THE STORY OF
The Sleeping Beauty The Ninth Captain's Tale (1001 Nights) (French: La Belle au bois dormant, "The Beauty sleeping in the wood") by Charles Perrault or Little Briar Rose (German: Dornröschen) by the Brothers Grimm is a classic fairytale involving a beautiful princess, enchantment of sleep, and a handsome prince. Written as an original literary tale, it was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697.
In 1959 the story was made into a Walt Disney animated film.
- 1 Perrault's narrative
- 2 Sources
- 3 Variants
- 4 Myth themes
- 5 Modern retellings
- 6 Sleeping Beauty in music
- 7 Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty
- 8 Uses of Sleeping Beauty
- 9 Gallery
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The basic elements of Perrault's narrative are in two parts. Some folklorists believe that they were originally separate tales, as they became afterward in the Grimms' version, and were joined together by Basile, and Perrault following him.
Sleeping Beauty is shown a spindle by the old woman. "Sleeping Beauty", by Alexander Zick (1845–1907)
At the christening of a king and queen's long-wished-for child, seven fairies are invited to be godmothers to the infant princess. At the banquet back at the palace, the fairies seat themselves with a golden casket containing golden jeweled utensils laid before them. However, a wicked fairy who was overlooked, having been within a certain tower for many years and thought to be either dead or enchanted enters and is offered a seating, but not a golden casket since only seven were made. The fairies then offer their gifts of beauty, wit, grace, dance, song and ability of musical instruments. The old fairy then places the princess under an enchantment as her gift: the princess will prick her hand on a spindle and die. One last fairy has yet to give her gift and uses it to partially reverse the wicked fairy's curse, proclaiming that the princess will instead fall into a deep sleep for 100 years and be awoken by a king's son.
The king forbids spinning on spinning-wheels or spindles, or the possession of one, throughout the kingdom, upon pain of death. When the princess is fifteen, her parents are away on pleasure bent and, she wanders through the palace rooms going up and down and then chances upon an old woman who is spinning with her distaff in the garret of a tower and had not heard of the king's decree against spinning wheels. The princess asks to try the unfamiliar task and the inevitable happens: the curse is fulfilled. The old woman cries for help and attempts are made to revive her, but to no avail. The king attributes this to fate and has the princess carried to the finest room in the palace and placed upon a bed of gold-and-silver-embroidered fabric. The good fairy who altered the evil prophecy is summoned by a dwarf wearing seven-league boots and returns in a chariot of fire drawn by dragons. Having great powers of foresight, the good fairy sees that the princess will be distressed to find herself alone and so puts everyone in the castle to sleep. The king and queen kiss their daughter goodbye and depart, proclaiming the entrance to be forbidden. The good fairy's magic also summons a forest of trees, brambles and thorns that spring up around the castle, shielding it from the outside world and preventing anyone from disturbing the princess.
A hundred years pass and a prince from another family spies the hidden castle during a hunting expedition. His attendants tell him differing stories regarding the happenings in the castle until an old man recounts his father's words: within the castle lies a beautiful princess who is doomed to sleep for a hundred years, whereupon a king's son is to come and awaken her. The prince then braves the tall trees, brambles and thorns which part at his approach, and enters the castle. He passes the sleeping castle folk and comes across the chamber where the princess lies asleep on the bed. Trembling at the radiant beauty before him, he falls on his knees before her. The enchantment comes to an end and the princess awakens and converses with the prince for a long time. Meanwhile, the rest of the castle awakes and go about their business. The prince and princess head over to the hall of mirrors to dine and are later married by the chaplain in the castle chapel.
After having been secretly wed by the reawakened Royal almoner, the Prince continued to visit the Princess, who bore him two children, L'Aurore (Dawn) and Le Jour (Day), which he kept secret from his step-mother, who was of an ogre lineage. Once he had ascended the throne, he brought his wife and the talabutte ("Count of the Mount").
The Ogress Queen Mother sent the young Queen and the children to a house secluded in the woods, and directed her cook there to prepare the boy for her dinner, with a sauce Robert. The humane cook substituted a lamb, which satisfied the Queen Mother, who then demanded the girl, but was satisfied with a young goat prepared in the same excellent sauce. When the Ogress demanded that he serve up the young Queen, the latter offered her throat to be slit, so that she might join the children she imagined were dead. There was a tearful secret reunion in the cook's little house, while the Queen Mother was satisfied with a hind prepared with sauce Robert. Soon she discovered the trick and prepared a tub in the courtyard filled with vipers and other noxious creatures. The King returned in the nick of time and the Ogress, being discovered, threw herself into the pit she had prepared and was consumed, and everyone else lived happily ever after.
An older image of the sleeping princess: Brünnhilde, surrounded by magical fire rather than roses (illustration by Arthur Rackham toRichard Wagner's Die Walküre
Perrault transformed the tone of Basile's "Sole, Luna, e Talia". Beside differences in tone, the most notable differences in the plot is that, in Basile's version, the sleep did not stem from a curse, but was prophesied; that the king did not wake Talia from the sleep with a kiss, but raped her, and when she gave birth to two children, one sucked on her finger, drawing out the piece of flax that had put her to sleep, which woke her; and that the woman who resented her and tried to eat her and her children was not the king's mother but his jealous wife. The mother-in-law's jealousy is less motivated, although common in fairy tales.
There are earlier elements that contributed to the tale, in the medieval courtly romance Perceforest (published in 1528), in which a princess named Zellandine falls in love with a man named Troylus. Her father sends him to perform tasks to prove himself worthy of her, and while he is gone, Zellandine falls into an enchanted sleep. Troylus finds her and impregnates her in her sleep; when their child is born, he draws from her finger the flax that caused her sleep. She realizes from the ring he left her that the father was Troylus; he returns after his adventures to marry her.
Earlier influences come from the story of the sleeping Brynhild in the Volsunga saga and the tribulations of saintly female martyrs in early Christian hagiography conventions. It was, in fact, the existence of Brynhild that persuaded the Brothers Grimm to include the story in later editions of their work rather than eliminate it, as they did to other works they deemed to be purely French, stemming from Perrault's work.
The second half, in which the princess and her children are almost put to death, but hidden instead, may have been influenced by Genevieve of Brabant.
This fairy tale is classified as Aarne-Thompson type 410.
The princess's name has been unstable. In Sun, Moon, and Talia, she is named Talia ("Sun" and "Moon" being her twin children). Perrault removed this, leaving her anonymous, although naming her daughter "L'Aurore". The Brothers Grimm named her "Briar Rose" in their 1812 collection. This transfer was taken up by Disney in the film, which also called her Aurora. John Stejean named her "Rosebud" in TeleStory Presents.
The Brothers Grimm included a variant, Little Briar Rose, in their collection (1812). It truncates the story as Perrault and Basile told it to the ending now generally known: the arrival of the prince concludes the tale. Some translations of the Grimm tale give the princess the name Rosamond. The brothers considered rejecting the story on the grounds that it was derived from Perrault's version, but the presence of the Brynhild tale convinced them to include it as an authentically German tale. Still, it is the only known German variant of the tale, and the influence of Perrault is almost certain.
The Brothers Grimm also included, in the first edition of their tales, a fragmentary fairy tale, The Evil Mother-in-Law. This began with the heroine married and the mother of two children, as in the second part of Perrault's tale, and her mother-in-law attempted to eat first the children and then the heroine. Unlike Perrault's version, the heroine herself suggested an animal be substituted in the dish, and the fragment ends with the heroine's worry that she can not keep her children from crying, and so from coming to the attention of the mother-in-law. Like many German tales showing French influence, it appeared in no subsequent edition.
Italo Calvino included a variant in Italian Folktales. The cause of her sleep is an ill-advised wish by her mother: she would not care if her daughter died of pricking her finger at fifteen, if only she had a daughter. As in Pentamerone, she wakes after the prince rapes her in her sleep, and her children are born and one sucks on her finger, pulling out the prick that had put her to sleep. He preserves that the woman who tries to kill the children is the king's mother, not his wife, but adds that she does not want to eat them herself but serves them to the king. His version came from Calabria, but he noted that all Italian versions closely followed Basile's.
Besides Sun, Moon, and Talia, Basile included another variant of this Aarne-Thompson type, The Young Slave. The Grimms also included a second, more distantly related one, The Glass Coffin.
Joseph Jacobs noted the figure of the Sleeping Beauty was in common between this tale and the Gypsy tale The King of England and his Three Sons, in his More English Fairy Tales.
The hostility of the king's mother to his new bride is repeated in the fairy tale The Six Swans, and also features The Twelve Wild Ducks, where she is modified to be the king's stepmother, but these tales omit the cannibalism.
Some folklorists have analyzed Sleeping Beauty as indicating the replacement of the lunar year (with its thirteen months, symbolically depicted by the full thirteen fairies) by the solar year (which has twelve, symbolically the invited fairies). This, however, founders on the issue that only in the Grimms' tale is the wicked fairy the thirteenth fairy; in Perrault's, she is the eighth. The basic elements of the story can also be interpreted as a nature allegory: the Princess represents Nature, the Wicked Fairy is Winter, who puts the Court to sleep with pricks of frost until the Prince (Spring) cuts away the brambles with his sword (a sunbeam) to allow the sun to awaken sleeping Nature.
Among familiar themes and elements in Perrault's tale:
- the Wished-for Child
- the Accursed Gift
- the Inevitable Fate
- the Spinner
- the Heroic Quest
- the Ogre Stepmother
- the Salvation through a Redemptor. Slumber as metaphor for sleeping death as though by sin
- the Substituted Victim
Uses of Sleeping Beauty
- Freudian psychologists, encouraged by Bruno Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment, have found rich materials to analyze in Sleeping Beauty as a case history of latent female sexuality and a prescription for the passive socialization of those young women who were not destined for work.
- Terry Pratchett refers to several fairy tales in his Discworld series, especially in reference to witches who try to control the narrative potential of their world. In Wyrd Sisters the Lancre witches draw on the influence of Black Aliss, who moved a castle and its inhabitants one hundred years into the future, when Granny Weatherwax transports her own native kingdom seventeen years ahead to allow the proper heir to the usurped throne to reach adulthood abroad without having to wait. Later, in Witches Abroad, the same coven comes across a castle that has fallen under a curse that causes everyone to slumber while the forest grows into the courtyard; Granny explains that it has happened dozens of times. The servants wake up angry and determined to chase the witches away after they rouse the princess, not with a kiss but by pitching the spinning wheel out the window.
- Anne Rice's erotic novel, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, written under the name of A. N. Roquelaure, is loosely based on this fairy tale.
- In the Mike, Lu & Og episode Sleeping Ugly Queeks accidentally awakens an ugly hag named Miss Hortense with a kiss.
- In Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, Sleeping Beauty is depicted as a Hispanic princess named Rosita. She was under the spell for a century.
- Caitlín R. Kiernan's "Glass Coffin" is a retelling of "Sleeping Beauty."
- The Sleeping Beauty problem is the name of a philosophical thought-experiment.
- Joss Whedon's series Dollhouse uses this story as an extended metaphor in the aptly named episode "Briar Rose", equating it both to the brainwashed members of the Dollhouse and a young character dealing with the after-effects of sexual abuse.
This section needs additional citations for verification.(February 2011)
Illustration to Tennyson's 1830 poem,Sleeping Beauty
Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote two poems based on Sleeping Beauty: "Sleeping Beauty" in 1830, and an expanded, rewritten version, "The Day-Dream", in 1842.
Sleeping Beauty has been popular for many fairytale fantasy retellings. These include Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters novel The Gates of Sleep; Robin McKinley's Spindle's End, Orson Scott Card's Enchantment, Jane Yolen's Briar Rose, Sophie Masson's Clementine, Anne Rice's (as A. N. Roquelaure) Sleeping Beauty Trilogy and Jim C. Hines Princess Series.
Princess Aurora also appears in the second season of the ABC TV show Once Upon a Time, portrayed by Sarah Bolger
Sleeping Beauty in music
Michele Carafa composed La belle au bois dormant in 1825.
Before Tchaikovsky's version, several ballet productions were based on the "Sleeping Beauty" theme, amongst which one from Eugène Scribe: in the winter of 1828–1829, the French playwright furnished a four-act mimed scenario as a basis for Aumer's choreography of a four-act ballet-pantomime La Belle au Bois Dormant. Scribe wisely omitted the violence of the second part of Perrault's tale for the ballet, which was set by Hérold and first staged at the Académie Royale in Paris on 27 April 1829. Though Hérold popularized his piece with a piano Rondo brilliant based on themes from the music, he was not successful in getting the ballet staged again.
The fourth movement of Robert Schumann's Märchenbilder depicts scenes from this story.
When Ivan Vsevolozhsky, the Director of the Imperial Theatres in Saint Petersburg, wrote to Tchaikovsky on 25 May 1888, suggesting a ballet based on Perrault's tale, he also cut the violent second half, climaxed the action with the Awakening Kiss, and followed with a conventional festive last act, a series of bravura variations.
Although Tchaikovsky may not have been very eager to compose a new ballet (remembering that the reception of his Swan Lake ballet music, staged eleven seasons earlier, had only been lukewarm), he set to work with Vsevolovzhsky's scenario. The ballet, with Tchaikovsky's music (his Opus 66) and choreography by Marius Petipa, was premiered in the Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre on 24 January 1890.
Besides being Tchaikovsky's first major success in ballet composition, it set a new standard for what is now called "Classical Ballet", and remained one of the all-time favourites in the whole of the ballet repertoire. The Sleeping Beauty was the first ballet that impresario Sergei Diaghilev ever saw – he later recorded in his memoirs – and also the first that ballerinas Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova ever saw, and the ballet that introduced the Russian dancer Rudolph Nureyev to European audiences. Diaghilev staged the ballet himself in 1921 in London with the Ballets Russes. Choreographer George Balanchine made his stage debut as a gilded Cupid sitting on a gilded cage, in the last actdivertissements.
Mimed and danced versions of the ballet survived in the distinctly British genre of pantomime, with Carabosse, the evil fairy, a famous travesti role.
Maurice Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye includes a movement entitled Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant (Pavane of the Beauty in the Sleeping Wood). This piece was also later developed into a ballet.
Walt Disney's Sleeping BeautyMain article: Sleeping Beauty (1959 film)
The Walt Disney Productions animated feature Sleeping Beauty was released on 29 January 1959 by Buena Vista Distribution. Disney spent nearly a decade working on the film, which was produced in the Super Technirama 70 wide-screen film process with a stereophonic soundtrack. The film cost six million U.S. dollars to produce. Its musical score and songs are adapted from Tchaikovsky's ballet. This tale includes three good fairies – Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather – and one evil fairy, Maleficent. As in most Disney films, there are considerable changes made to the plot. For example, it is Maleficent herself that appears in the abandoned tower attic and creates the spinning wheel on which Princess Aurora (called Briar Rose by Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather in the years before the event), pricks her finger. In the original, a drop spindle rather than a spinning wheel was specified. The princess' hair is also changed from dark brown, as in Perrault's original book, to blonde. The princess has been described as Disney's most beautiful heroine.
Sleeping Beauty in Kingdom Hearts
A Sleeping Beauty world appears in the Kingdom Hearts games, based on the Walt Disney adaptation, where throughout the games, Maleficent (the wicked fairy godmother) is featured as a major antagonist in almost all of the installments. The princess (named Aurora) is one of the seven princesses of heart, a major story element, and appears briefly in the first game, with only a mentioning of her in the second game. A world based on Sleeping Beauty appears in the prequel game, Birth By Sleep, called Enchanted Dominion. The story is told slightly differently here. After the good fairies put the city to sleep, antagonist Xehanort arrives to study Aurora, whose heart of pure light he believes will help him in his scheme. Maleficent uses the protagonist character Terra by taking control of him temporarily to capture Aurora's heart. Later, Ventus, another original character, arrives to the world and helps the good fairies storm Maleficent's castle to free Aurora's heart. After this, Terra and Ventus's friend Aqua appears after Ventus and Terra depart, and helps the prince (Phillip) to defeat Maleficent and deliver true love's kiss to Aurora.
- Bottigheimer, Ruth. (2008). "Before Contes du temps passe (1697): Charles Perrault's Griselidis, Souhaits and Peau". The Romantic Review, Volume 99, Number 3. pp. 175–189
- Maria Tatar, The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, 2002:96, ISBN 0-393-05163-3
- Jack Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p 648, ISBN 0-393-97636-X
- Charles Willing, "Genevieve of Brabant"
- a b Heidi Anne Heiner, "Tales Similar to Sleeping Beauty"
- a b Jacob and Wilheim Grimm, Grimms' Fairy Tales, "Little Briar-Rose"
- Heidi Anne Heiner, "The Annotated Sleeping Beauty"
- Harry Velten, "The Influences of Charles Perrault's Contes de ma Mère L'oie on German Folklore", p 961, Jack Zipes, ed. The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, ISBN 0-393-97636-X
- Harry Velten, "The Influences of Charles Perrault's Contes de ma Mère L'oie on German Folklore", p 962, Jack Zipes, ed. The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, ISBN 0-393-97636-X
- Maria Tatar, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, p 376-7 W. W. Norton & company, London, New York, 2004 ISBN 0-393-05848-4
- Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales p 485 ISBN 0-15-645489-0
- Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales p 744 ISBN 0-15-645489-0
- Joseph Jacobs, More English Fairy Tales, "The King of England and his Three Sons"
- Maria Tatar, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, p 230 W. W. Norton & company, London, New York, 2004 ISBN 0-393-05848-4
- Lüthi, Max (1970). Once Upon A Time: On the Nature of Fairy Tales. New York: Frederick Ungar. p. 33. ISBN 0-8044-2565-5.
- Märchenbilder (Schumann)