Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Inspiring Novel > Tales of Passed Times > THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 There were once a King and Queen, who were very unhappy at not having any children, more unhappy than words can tell. , pilgrimages, everything was tried, but nothing was of any avail; at length, however, a little daughter was born to them.  
There was a splendid christening. For godmothers, they gave the young Princess all the fairies they could find in the country—they were seven in number—in order that each making her a gift, according to the custom of fairies in those days, the Princess might, by these means, become of all imaginable perfections. When the ceremony was over, all the company returned to the King's palace, where a great banquet had been prepared for the fairies. The table was magnificently laid for them, and each had placed for her a massive gold case, containing a spoon, a fork, and a knife of fine gold, set with diamonds and .
But as they were all taking their seats, there was seen to enter an old fairy, who had not been invited, for everyone thought that she was either dead or , as she had not been outside the tower in which she lived for of fifty years. The King ordered a cover to be laid for her, but there was no possibility of giving her a massive gold case, such as the others had, because there had been only seven made expressly for the seven fairies. The old fairy thought she was treated with contempt, and muttered some threats between her teeth. One of the young fairies, who chanced to be near her, overheard her grumblings, and was afraid she might some evil gift on the young Princess. Accordingly, as soon as they rose from table, she went and hid herself behind the hangings, in order to be the last to speak, and so enable herself to repair, as far as possible, any harm the old fairy might have done. Meanwhile the fairies began their gifts on the Princess. The youngest, as her gift, promised that she should be the most beautiful person in the world; the next fairy, that she should have the mind of an angel; the third, that every movement of hers should be full of grace; the fourth, that she should dance to perfection; the fifth, that she should sing like a nightingale; the sixth, that she should play on every kind of instrument in the most manner possible. It was now the turn of the old fairy, and she said, while her head shook more with than with age, that the Princess should pierce her hand with a spindle, and die of the wound.
The whole company trembled when they heard this terrible prediction, and there was not one among them who did not shed tears. At this moment the young fairy advanced from behind the , and said, speaking that all might hear,—
"Comfort yourselves, King and Queen; your daughter shall not die of the wound. It is true that I have not sufficient power to what my elder has done. The Princess will pierce her hand with a spindle, but, instead of dying, she will only fall into a deep sleep, which will last a hundred years, at the end of which time a king's son will come and wake her."
The King, in the hope of preventing the misfortune by the old fairy, immediately sent a proclamation forbidding everyone, on pain of death, either to spin with a spindle, or to have spindles in their possession.
Fifteen or sixteen years had passed, when, the King and Queen being absent at one of their country houses, it happened that the Princess, while running about the castle one day, and up the stairs from one room to the other, came to a little garret at the top of a , where an old woman sat alone spinning with distaff and spindle, for this good woman had never heard the King's proclamation forbidding the use of the spindle.
"What are you doing there?" asked the Princess.
"I am spinning, my pretty child," answered the old woman, who did not know who she was.
"Oh, how pretty it is!" exclaimed the Princess. "How do you do it? Give it to me, that I may see if I can do it as well."
She had no sooner taken hold of the spindle, than, being very hasty, and rather thoughtless, and moreover, the fairies having that it should be so, she pierced her hand with the point of it, and fainted away. The poor old woman was in great , and called for help. People came running from all quarters; they threw water in the Princess's face, they unlaced her dress, they slapped her hands, they rubbed her temples with Queen of Hungary's water, but nothing would bring her to. The King, who had run upstairs at the noise, then remembered the prediction of the fairies, and wisely concluded that this accident must have happened as the fairies had said it would. He ordered the Princess to be carried into a beautiful room of the palace, and laid on a bed with silver and gold. One might have thought it was an angel lying there, so lovely did she look, for the rich colours of her had not faded in her swoon; her cheeks were still , and her lips like coral. Only, her eyes were closed, but they could hear her breathing softly, which showed that she was not dead.
The King gave orders that she was to be left to sleep there in quiet, until the hour of her awaking should arrive. The good fairy who had saved her life, by her to sleep for a hundred years, was in the Kingdom of Mataquin, twelve thousand leagues away, when the Princess met with her accident, but she was informed of it instantly by a little , who had a pair of seven-league boots, that is, boots which enabled the wearer to take seven leagues at a stride.

The fairy set out immediately, and an hour afterwards she was seen arriving in a chariot of fire, by dragons.
The King advanced to hand her out of the chariot. She approved of all he had done, but being gifted with great , she bethought her that the Princess would feel very lost and bewildered on awaking and finding herself all alone in the old castle; so this is what the fairy did. With her wand she touched everybody who was in the castle, except the King and Queen: governesses, maids of honour, women of the bed-chamber, gentlemen, officers, , cooks, scullions, boys, guards, porters, pages, footmen; she also touched the horses that were in the stables with their , the great mastiffs in the courtyard, and little Fluff, the pet dog of the Princess, that was on the bed beside her. As soon as she had touched them, they all fell asleep, not to wake again until the hour arrived for their mistress to do so, in order that they should all be ready to attend upon her as soon as she should want them. Even the spits before the fire, hung with partridges and pheasants, and the very fire itself, went to sleep. All this was done in a moment, for fairies never lost much time over their work.
The King and Queen now kissed their dear daughter, who still slept on, quitted the castle, and issued a proclamation forbidding any person, whosoever, to approach it. These orders were unnecessary, for in a quarter of an hour there grew up around the park such a number of trees, large and small, of brambles and thorns interlacing each other, that neither man nor beast could have got through them, and nothing could be now seen of the castle but the tops of the , and they only from a considerable distance. Nobody doubted that this also was some of the fairy's handiwork, in order that the Princess might be protected from the curiosity of strangers during her long .
When the hundred years had passed away, the son of the King at that time upon the throne, and who was of a different family to that of the sleeping Princess, having been hunting in the neighbourhood, inquired what towers they were that he saw above the trees of a very thick wood. Each person answered him according to the story he had heard. Some said it was an old castle, haunted by ghosts; others, that all the witches of the country held their midnight there. The more general opinion, however, was that it was the of an ogre, and that he carried all the children he could catch, in order to eat them at his leisure, and without being pursued, he alone having the power of making his way through the wood.
The Prince did not know what to believe of all this, when an old peasant in his turn, and said to him, "Prince, it is more than fifty years ago since I heard my father say, that there was in that castle the most beautiful Princess that was ever seen; that she was to sleep for a hundred years, and would be by a king's son, for whom she was intended and was waiting."
The young Prince, at these words, felt himself all on fire. He had not a moment's doubt that he was the one chosen to accomplish this famous adventure, and urged to the deed by love and glory, he resolved, without delay, to see what would come of it.
Scarcely had he approached the wood, when all those great trees, all those brambles and thorns, made way for him to pass of their own accord. He walked towards the castle, which he saw at the end of a long avenue he had entered, and he was somewhat surprised to find that none of his people had been able to follow him, the trees having closed up again as soon as he had passed. Nevertheless, he continued to advance; a young prince, inspired by love, is always . He came to a large fore-court, where everything he saw might well have frozen his blood with terror. A silence around; death seemed everywhere present; on every side, nothing to be seen but the bodies of men and animals stretched out, lifeless. He soon discovered, however, by the shining noses and red faces of the porters, that they were only asleep; and their , in which still remained a few drops of wine, proved that they had off whilst drinking.
He next passed through a large courtyard paved with marble, the staircase, and entered the guard-room, where the guards stood, drawn up in line, their carbines shouldered, and snoring their loudest. He traversed several rooms with ladies and gentlemen all asleep, some , others seated. At last he came to one covered with gold, and there on a bed, the curtains of which were open on either side, he saw the most lovely sight he had ever looked upon—a Princess, who appeared to be about fifteen or sixteen, and whose dazzling beauty shone with a radiance which scarcely seemed to belong to this world. He approached, trembling and admiring, and knelt down beside her.
At that moment, the being ended, the Princess awoke, and gazing at him for the first time with unexpected tenderness, "Is it you, Prince?" she said; "I have waited long for you to come." The Prince, delighted at these words, and still more by the tone in which they were uttered, knew not how to express his joy and . He assured her that he loved her better than himself. His words were rather confused, but she was all the more pleased with them; there was little , but a great deal of love. He was much more embarrassed than she was, which is not to be wondered at. She had had time to think over what she should say to him, for there is reason to believe, although history does not mention it, that during her long, long sleep, the good fairy had let her enjoy very pleasant dreams. In short, they talked for four hours without having said half what they had to say to each other.
In the meanwhile, all the palace had been roused at the same time as the Princess. Everybody remembered his or her duty, and, as they were not all in love, they were dying with hunger. The lady-in-waiting, as hungry as any of them, became impatient, and announced loudly to the Princess that the meat was on the table. The Prince assisted the Princess to rise; she was dressed, and most magnificently, but he was careful not to tell her that she was dressed like his grandmother, and wore a stand-up collar, for, in spite of this, she was not a less beautiful.
They passed into a hall of mirrors, where they supped, waited upon by the officers of the Princess. The violins and hautboys played old but charming pieces of music, notwithstanding that it was a hundred years since they had been performed by anybody, and after supper, without loss of time, the grand almoner married the royal lovers in the of the castle.
Early next morning the Prince returned to the city, where he knew his father would be in anxiety about him. The Prince told him that he had lost his way in the forest whilst hunting, and that he had slept in the hut of a woodcutter, who had given him black bread and cheese to eat.
The King, his father, who was a simple-minded man, believed him, but his mother was not so easily satisfied. She noticed that he went hunting nearly every day, and had always some story ready as an excuse, when he had slept two or three nights away from home, and so she felt quite sure that he had a lady-love. More than two years went by and the Princess had two children, the first, which was a girl, was named , and the second, a son, was called Day, because he was still more beautiful than his sister.
The Queen, hoping to find out the truth from her son, often said to him that he ought to form some , but he never dared to trust her with his secret. Although he loved her, he feared her, for she was of the race of ogres, and the King had only married her on account of her great riches. It was even whispered about the court that she had the of an ogress, and that when she saw little children passing, it was with the greatest difficulty that she restrained herself from upon them. The Prince, therefore, would never say one word to her about his affairs.
On the death of the King, however, which took place two years later, the Prince, being now his own master, made a public declaration of his marriage, and went in great state to bring the Queen, his wife, to the palace. She made a magnificent entry into the capital, with her two children, one on either side of her.
Sometime afterwards, the King went to war with his neighbour, the Emperor Cantalabute. He left the Queen, his mother, Regent of the Kingdom, earnestly recommending to her care his wife and children. He was likely to be all summer in the field, and he had no sooner left than the Queen-mother sent her daughter-in-law and the children to a country house in the wood, so that she might more easily gratify her horrible . She followed them thither a few days after, and one evening said to her head cook, "I will eat little Aurora for dinner to-morrow." "Ah, madam!" exclaimed the cook. "I will," said the Queen, and she said it in the voice of an ogress longing to eat fresh meat; "and I will have her served with my favourite sauce."
The poor man, seeing plainly that an ogress was not to be trifled with, took his great knife and went up to little Aurora's room. She was then about four years old, and came jumping and laughing to throw her arms about his neck, and ask him for sweetmeats. He burst into tears, and the knife fell from his hands; then he went down again and into the farmyard, and there killed a little lamb which he served up with so delicious a sauce, that his mistress assured him she had never eaten anything so excellent. In the meanwhile, he had carried off little Aurora, and given her to his wife, that she might hide her in the which she occupied at the further end of the farmyard. A week later, the wicked Queen said to her head cook, "I will eat little Day for supper." He made no reply, having in his own mind to deceive her as before.
He went in search of little Day, and found him with a tiny foil in his hand, fencing with a great monkey, though he was only three years old. He carried the child to his wife, who hid him where she had hidden his sister, and then cooked a very tender little kid in the place of little Day, which the ogress thought wonderfully good. All had gone well enough so far, but one evening this wicked Queen said to the head cook, "I should like to eat the Queen with the same sauce that I had with the children."
Then the poor cook was indeed in despair, for he did not know how he should be able to deceive her. The young Queen was over twenty years of age, without counting the hundred years she had slept, and no longer such tender food, although her skin was still white and beautiful, and where among all his animals should he find one old enough to take her place?
He resolved at last that, to save his own life, he would kill the Queen, and he went up to her room, to carry out his purpose without delay. He worked himself up into a passion, and entered the young Queen's room, in hand. He did not wish, however, to take her by surprise, and so he repeated to her, very respectfully, the order he had received from the Queen-mother. "Do your duty," she said, stretching out her neck to him; "obey the orders that have been given you. I shall again see my children, my poor children, whom I loved so dearly," for she had thought them dead, ever since they had been carried away from her without a word of explanation.
"No, no, madam!" replied the poor cook, touched to the quick, "you shall not die, and you shall see your children again, but it will be in my own house, where I have hidden them; I will again deceive the Queen-mother by serving up to her a young in your stead."
He led her forthwith to his own apartments, then, leaving her to embrace her children and weep with them, he went and prepared a hind, which the Queen ate at her supper with as much appetite as if it had been the young Queen. She in her cruelty, and intended to tell the King, on his return, that some wolves had the Queen, his wife, and her two children.
One evening, while she was prowling, as usual, round the courts and poultry-yards of the castle, to the smell of fresh meat, she overheard little Day crying in one of the lower rooms, because the Queen, his mother, was about to whip him for being naughty, and she also heard little Aurora begging forgiveness for her brother. The ogress recognised the voices of the Queen and her children, and, furious at having been deceived, she gave orders, in a voice that made everybody tremble, that the next morning early there should be brought into the middle of the court a large , which she had filled with , , , and serpents, in order to throw into it the Queen and her children, the head cook, his wife, and his maid-servant. She further commanded that they should be brought thither with their hands tied behind them.
There they stood, and the executioners were preparing to fling them into the copper, when the King, who was not expected back so soon, entered the courtyard on horseback. He had ridden post-haste, and in great asked what was the meaning of this horrible spectacle? No one dared tell him, when the ogress, at what she saw, flung herself head foremost into the copper, where she was instantly devoured by the , with which she had herself caused it to be filled. The King could not help being sorry for it; she was his mother; but he quickly consoled himself with his beautiful wife and children.
Some time for a husband to wait
Who is young, handsome, wealthy and tender,
May not be a hardship too great
For a maid whom love happy would render.
But to be for a century bound
To live single, I fancy the number
Of Beauties but small would be found
So long who could patiently slumber.
To lovers who hate time to waste,
And minutes as centuries measure,
I would hint, those who marry in haste
May live to it at leisure
Yet so onwards they press,
And on so ,
That I haven't the heart, I confess,
To urge on them Beauty's example.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved