and Suza Scalora's "Mythopoeia" for the marvelous image.
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This page last updated: 16 May 2012