Once upon a time there lived a
king and queen who had no children; and this they lamented very
much. But one day, as the queen was walking by the side of the
river, a little fish lifted its head out of the water, and said,
"Your wish shall be fulfilled, and you shall soon have a daughter."
What the little fish had foretold soon came to pass; and the Queen
had a little girl who was so very beautiful that the king could not
cease looking on her for joy, and determined to hold a great feast.
So he invited not only his relations, friends, and neighbours, but
also all the fairies, that they might be kind and good to his little
daughter. Now there were thirteen fairies in his kingdom, and he had
only twelve golden dishes for them to eat out of, so that he was
obliged to leave one of the fairies without an invitation. The rest
came, and after the feast was over they gave all their best gifts to
the little princess; one gave her virtue, another beauty,
another riches, and so on till she had all that was excellent in the
world. When eleven had done blessing her, the thirteenth, who had
not been invited, and was very angry on that account, came in,
and determined to take her revenge. So she cried out, "The King's
daughter shall in her fifteenth year be wounded by a spindle, and
fall down dead." Then the twelfth, who had not yet given her gift,
came forward and said that the bad wish must be fulfilled, but that
she could soften it, and that the king's daughter should not die,
but fall asleep for a hundred years.
But the king hoped to save his dear child from the threatened evil,
and ordered that all the spindles in the kingdom should be bought up
and destroyed. All the fairies' gifts were in the meantime
fulfilled; for the princess was so beautiful, and well-behaved, and
amiable, and wise, that everyone who knew her loved her. Now it
happened that on the very day she was fifteen years old the king and
queen were not at home, and she was left alone in the palace. So she
roved about by herself, and poked at all the rooms and chambers,
till at last she came to an old tower, to which there was a narrow
staircase ending with a little door. In the door there was a golden
key, and when she turned it the door sprang open, and there sat an
old lady spinning away very busily.
"Why, how now, good mother," said the princess, "what are you doing
"Spinning," said the old lady, and nodded her head.
"How prettily that little thing turns round!" said the princess, and
took the spindle and began to spin. But scarcely had she touched it
before the prophecy was fulfilled, and she fell down, as if
lifeless, on the ground.
However, she was not dead, but had only fallen into a deep sleep;
and the king and queen, who just then came home, and all their
court, fell asleep too, and the horses slept in the stables, and the
dogs in the court, the pigeons on the house-top, and the flies on
the walls. Even the fire on the hearth left off blazing, and went to
sleep; and the meat that was roasting stood still; and the cook, who
was at that moment pulling the kitchen-boy by the hair to give him a
box on the ear for something he had done amiss, let him go, and both
fell asleep; and so everything stood still, and slept soundly.
A large hedge of thorns soon grew around the palace, and every year
it became higher and thicker, till at last the whole place was
surrounded and hidden, so that not even the roof or the chimneys
could be seen. But there went a report, through all the land, of the
beautiful sleeping Briar Rose (for so was the king's daughter
called) so that from time to time several kings' sons came, and
tried to break through the thicket into the palace. This they could
never do; for the thorns and bushes laid hold of them as it were
with hands, and there they stuck fast and died miserably.
After many years came yet another king's son into that land, and an
old man told him the story of the thicket of thorns, and how a
beautiful palace stood behind it, in which was a wondrous princess,
called Briar Rose, asleep with all her court. He told, too, how he
had heard from his grandfather that many, many princes had come, and
had tried to break through the thicket, but had stuck fast and died.
Then the young prince said, "All this shall not frighten me; I will
go and see Briar Rose." The old man tried to dissuade him, but he
persisted in going.
Now that very day were the hundred years completed; and as the
prince came to the thicket he saw nothing but beautiful flowering
shrubs, through which he passed with ease, and they closed after
him, as firm as ever. Then he came at last to the palace, and there
in the court lay the dogs asleep, and the horses in the stables, and
on the roof sat the pigeons fast asleep with their heads under their
wings; and when he came into the palace, the flies slept on the
walls, and the cook in the kitchen was still holding up her hand as
if she would beat the boy, and the maid with her pail in her hand
was going a-milking.
Then he went on still further, and all was so quiet that he could
hear every breath he drew; till at last he came to the old tower and
opened the door of the little room in which Briar Rose was, and
there she lay fast asleep, and looked so beautiful that he could not
turn his eyes away, and he stooped down and gave her a kiss. But the
moment he kissed her she opened her eyes and awoke, and smiled upon
him. For the spell was broken.
Then they went out together, and presently the king and queen also
awoke, and all the court, and they gazed on each other with great
wonder. And the horses got up and shook themselves, and the dogs
jumped about and barked; the pigeons took their heads from under
their wings, and looked around and flew into the fields; the flies
on the walls buzzed; the fire in the kitchen blazed up and cooked
the dinner, and the roast meat turned round again; the cook gave the
boy the box on his ear so that he cried out, and the maid went to
milk the cows. And then was the wedding of the prince and Briar Rose
celebrated, and they lived happily together all their lives long.