Return to calein day main page

caelin day
return to homepage of john Stevenson

The Sleeping Princess


Once upon a time there was a Queen who had a beautiful baby daughter. She
asked all the fairies in the kingdom to the christening, but unfortunately
forgot to invite one of them, who was a bit of a witch as well. She came
anyway, but as she passed the baby's cradle, she said:
"When you are sixteen, you will injure yourself with a spindle and die!"
"Oh, no!" screamed the Queen in horror. A good fairy quickly chanted a
magic spell to change the curse. When she hurt herself, the girl would fall
into a very deep sleep instead of dying.
The years went by, the little Princess grew and became the most beautiful
girl in the whole kingdom. Her mother was always very careful to keep her away
from spindles, but the Princess, on her sixteenth birthday, as she wandered
through the castle, came into a room where an old servant was spinning.
"What are you doing?" she asked the servant.
"I'm spinning. Haven't you seen a spindle before?"
"No. Let me see it!" The servant handed the girl the spindle ... and she
pricked herself with it and. with a sigh, dropped to the floor.
The terrified old woman hurried to tell the Queen. Beside herself with
anguish, the Queen did her best to awaken her daughter but in vain. The court
doctors and wizards were called, but there was nothing they could do. The girl
could not be wakened from her deep sleep. The good fairy who managed to avoid
the worst of the curse came too, and the Queen said to her,
"When will my daughter waken?"
"I don't know," the fairy admitted sadly.
"In a year's time, ten years or twenty?" the Queen went on.
"Maybe in a hundred years' time. Who knows?" said the fairy.
"Oh! What would make her waken?" asked the Queen weeplng.
"Love," replied the fairy. "If a man of pure heart were to fall in love
with her, that would bring her back to life!"
"How can a man fall in love with a sleeping girl?" sobbed the Queen, and so
heart-broken was she that, a few days later, she died. The sleeping Princess
was taken to her room and laid on the bed surrounded by garlands of flowers.
She was so beautiful, with a sweet face, not like those of the dead, but pink
like those who are sleeping peacefully. The good fairy said to herself,
"When she wakens, who is she going to see around her? Strange faces and
people she doesn't know? I can never let that happen. It would be too painful
for this unfortunate girl."
So the fairy cast a spell; and everyone that lived in the castle -
soldiers, ministers, guards, servants, ladies, pages, cooks, maids and
knights - all fell into a deep sleep, wherever they were at that very moment.
"Now," thought the fairy, "when the Princess wakes up, they too will
awaken, and life will go on from there." And she left the castle, now wrapped
in silence. Not a sound was to be heard, nothing moved except for the clocks,
but when they too ran down, they stopped, and time stopped with them. Not even
the faintest rustle was to be heard, only the wind whistling round the
turrets, not a single voice, only the cry of birds.
The years sped past. In the castle grounds, the trees grew tall. The bushes
became thick and straggling, the grass invaded the courtyards and the creepers
spread up the walls. In a hundred years, a dense forest grew up.
Now, it so happened that a Prince arrived in these parts. He was the son of
a king in a country close by. Young, handsome and melancholy, he sought in
solitude everything he could not find in the company of other men: serenity,
sincerity and purity. Wandering on his trusty steed he arrived, one day, at
the dark forest. Being adventurous, he decided to explore it. He made his way
through slowly and with a struggle, for the trees and bushes grew in a thick
tangle. A few hours later, now losing heart, he was about to turn his horse
and go back when he thought he could see something through the trees . . . He
pushed back the branches . . . Wonder of wonders! There in front of him stood
a castle with high towers. The young man stood stock still in amazement,
"I wonder who this castle belongs to?" he thought.
The young Prince rode on towards the castle. The drawbridge was down and,
holding his horse by the reins, he crossed over it. Immediately he saw the
inhabitants draped all over the steps, the halls and courtyards, and said to
"Good heavens! They're dead!" But in a moment, he realised that they were
sound asleep. "Wake up! Wake up!" he shouted, but nobody moved. Still
thoroughly astonished, he went into the castle and again discovered more
people, lying fast asleep on the floor. As though led by a hand in the
complete silence, the Prince finally reached the room where the beautiful
Princess lay fast asleep. For a long time he stood gazing at her face, so full
of serenity, so peaceful, lovely and pure, and he felt spring to his heart
that love he had always been searching for and never found. Overcome by
emotion, he went close, lifted the girl's little white hand and gently kissed
it . . .
At that kiss, the prlncess qulckly opened her eyes, and wakening from her
long long sleep, seeing the Prince beside her, murmured:
"Oh, you have come at last! I was waiting for you in my dream. I've waited
so long!"
Just then, the spell was broken. The Princess rose to her feet, holding out
her hand to the Prince. And the whole castle woke up too. Everybody rose to
their feet and they all stared round in amazement, wondering what had
happened. When they finally realised, they rushed to the Princess, more
beautiful and happier then ever.
A few days later, the castle that only a short time before had lain in
silence, now rang with the sound of singing, music and happy laughter at the
great party given in honour of the Prince and Princess, who were getting
married. They lived happily ever after, as they always do in fairy tales, not
quite so often, however, in real life.

This website is owned and maintained by John Stevenson. Copyright ©1998 - ©2012 All rights reserved - (page issue 01April2012)