THE SLEEPING PRINCESS
C. S. B. A tale that has been told in varying forms by nearly every race to typify the sleep of nature during the winter, and its awakening to life and bloom at the touch of spring.
 LONG, long ago, there lived a king and queen who had a
great deal to make them happy—waiting servants, and
lands, and gold, and a fine castle—but they had no
little child, which was what they both wanted most of
all. At last there came to them a baby girl, and the
king ordered a fine party the day she was christened.
Not only did he invite all his relations and friends,
but the fairies, also, who would be able to give the
little princess good gifts.
Now, there were thirteen fairies, and the king had just
twelve gold plates—fairies always use gold plates when
they dine, you know—so the thirteenth fairy was not
asked to the party; and, oh, she was very angry! When
the party was nearly over, and all the relatives and
friends had piled a table with silver spoons, and gold
rings, and jeweled robes, and diamond mugs for the baby
princess, the twelve fairies stood in the magic circle
about her cradle to wish her good wishes.
"She shall be good," said the first fairy.
"She shall be rich," said the second fairy.
 "She shall be very beautiful," said the third
fairy; and so they went on to the eleventh fairy,
when—slam, bang—the castle door burst open, and in came
the angry thirteenth fairy, who had changed herself to
an old woman, in a long, red cloak. She never stopped
until she reached the princess' cradle, and she said,
in a terrible voice: "On the day she is ten years old
the princess shall prick her finger with a spindle, and
Then every one was frightened, but the twelfth fairy,
who had not wished her wish yet, stepped up and said,
in a soft voice: "The princess shall not die. She
shall fall asleep for a hundred years."
Well, the baby princess grew to be a sweet little
girl-princess, who was good, and kind, and very
beautiful. The king ordered all the spindles in the
kingdom burned; and, after a while, no one remembered
the wicked fairy's wish. But the day she was ten years
old the little princess wandered off by herself until
she came to a high tower in the castle, where she had
never been before. She climbed the dusty stairs, and
she came to a little door. In the lock was a rusty
key, and as she turned it the door sprang open, and
there in the room sat an old woman spinning flax.
"Good day, old woman," said the princess. "What are
"I am spinning flax, your highness," said the old
"Oh, may I try, please?" said the princess. "This is
my birthday, you know, and you must not say 'no' to
So the princess took the spindle from the old woman's
hand and started spinning, but before the wheel had
turned twice she pricked her finger and the wicked
fairy's wish came true.
 The little princess fell upon the floor, and her
blue eyes closed tight. The king and queen slept upon
their thrones below. The horses in the stable, the
stable boys, the maids, even the flies on the wall
slept. The pigeons in the courtyard tucked their heads
under their wings and closed their eyes. The fire in
the kitchen flickered, and then went out. The winds in
the trees were still, not a leaf moved, and a thick
hedge of thorns grew up higher and higher, until you
could not see the castle at all.
So they slept for years and years. The young people in
the kingdom grew old, and only the very oldest
grandfathers remembered about the little sleeping
But one morning there came a prince through the woods.
His great-great-grandfather had told him about the
strange castle where every one was asleep, and he
wanted to find it. Other princes had tried, and had
failed; but the morning this prince started out in was
the last day of an hundred years, and the hedge of
thorns opened wide for him, like a gate with flowers
growing on either side.
It was very old and still in the courtyard. The
watchdogs were asleep with the weeds and grasses
growing away up over their heads. The pigeons still
sat on the roof with their heads tucked under their
wings. Softly the prince went through the kitchen,
where the cook stood sleeping with a roast of meat in
his hand; through the throne room; and he wandered
about until he came to the tower where the little
She lay just as she had fallen asleep a hundred years
before. Her cheeks were warm and pink; her long,
golden hair had grown until it covered her like a
yel-  low cloak; her little hands were folded. She
looked so sweet that the prince stooped and kissed
her—and the little princess opened her eyes and smiled!
The prince had broken the wicked fairy's enchantment,
and he took the little princess by the hand and they
went down the stairs together. The king and queen
awoke, and rubbed their eyes. The dogs began to bark.
The pigeons flew—cooing—here and there. The fire
crackled merrily again, and the whole castle was awake