When you only invite twelve of the thirteen Wise Women, be assured the uninvited one will come in with a vengeance. Read more in the Brothers Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty…
Sleeping Beauty is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a princess who is cursed by a wise woman. When she pricks herself on a spindle she falls asleep. The whole palace falls asleep, covered with a hedge of thorns. After 100 years a prince rescues her with a kiss and everybody awakes again.
Complete text Sleeping Beauty
The king and the queen get a child
A long time ago there were a king and queen who said every day, “Ah, if only we had a child!”, but they never got one.
Once when the queen was bathing, a frog crept out of the water on to the land and said to her, “Your wish shall be fulfilled; before a year has gone by, you shall have a daughter.”
What the frog had said came true. The queen had a little girl. She was so pretty that the king could not contain himself for joy and ordered a great feast. He invited not only his family, friends and acquaintances, but also the Wise Women, so that they might be kind and well disposed towards the child.
There were thirteen of them in his kingdom. As he had only twelve golden plates for them to eat out of, one of them had to be left at home. The feast was magnificent and spectacular.
The wishes of the Wise Women
When it came to an end the Wise Women gave their magic gifts to the baby: one gave virtue, another beauty, a third riches, and so on with everything in the world that one can wish for.
When eleven of them had made their promises, suddenly the thirteenth came in. She wished to avenge herself for not having been invited. Without greeting or even looking at anyone, she cried with a loud voice, “The king’s daughter shall in her fifteenth year prick herself with a spindle and fall down dead.”
Without saying a word more, she turned around and left the room.
They were all shocked. The twelfth, whose good wish still remained unspoken, came forward. She could not undo the evil sentence, only soften it. She said, “It shall not be death, but a deep sleep of a hundred years, into which the princess shall fall.”
The king, who wanted to keep his dear child from the misfortune, gave orders to burn every spindle in the whole kingdom. Meanwhile the gifts of the Wise Women were abundantly fulfilled for the young girl: she was so beautiful, modest, kind and wise, that everyone who saw her loved her.
On the very day when she became fifteen years old, the king and queen were not at home. She was left in the palace quite alone. She went around into all the nooks and crannies, looked into rooms and bedchambers just as she liked.
At last she came to an old tower. She climbed up the narrow winding staircase and reached a little door. A rusty key was in the lock. When she turned it the door sprang open. There in a little room sat an old woman with a spindle, busily spinning her flax.
“Good day, old lady,” said the princess; “what are you doing there?”
“I am spinning,” the old woman said and nodded her head. “What sort of thing is that, that rattles around so cheerfully?” the girl asked. She took the spindle and wanted to spin too. But as soon as she touched the spindle the magic decree was fulfilled and she pricked her finger with it.
All fall asleep with Sleeping Beauty
The very moment she felt the prick, she fell down upon the bed that stood there, into a deep sleep. This sleep extended over the whole palace.
The king and queen, who had just come home and had entered the great hall, began to go to sleep. The whole of the court slept with them. The horses, too, went to sleep in the stable, the dogs in the yard, the pigeons upon the roof, the flies on the wall. Even the fire that was flaming on the hearth became quiet and slept, the roast meat left off frizzling.
The cook, who was just going to pull the hair of the dishwasher boy, because he had forgotten something, let him go and went to sleep. The wind fell and on the trees in front of the castle not a leaf moved.
Around the castle there began to grow a hedge of thorns, which every year became higher. At last it grew close up around the castle and all over it, so that there was nothing of it to be seen, not even the flag upon the roof.
But the story of the beautiful sleeping “Briar Rose,” for so the princess was named, went about the country, so that from time to time princes came and tried to get through the thorny hedge into the castle.
They found it impossible, for the thorns held fast together as if they had hands. The youths were caught in them, could not get loose again and died a miserable death.
A prince arrives after a hundred years
After long, long years a prince came again to that country. He heard an old man talking about the hedge of thorns. That a castle was said to stand behind it in which a wonderfully beautiful princess, named Briar Rose, had been asleep for a hundred years; and that the king and queen and the whole court were asleep likewise.
He had heard, too, from his grandfather, that many princes had already come and had tried to get through the thorny hedge. They had remained sticking fast in it and died a pitiful death.
The young prince said, “I am not afraid, I will go and see the beautiful Briar Rose.” The good old man tried to dissuade him, but he did not listen to his words.
By this time the hundred years had just passed. The day had come when Briar Rose was to awake again. When the prince came near to the hedge of thorns, it was nothing but large and beautiful flowers. These flowers parted from each other of their own accord and let him pass unhurt. Then they closed again behind him like a hedge.
In the yard of the castle he saw the horses and the spotted hounds lying asleep. On the roof sat the pigeons with their heads under their wings. When he entered the house the flies were asleep on the wall. The cook in the kitchen was still holding out his hand to seize the boy and the maid was sitting by the black hen which she was going to pluck.
He went on further and in the great hall he saw the whole of the court lying asleep. Up by the throne lay the king and queen.
The prince kisses Sleeping Beauty
On and on he went. All was so quiet that a breath could be heard. At last he came to the tower, and opened the door into the little room where Briar Rose was sleeping. There she lay, so beautiful that he could not turn his eyes away: he stooped down and gave her a kiss. As soon as he kissed her, Briar Rose opened her eyes and awoke, looking at him with her sweet smile.
They went down together. The king awoke, the queen, the whole court. They looked at each other in great astonishment.
The horses in the courtyard stood up and shook themselves. The hounds jumped up and wagged their tails. The pigeons on the roof pulled out their heads from under their wings, looked round and flew into the open country. The flies on the wall crept again.
The fire in the kitchen burned up and flickered and cooked the meat. The joint began to turn and frizzle again and the cook gave the boy such a box on the ear that he screamed; the maid plucked the fowl ready for the spit.
The marriage of the prince with Briar Rose was celebrated with all splendor, and they lived content together until the end of their days.
Tips for Telling Sleeping Beauty
- The Disney version of this story is well known. It can be helpful to start your telling with saying something like: “This story has been told in many ways, today I am telling it as the Brothers Grimm told it.”
- It’s magical to hear about all things that fall asleep and later wake up. Make this part your own by imagining this beautiful castle in full color and describing what you imagine falling asleep and waking up.
- Don’t skip the part of the princes getting stuck in the hedge and dying a miserable death. It adds to the contrast of the story.
All Questions Answered
This fairy tale was published by the Brothers Grimm in the first edition of their Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It was rewritten for the second edition. Their source was Marie Hassenpflug.
The Brothers Grimm included it in the 1812 edition of the Grimm’s fairy tales. The tale was rewritten and edited for following editions. Of this story many versions were being told around the world.
It is also called Briar Rose, Little Briar-Rose, Brier Rose, Little Brier-Rose.
After a hundred years, a prince enters the castle and kisses her.
There is not one real, original story of Sleeping Beauty. Stories like this have been told for a long time in different ways all around the world.
Sleeping Beauty is called Briar Rose in the fairy tale because of the hedge of thorns / roses around the castle where she sleeps.
A briar rose is a kind of rose. It smells sweet and is light pink. It blooms usually once in spring or summer.
More useful information
- “Sleeping Beauty” on Wikipedia
- “Sleeping Beauty” variants on the page of prof. D. L. Ashliman
- Annotations on the tale on the page SurLaLune Fairy Tales
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Fairy tales with a pigeon
Photo credits: Adina Voicu from Pixabay
The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales on this website are based on the authentic translation of Margaret Hunt. They were edited and reformatted for pleasant reading and telling by Storyteller Rudolf Roos.
See the complete list of The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales (link to internationalstoryteller.com).