THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD
HERE were formerly a king and a queen, who were so
sorry that they had no children; so sorry that it cannot
be expressed. They went to all the waters in the world;
vows, pilgrimages, all ways were tried, and all to no
At last, however, the Queen had a daughter. There was
a very fine christening; and the Princess had for her
god-mothers all the fairies they could find in the whole kingdom
(they found seven), that every one of them might
give her a gift, as was the custom of fairies in those days.
By this means the Princess had all the perfections imaginable.
After the ceremonies of the christening were over, all
the company returned to the King's palace, where was
prepared a great feast for the fairies. There was placed
before every one of them a magnificent cover with a case
of massive gold, wherein were a spoon, knife, and fork, all
of pure gold set with diamonds and rubies. But as they
were all sitting down at table they saw come into the hall
a very old fairy, whom they had not invited, because it
was above fifty years since she had been out of a certain
tower, and she was believed to be either dead or enchanted.
The King ordered her a cover, but could not furnish her
with a case of gold as the others, because they had only
seven made for the seven fairies. The old Fairy fancied
she was slighted, and muttered some threats between her
teeth. One of the young fairies who sat by her overheard
how she grumbled; and, judging that she might give the
little Princess some unlucky gift, went, as soon as they
rose from table, and hid herself behind the hangings, that
she might speak last, and repair, as much as she could, the
evil which the old Fairy might intend.
In the meanwhile all the fairies began to give their gifts
to the Princess. The youngest gave her for gift that she
should be the most beautiful person in the world; the
next, that she should have
 the wit of an angel; the third,
that she should have a wonderful grace in everything she
did; the fourth, that she should dance perfectly well; the
fifth, that she should sing like a nightingale; and the
sixth, that she should play all kinds of music to the
The old Fairy's turn coming next, with a head shaking
more with spite than age, she said that the Princess
should have her hand pierced with a spindle and die of
the wound. This terrible gift made the whole company
tremble, and everybody fell a-crying.
At this very instant the young Fairy came out from
behind the hangings, and spake these words aloud:
"Assure yourselves, O King and Queen, that your
daughter shall not die of this disaster. It is true, I have
no power to undo entirely what my elder has done. The
Princess shall indeed pierce her hand with a spindle; but,
instead of dying, she shall only fall into a profound sleep,
which shall last a hundred years, at the expiration of
which a king's son shall come and awake her."
The King, to avoid the misfortune foretold by the old
Fairy, caused immediately proclamation to be made,
whereby everybody was forbidden, on pain of death, to
spin with a distaff and spindle, or to have so much as any
spindle in their houses. About fifteen or sixteen years
after, the King and Queen being gone to one of their
of pleasure, the young Princess happened one day to
divert herself in running up and down the palace; when
going up from one apartment to another, she came into
a little room on the top of the tower, where a good old
woman, alone, was spinning with her spindle. This good
woman had never heard of the King's proclamation
"What are you doing there, goody?" said the Princess.
"I am spinning, my pretty child," said the old woman,
who did not know who she was.
"Ha!" said the Princess, "this is very pretty; how do
you do it? Give it to me, that I may see if I can do so."
She had no sooner taken it into her hand than, whether
being very hasty at it, somewhat unhandy, or that the
decree of the Fairy had so ordained it, it ran into her
hand, and she fell down in a swoon.
The good old woman, not knowing very well what to do
in this affair, cried out for help. People came in from
every quarter in great numbers; they threw water upon
the Princess's face, unlaced her, struck her on the palms
of her hands, and rubbed her temples with
Hungary-water; but nothing would bring her to herself.
And now the King, who came up at the noise, bethought
himself of the prediction of the fairies, and, judging very
well that this must necessarily come to pass, since the
fairies had said it, caused the Princess to be carried into
the finest apartment in his palace, and to be laid upon a
bed all embroidered with gold and silver.
One would have taken her for a little angel, she was so
very beautiful; for her swooning away had not diminished
one bit of her complexion: her cheeks were carnation, and
her lips were coral; indeed her eyes were shut, but she
was heard to breathe softly, which satisfied those about
her that she was not dead. The King commanded that
they should not disturb her, but let her sleep quietly till
her hour of awaking was come.
The good Fairy who had saved her life by condemning
her to sleep a hundred years was in the kingdom of
Matakin, twelve thousand leagues off, when this accident
befell the Princess; but she was instantly informed of it
by a little dwarf, who had boots of seven leagues, that is,
boots with which he could tread over seven leagues of
ground in one stride. The Fairy came away immediately,
and she arrived, about an hour after, in a fiery chariot
drawn by dragons.
The King handed her out of the chariot, and she
every-  thing he had done, but as she had very great
foresight, she thought when the Princess should awake
she might not know what to do with herself, being all
alone in this old palace; and this was what she did: she
touched with her wand everything in the palace (except
the King and Queen)—governesses, maids of honour, ladies
of the bedchamber, gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks,
undercooks, scullions, guards, with their beefeaters,
pages, footmen; she likewise touched all the horses which
were in the stables, as well pads as others, the great dogs
in the outward court and pretty little Mopsey too, the
Princess's little spaniel, which lay by her on the bed.
Immediately upon her touching them they all fell
asleep, that they might not awake before their mistress,
and that they might be ready to wait upon her when she
wanted them. The very spits at the fire, as full as they
could hold of partridges and pheasants, did fall asleep
also. All this was done in a moment. Fairies are not long
in doing their business.
And now the King and the Queen, having kissed their
dear child without waking her, went out of the palace and
put forth a proclamation that nobody should dare to
come near it.
This, however, was not necessary, for in a quarter of an
hour's time there grew up all round about the park such
a vast number of trees, great and small, bushes and
brambles, twining one within another, that neither man
nor beast could pass through; so that nothing could be
seen but the very top of the towers of the palace; and
that, too, not unless it was a good way off. Nobody
doubted but the Fairy gave herein a very extraordinary
sample of her art, that the Princess, while she continued
sleeping, might have nothing to fear from any curious
When a hundred years were gone and passed the son of
the King then reigning, and who was of another family
from that of the sleeping Princess, being gone a-hunting
on that side of the country, asked:
What those towers were which he saw in the middle of
a great thick wood?
Everyone answered according as they had heard. Some
That it was a ruinous old castle, haunted by spirits;
Others, That all the sorcerers and witches of the
country kept there their sabbath or night's meeting.
The common opinion was: That an ogre lived there, and
that he carried thither all the little children he could
catch, that he might
 eat them up at his leisure, without
anybody being able to follow him, as having himself only
the power to pass through the wood.
The Prince was at a stand, not knowing what to
believe, when a very aged countryman spake to him thus:
"May it please your royal highness, it is now about
fifty years since I heard from my father, who heard my
grandfather say, that there was then in this castle a
princess, the most beautiful was ever seen; that she must
sleep there a hundred years, and should be waked by a
king's son, for whom she was reserved."
The young Prince was all on fire at these words,
believing, without weighing the matter, that he could put
an end to this rare adventure; and, pushed on by love and
honour, resolved that moment to look into it.
Scarce had he advanced toward the wood when all the
great trees, the bushes, and brambles gave way of themselves
to let him pass through; he walked up to the castle
which he saw at the end of a large avenue which he went
into; and what a little surprised him was that he saw
none of his people could follow him, because the trees
closed again as soon as he had passed through them.
However, he did not cease from continuing his way; a
young and amorous prince is always valiant.
He came into a spacious outward court, where everything
he saw might have frozen up the most fearless person
with horror. There reigned over all a most frightful
silence; the image of death everywhere showed itself, and
there was nothing to be seen but stretched-out bodies of
men and animals, all seeming to be dead. He, however,
very well knew, by the ruby faces and pimpled noses of
the beefeaters, that they were only asleep; and their
goblets, wherein still remained some drops of wine, showed
plainly that they fell asleep in their cups.
He then crossed a court paved with marble, went up
 and came into the guard chamber, where guards
were standing in their ranks, with their muskets upon
their shoulders, and snoring as loud as they could. After
that he went through several rooms full of gentlemen and
ladies, all asleep, some standing, others sitting. At last
he came into a chamber all gilded with gold, where he
saw upon a bed, the curtains of which were all open, the
finest sight was ever beheld—a princess, who appeared
to be about fifteen or sixteen years of age, and whose
bright and, in a manner, resplendent beauty, had somewhat
in it divine. He approached with trembling and
admiration, and fell down before her upon his knees.
And now, as the enchantment was at an end, the
Princess awaked, and looking on him with eyes more tender
than the first view might seem to admit of:
"Is it you, my Prince?" said she to him.
waited a long while."
The Prince, charmed with these words, and much more
with the manner in which they were spoken, knew not
how to show his joy and gratitude; he assured her that he
loved her better than he did himself; their discourse was
not well connected, they did weep more than talk—little
eloquence, a great deal of love. He was more at a loss
than she, and we need not wonder at it: she had time to
think on what to say to him; for it is very probable
(though history mentions nothing of it) that the good
Fairy, during so long a sleep, had given her very agreeable
dreams. In short, they talked four hours together, and
yet they said not half what they had to say.
In the meanwhile all the palace awaked; everyone
thought upon their particular business, and as all of them
were not in love they were ready to die for hunger. The
chief lady of honour, being as sharp set as other folks,
grew very impatient, and told the Princess aloud that
supper was served up. The Prince helped the Princess to
rise; she was entirely dressed, and very magnificently, but
his royal highness took care not to tell her that she was
dressed like his great-grandmother, and had a point band
peeping over a high collar; she looked not a bit the less charming
and beautiful for all that.
They went into the great hall of looking-glasses, where
they supped, and were served by the Princess's officers;
the violins and hautboys played old tunes, but very
excellent, though it was now above a hundred years since
they had played; and after supper, without losing any
time, the lord almoner married them in the
 chapel of the
castle, and the chief lady of honour drew the curtains.
They had but very little sleep—the Princess had no
occasion; and the Prince left her next morning to return
into the city, where his father must needs have been in pain
for him. The Prince told him:
That he lost his way in the forest as he was hunting,
and that he had lain in the cottage of a charcoal-burner,
who gave him cheese and brown bread.
The King, his father, who was a good man, believed
him; but his mother could not be persuaded it was true;
and seeing that he went almost every day a-hunting, and
that he always had some excuse ready for so doing, though
he had lain out three or four nights together, she began
to suspect that he was married, for he lived with the
Princess above two whole years, and had by her two
children, the eldest of which, who was a daughter, was named
Morning, and the youngest, who was a son, they called
Day, because he was a great deal handsomer and more
beautiful than his sister.
The Queen spoke several times to her son, to inform
herself after what manner he did pass his time, and that
in this he ought in duty to satisfy her. But he never
dared to trust her with his secret; he feared her, though
he loved her, for she was of the race of the Ogres, and the
King would never have married her had it not been for
her vast riches; it was even whispered about the Court
that she had Ogreish inclinations, and that, whenever she
saw little children passing by, she had all the difficulty in
the world to avoid falling upon them. And so the Prince
would never tell her one word.
But when the King was dead, which happened about
two years afterwards, and he saw himself lord and master,
he openly declared his marriage; and he went in great
ceremony to conduct his Queen to the palace. They made
a magnificent entry into the capital city, she riding
between her two children.
Soon after the King went to make war with the Emperor
Contalabutte, his neighbour. He left the government
of the kingdom to the Queen his mother, and
earnestly recommended to her care his wife and children.
He was obliged to continue his expedition all the summer,
and as soon as he departed the Queen-mother sent her
daughter-in-law to a country house among the woods,
that she might with the more ease gratify her horrible
Some few days afterward she went thither herself, and
said to her clerk of the kitchen:
 "I have a mind to eat little Morning for my dinner to-morrow."
"Ah! madam," cried the clerk of the kitchen.
"I will have it so," replied the Queen (and this she
spoke in the tone of an Ogress who had a strong desire to
eat fresh meat), "and will eat her with a sauce Robert."
The poor man, knowing very well that he must not play
tricks with Ogresses, took his great knife and went up into
little Morning's chamber. She was then four years old,
and came up to him jumping and laughing, to take him
about the neck, and ask him for some sugar-candy. Upon
which he began to weep, the great knife fell out of his
hand, and he went into the back yard, and killed a little
lamb, and dressed it with such good sauce that his
mistress assured him that she had never eaten anything so
good in her life. He had at the same time taken up little
Morning, and carried her to his wife, to conceal her in the
lodging he had at the bottom of the courtyard.
About eight days afterward the wicked Queen said to
the clerk of the kitchen, "I will sup on little Day."
He answered not a word, being resolved to cheat her as
he had done before. He went to find out little Day, and
saw him with a little foil in his hand, with which he was
fencing with a great monkey, the child being then only
three years of age. He took him up in his arms and carried
him to his wife, that she might conceal him in her chamber
along with his sister, and in the room
 of little Day cooked
up a young kid, very tender, which the Ogress found to be
This was hitherto all mighty well; but one evening this
wicked Queen said to her clerk of the kitchen:
"I will eat the Queen with the same sauce I had with
It was now that the poor clerk of the kitchen despaired
of being able to deceive her. The young Queen was turned
of twenty, not reckoning the hundred years she had been
asleep; and how to find in the yard a beast so firm was
what puzzled him. He took then a resolution, that he
might save his own life, to cut the Queen's throat; and
going up into her chamber, with intent to do it at once, he
put himself into as great fury as he could possibly, and
came into the young Queen's room with his dagger in his
hand. He would not, however, surprise her, but told her,
with a great deal of respect, the orders he had received
from the Queen-mother.
"Do it; do it" (said she, stretching out her neck).
"Execute your orders, and then I shall go and see my
children, my poor children, whom I so much and so
For she thought them dead ever since they had been
taken away without her knowledge.
"No, no, madam" (cried the poor clerk of the kitchen,
all in tears); "you shall not die, and yet you shall see your
children again; but then you must go home with me to
my lodgings, where I have concealed them, and I shall
deceive the Queen once more, by giving her in your stead
a young hind."
Upon this he forthwith conducted her to his chamber,
where, leaving her to embrace her children, and cry along
with them, he went and dressed a young hind, which the
Queen had for her supper, and devoured it with the same
appetite as if it had been the young Queen. Exceedingly
was she delighted with her cruelty, and she had invented
a story to tell the King, at his return, how the mad
wolves had eaten up the Queen his wife and her two
One evening, as she was, according to her custom,
rambling round about the courts and yards of the palace
to see if she could smell any fresh meat, she heard, in a
ground room, little Day crying, for his mamma was going
to whip him, because he had been naughty; and she
heard, at the same time, little Morning begging pardon
for her brother.
The Ogress presently knew the voice of the Queen and
her children, and being quite mad that she had been thus
 commanded next morning, by break of day
(with a most horrible voice, which made everybody tremble),
that they should bring into the middle of the great
court a large tub, which she caused to be filled with toads,
vipers, snakes, and all sorts of serpents, in order to have
thrown into it the Queen and her children, the clerk of the
kitchen, his wife and maid; all whom she had given orders
should be brought thither with their hands tied behind
They were brought out accordingly, and the executioners
were just going to throw them into the tub, when the
King (who was not so soon expected) entered the court on
horseback (for he came post) and asked, with the utmost
astonishment, what was the meaning of that horrible
No one dared to tell him, when the Ogress, all enraged
to see what had happened, threw herself head foremost
into the tub, and was instantly devoured by the ugly
creatures she had ordered to be thrown into it for others.
The King could not but be very sorry, for she was his
mother; but he soon comforted himself with his beautiful
wife and his pretty children.