1.01 The sleeping beauty

Once upon a time…

…on a bright sunny morning, The Wandelgek had been roaming through a strange land and reached the edge of a forest he hadn’t visited before. Shards of mist rolled between the thickets on the forest floor and beams of sunlight sparsely penetrated through the thick roof of leaves high above…

There was a beautiful broad road around the forest, but to enter the forest and save time by taking a short cut. But he should have known better, specially after passing through a gate with some old creepy looking women on top who’s cold, piercing eyes seemed to follow him when entering the forest…

Deeper in the forest it became more difficult for the sun to penetrate through the thick canopy and it got a bit colder too.

The Wandelgek followed the winding path when suddenly it seemed to him that everyting got really quiet. Before he heard birds twitter and the wind rush through the leaves but now the wind was gone and no bird not even a tiny trush could be heard, as if everything alive had left, as if something terrible had happened here. He walked on wary of any sound and trying to see where the birds had gone when suddenly he thought he saw a tower amidst the trees…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wandelgek quickly followed the path, glad and relieved that soon now, he could speak to someone, explaining to him why there was nothing alive in this part of the forest…

There were more towers and soon The Wandelgek saw that it was a castle on a small hill…

The Wandelgek looked at his map and saw that he had probably reached the Kings Castle…

He walked through a small porch after which the path started to ascend. But he had expected guards to stand watch at that gate and he felt something was wrong. He had expected to hear weapon clamour or kitchen noises or trumpets sounding at his arrival, but there was not a single sound… He could now see the windows in the turrets and there was no one watching him. Not one window had even opened a bit…

Then he finally noticed a guard sitting against a tree, just beside a wee little forest stream, and walked toward him…

But the guard didn’t react to his calls and when he had reached the guard, The Wandelgek saw he was asleep…

So he tried to wake the guard…

But nothing seemed to help. Either this guard had been drinking all night and was now very fast asleep…or…

…he was under a spell of some kind…

The Wandelgek walked further uphill and entered the castle. In the kitchen they should be able to tell him whether  there had been a party last night. He walked through the empty corridors of the castle and every one of his footsteps clang loud and resonating through the hollow hallways, but still no one showed himself to ask him where he was going. Then he found the kitchen and the kitchen help…

… but he was fast asleep sitting on the floor and then he saw the cook,…

but this was even stranger. The cook stood straight but even he was deep asleep. This was no ordinary sleep. This was caused by a very powerful and evil spell…

Leaving the kitchen and all hope to find a living soul in this deadly silent place, he passed a room where on a bed slowly being overgrown with roses, a very beautiful sleeping girl…

A sleeping beauty, that sadly but probably had to wait for a long time before waking up again… if ever…

The Wandelgek left the eerie corridors and hallways and via the courtyard reached a path that descended downhill towards the forest. Looking back he saw the castle disappear between the trees again…

  … and soon he didn’t see it at all. This part of the forest had been misty and chilly and he himself had been cold and he decided to run down the path to get a bit warmer and after a while stopped, panting a bit and leaning against a hollow tree when suddenly he heard a loud OOEHOEEE, as if someone had been following him, calling for him now, but when he looked up he saw it was an owl in the hollow of the tree that greeted him. Than he realised that he felt a brush of wind stroking his cheeks and he heard birds whistling and bees humming and gathering honey while they flew over a flower field that had been growing on the forest floor where a few sunbeams breaching the canopy, gently touched the floor…

Everything seemed normal again…

Some of these adventures may seem vaguely familiar to you. If so then maybe you’ll remember this story by Charles Perrault:

Sleeping Beauty” (French: La Belle au bois dormant “The Beauty in the sleeping Wood”) by Charles Perrault, or “Little Briar Rose” (German: Dornröschen), is a classic fairy tale which involves a beautiful princess, a sleeping enchantment, and a handsome prince. The version collected by the Brothers Grimm was an orally transmitted version of the originally literary tale published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. This in turn was based on Sun, Moon, and Talia by Italian poet Giambattista Basile (published posthumously in 1634), which was in turn based on one or more folk tales. The earliest known version of the story is found in the narrative Perceforest, composed between 1330 and 1344 and first printed in 1528.

Perrault’s narrative

Perrault’s narrative is written in two parts, which some folklorists believe were originally separate tales, as they were in the Brothers Grimm’s version, and were later joined together by Giambattista Basile and once more by Perrault.

Part one

At the christening of a king and queen’s long-wished-for child, seven good fairies are invited to be godmothers to the infant princess. The fairies attend the banquet at the palace. Each fairy is presented with a golden plate and drinking cups adorned with jewels. Soon after, an old fairy enters the palace and is seated with a plate of fine china and a crystal drinking glass. This old fairy is overlooked because she has been within a tower for many years and everyone had believed her to be deceased. Six of the other seven fairies then offer their gifts of beauty, wit, grace, dance, song, and goodness to the infant princess. The evil fairy is very angry about having been forgotten, and as her gift, enchants the infant princess so that she will one day prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die. The seventh fairy, who hasn’t yet given her gift, attempts to reverse the evil fairy’s curse. However, she can only do so partially. Instead of dying, the Princess will fall into a deep sleep for 100 years and be awakened by a kiss from a king’s son.

The King orders that every spindle and spinning wheel in the kingdom to be destroyed, to try to save his daughter from the terrible curse. Fifteen or sixteen years pass and one day, when the king and queen are away, the Princess wanders through the palace rooms and comes upon an old woman, spinning with her spindle. The princess, who has never seen anyone spin before, asks the old woman if she can try the spinning wheel. The curse is fulfilled as the princess pricks her finger on the spindle and instantly falls into a deep sleep. The old woman cries for help and attempts are made to revive the princess. The king attributes this to fate and has the Princess carried to the finest room in the palace and placed upon a bed of gold and silver embroidered fabric. The king and queen kiss their daughter goodbye and depart, proclaiming the entrance to be forbidden. The good fairy who altered the evil prophecy is summoned. Having great powers of foresight, the fairy sees that the Princess will awaken to distress when she finds herself alone, so the fairy puts everyone in the castle to sleep. The fairy also summons a forest of trees, brambles and thorns that spring up around the castle, shielding it from the outside world and preventing anyone from disturbing the Princess.

A hundred years pass and a prince from another family spies the hidden castle during a hunting expedition. His attendants tell him differing stories regarding the castle until an old man recounts his father’s words: within the castle lies a beautiful princess who is doomed to sleep for a hundred years until a king’s son comes and awakens her. The prince then braves the tall trees, brambles and thorns which part at his approach, and enters the castle. He passes the sleeping castle folk and comes across the chamber where the Princess lies asleep on the bed. Struck by the radiant beauty before him, he falls on his knees before her. The enchantment comes to an end by a kiss and the princess awakens and converses with the prince for a long time. Meanwhile, the rest of the castle awakens and go about their business. The prince and princess are later married by the chaplain in the castle chapel.

Part two

After wedding the Princess in secret, the Prince continues to visit her and she bears him two children, Aurore (Dawn) and Jour (Day), unbeknown to his mother, who is of an ogre lineage. When the time comes for the Prince to ascend the throne, he brings his wife, children, and the talabutte (“Count of the Mount”).

The Ogress Queen Mother sends the young Queen and the children to a house secluded in the woods and directs her cook to prepare the boy with Sauce Robert for dinner. The kind-hearted cook substitutes a lamb for the boy, which satisfies the Queen Mother. She then demands the girl but the cook this time substitutes a young goat, which also satisfies the Queen Mother. When the Ogress demands that he serve up the young Queen, the latter offers to slit her throat so that she may join the children that she imagines are dead. While the Queen Mother is satisfied with a hind prepared with Sauce Robert in place of the young Queen, there is a tearful secret reunion of the Queen and her children. However, the Queen Mother soon discovers the cook’s trick and she prepares a tub in the courtyard filled with vipers and other noxious creatures. The King returns in the nick of time and the Ogress, her true nature having been exposed, throws herself into the tub and is fully consumed. The King, young Queen, and children then live happily ever after.

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