Sleeping Beauty

Lang, Andrew, ed. "Sleeping Beauty." The Blue Fairy Book. New York: Dover, 1965. (Originally published 1889.)

Click here to read an annotated version of this tale.

This is Charles Perrault’s version of the tale, who according to Heidi Anne Heiner was the first to use “Sleeping Beauty” as the title. He uses seven (unlike the Grimms twelve) good fairies, the eighth being the uninvited and wicked one. As in other versions, the King bans the use of spindles. Perrault states plainly that the woman who was spinning on the ill-fated day was in fact a good woman who simply had not known about the ban (whereas in some versions it seems that perhaps the old woman was the wicked fairy in disguise). The prince arrives to waken Beauty just as the spell is up, and they are married. This version spends a great deal of time explaining what happened after the marriage. The prince finds it necessary to conceal his marriage from his parents, particularly his mother, who is part Ogress and known to eat children (the prince and Beauty now have two children, named Morning and Day). Years later he makes his marriage known, and the Queen-mother sends Beauty away to a country house so that she may “gratify her horrible longing.” When the Queen-mother sends her clerk of the kitchen to kill and cook Morning, he instead kills a lamb and hides Morning with his wife (same as in “Sun, Moon, and Talia”). About a week later, she wishes to eat Day, and this time the clerk kills and cooks a young goat instead. When the wicked queen desires to eat Beauty, the clerk kills and cooks a deer. She decides she will tell her son that wolves have eaten his wife and children, until one evening she discovers the three still alive in the kitchen clerk’s home! She thus orders Beauty, Morning, Day, the kitchen clerk, and his wife to be thrown into a large tub “filled with toads, vipers, snakes, and all sorts of serpents.” Fortunately, the prince (now king) arrives just in time and the Ogress dives into the horrible tub, rather than explain herself to her son (this part is a little vague). The tale ends with all happy and content.

I highly recommend reading the annotated version of this tale, which I have provided a link to above. The annotations provided are quite insightful and interesting!

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