Sleeping Beauty,Charles Perrault

sleeping beautyWe begin this story with the classic phrase: Once Upon A Time.  (I just love that!)  A king and queen are holding a beautiful baptism for their long awaited daughter.  All the fairies that could be found were invited to be the child’s Godmothers.  The king was able to find seven fairies and each fairy, by custom, could give the princess a gift.

After the baptism, they held a feast for the fairies.  Wouldn’t you know, in the midst of the festivities, an old fairy came in who had not been invited (many had believed she was dead).  The king made her a spot at the table and tried to placate her, but the old fairy was angry.  One of the other fairies, fearing she would give a harmful gift, decided to speak last when it was time to bestow the gifts to the princess.   The princess was graced with beauty, the mind of an angel, perfect dancing and singing and so on.  The old fairy declaired the princess would prick her hand on a spindle and die.  The last fairy, trying to lessen the damage, said that instead of dying she would sleep for one hundred years until a king’s son awakens her.

To avoid this, all spindles were banned.  Fifteen years later the princess found a kind old woman was spinning with her spool and grew curious.  The good lady did not know of the ban (really, that boggles my mind…).  The princess asks to try and pricks herself, falling asleep.  The good fairy was contacted, and came to put the whole castle to sleep save the queen and king.  She then hid the castle behind trees and thorns.

And so 100 years later, a prince comes stumbling upon the castle and investigates.  He touches the princess, waking her (what?  No kiss?).  They talk, fall in love and marry all in a moment.  For two years the prince hides his princess in this castle for fear of his mother, whom it was said, was descended from ogres that eat children.  They had two kids in this time: Aurora (Dawn) and Jour (Day).

When the king dies and the prince becomes king he brings his family out of hiding.    A bit later the new King (Geeze, I wish they had named these guys) went to war with his neighbor and left his mother to govern the kingdom.  The mother, being evil, demands to eat Aurora with a mustard sauce (maybe some fava beans… oops wrong story).  The servant goes to do his queen’s bidding, but cannot.  He instead hides Aurora and kills a small lamb for the queen’s meal.  Eight days later, the queen want Jour.  He hides Jour and gives the queen a small goat.  Later, you guessed it, the queen wants to eat the queen (confusing I know, she wants to eat Aurora’s mother).  When her son came home, she planned to say wolves had eaten them.  Instead of Aurora’s mother, the servant gave the queen a young deer.

Learning of this duplicity later, the queen is furious.  She calls for a huge vat of all things terrible (vipers, toads, serpents…) and planned to throw the young queen and her family into it along with the servant and his wife.  Just as they were about to be thrown in, the king comes home.  In a rage, the old Queen threw herself into the vat.  While the king is sad, his family make him feel better and they lived happily ever after.

So this is the old story, basically.  There is a lovely part about the moral in the end (wait, be patient, take your time…), but here we are.  I enjoyed this rendition, but (as with Pinocchio) I preferred the Disney version.  It was better fleshed out and had a lot more drama.  In the author’s defense, it is only 40 pages in eBook format.  Still, absolutely charming and everyone should read it!

As far as the Adult Content scale goes, I give it a two- there is all that cannibalism talk after all.  Still, this is one I would hand a kid before Pinocchio.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle




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