Sleeping Beauty #MeToo Story ~ FairyTales for Today's Girls
This is the Fairytale story of Sleeping Beauty, the Tale of Princess Aurora/Briar Rose. This Classic Fairy Tale combines parts of the Charles Perrault, Grimm Brothers and Disney versions and is reimagined with a modern ending to show a strong female character. It is brought to you by Stories to Grow by.
Listen to the story while you read along!
Long ago in France there lived a King and Queen. More than anything, they longed for a child. At last to their great happiness, the Queen gave birth to a little girl. All the bells in the land were rung with joy.
The King and Queen invited all the fairies in the kingdom to the Naming Party for the baby. And what a party it was! Plates and silverware of the purest gold were set with care before each guest. Everything was in place for a perfect celebration.
All of a sudden, one fairy showed up at the door who was not expected. This was the fairy Maleficent. She had left 50 years before and had not been seen in all that time. The King and Queen quickly found a place setting and royal chair to serve the new guest. But alas, the plate and the silverware were not of pure gold. This made the old fairy very angry.
Soon it was time for each Fairy to give her blessing to the baby. When it came turn for Maleficent to give her blessing, she stood up. She pointed her long finger at the sleeping baby girl in the cradle.
This made the old fairy very angry.
“I declare, before all of you,” Maleficent called out, “that on her 16th birthday, this child shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, and die!”
With a whoosh of smoke, the evil fairy vanished. Everyone cried out with alarm, as you can imagine! But there was one fairy left who had not given her blessing. The King and Queen begged this fairy, whose name was Merryweather, to reverse the curse. Merryweather shook her head sadly – alas, that was not possible. But she could soften the curse.
“On her 16th birthday,” said Merryweather, pointing her wand at the cradle of the sleeping baby, “when the princess pricks her finger on the spinning wheel, she will not die." Everyone in the royal chambers gasped with relief. "But mind you," said Merryweather in haste," she will fall asleep. And she will stay asleep for 100 years.”
“One hundred years!” said the Queen. “After our daughter turns 16, we will not know her anymore!”
“One hundred years!” said the Queen.
The King and Queen could not bear the thought of that. So the King ordered every spinning wheel in the kingdom to be brought to the palace and burned. To be extra sure the princess would not go anywhere near a spinning wheel, he also ordered the fairy Merryweather, along with two other fairies, Flora and Fauna, to take the baby far away. The fairies would raise the child in a cottage deep in the woods. There, they would keep her safe until after her 16th birthday. Then it would be safe to bring back the princess, who had been named Aurora, to the castle.
Aurora grew up knowing no others than the three fairies, whom she knew as her aunts. The animals of the forest were her friends. The birds and the deer, the chipmunks and the rabbits, followed her around. She fed them treats and cooed to them, and so they spent many hours. Aurora was told from the time she was a little girl to always stay inside the hills that surrounded them. This was fine with Aurora. The woods were wide and vast, and there was plenty of room for her to play in the forest inside the ring of hills that surrounded her.
Aurora was told from the time she was a little girl to always stay inside the hills that surrounded them.
One day, Aurora came home to the cottage and saw her three aunts preparing for a party. “What’s going on?” she said.
“Tonight we will celebrate your 16th birthday!” said Flora.
“We will?” said Aurora. “That means tomorrow I will go back to the castle!”
“Yes!” said Merryweather. “We have kept you safe from that spinning wheel for 16 years. By tomorrow it will be safe for you to return and take up your royal life as a princess.”
“And the first thing for you will be to get married,” said Fauna.
“Married?” said Aurora. “Already? Do you know who I’m supposed to marry?”
“And the first thing for you will be to get married,” said Fauna.
“We do,” said Fauna with a wave of her hand, “but no need to worry. Even if he’s a bit on the horrid side, you won’t have to spend much time with him, after all.”
“And he does come from a fine family!” Flora added with a quick smile. "So there's that."
“Wait a minute!” said Aurora, pulling back. “Why do you say he’s a bit on the horrid side?”
"It’s best not focus on such things, dear,” said Merryweather.
“Just do everything your husband tells you to do,” said Flora with a nod, “and you will be fine. Probably.”
“Wait a minute!” said Aurora. “Why do people say he’s a bit on the horrid side?”
“This is not turning out like I thought!” cried Aurora. “How long do I have to stay married like that?”
“Why, for the rest of your life, of course,” said Fauna.
“No, no!” cried Aurora. "This is all wrong!" She turned away, her head spinning. Aurora took a deep breath. She slowly turned around to face her three aunts. Said Aurora in a firm voice: “I love the three of you dearly. You must know that. But there is something else you must know. I would rather prick my finger on a spinning wheel and fall asleep for 100 years than have to marry someone I don't wish to marry. Maybe in 100 years when I wake up, things will be different!” And she rushed out the door.
“Dear me,” said Merryweather to the other two fairies. “I don’t believe that went very well.”
Aurora ran deep into the woods where her animal friends lived. The deer hopped beside her, along with the rabbits and chipmunks. “We have to get out of here,” she said to all of them. Pointing to the hills, she said, “We will go there. We will find a pass that goes right through those hills. Somewhere out there is what I need.”
“We have to get out of here,” she said to all of them.
Soon Aurora came to a road. In the distance was a carriage, and the carriage came closer and closer to her. As the rider approached, her animal friends scattered away.
“Hail!” said the stranger. “I’m afraid my carriage scared away your pets. May I give you a lift?”
Aurora had never seen a man before. But she couldn’t think about that – she must only think about finding a spinning wheel. She must find one soon, while it was still her 16th birthday. And then she would prick her finger upon it, fall asleep for 100 years and be saved from the dire situation that was before her.
“Thank you,” said Aurora to the stranger. “Actually, there is something I need a great deal.”
“What’s that?” said the stranger, hopping out of the carriage. Very nicely dressed was he, and well mannered, too.
Aurora had never seen a man before. But she couldn’t think of that.
“A spinning wheel,” said Aurora.
“A spinning wheel!” said the stranger. “What a strange request! You must know that there are none left in the land – everyone knows that.”
“Well, you see,” said Aurora, rubbing her hands together, “I have this friend. She needs a spinning wheel in the worst way. Today.” Aurora looked directly at the stranger. “It’s a matter of life or death.”
The stranger looked at Aurora’s eyes. He leaned closer to her and said in a soft voice, “I may know of one,” he said. “But this needs to stay between you and me.” Aurora nodded.
“Not far from here," continued the young man, "lives an old woman who spun yarn all her life. When the orders came to burn all the spinning wheels, she could not bear to let go of her beloved spinning wheel, as it had been in her family foryears. She came to me,” he said, pointing down the road, “since I’m a prince from the next kingdom. She begged me to let her store it away safely. So I put it in the attic room of my castle tower. No one goes there, and it would be safe until the 16 years had passed.”
“She begged me to let her store it away safely,” said the prince.
“Would you take me to your tower?” whispered Aurora.
“I shouldn’t,” said the prince. Then after a moment, he said, “But, yes. I will.”
Aurora stepped onto the carriage. Before long they were at the tower, and they both stepped out. The prince said, looking at Aurora deeply into her eyes, “This is not for your friend, is it?”
“Thank you for taking me here,” said Aurora in an even voice. “I will always remember your kindness. Now if you please, I must do what I must do.”
Aurora turned away. She went up the tower stairs to the stair at the very top. The last step led to a door, and the door creaked open, all by itself. Inside, the air was dank and musty. She could barely take a step without wiping aside all the spider webs. But she pushed them aside and stepped forward. For there in a far corner, was the spinning wheel. From a small attic window, she could tell the sun was already setting. “I hope this works,” she said, “before it’s too late.”
There, in a far corner, was the spinning wheel.
Aurora held out her finger to the tip of the spindle. With a sharp tap, she pricked her finger on that spindle. One tiny droplet of blood dripped from her finger. At once, Aurora felt dizzy. She fell onto an old dusty velvet blanket that lay on the attic floor, and there she fell into a deep sleep. Moments later, all the others in the castle, servants and royals alike, fell asleep too, as well as the prince, who was still waiting for her outside the tower. Within hours, thorns and vines sprung up and wrapped around the castle. The thorny shrubs were so thick that no human or beast could pass through.
For 100 years, Aurora and the others slept.
For 100 years, Aurora and the others slept.
After 100 years had passed, Aurora blinked her eyes awake. At that moment, all the others in the castle awoke, too. Everyone started to continue doing what they had been doing the moment when they had fallen asleep 100 years before. Like magic, the thorns and vines around the castle melted away.
Aurora ventured down the tower stairs. She found the prince outside the tower, as he had stayed to wait for her after she had gone up the stairs. Together, they stepped into his carriage, chatting easily and enjoying the fine brisk air. Down the road to the market square they went but when they got there - what a different world it was! Bicycles and streetcars, cameras and streetlights – such marvels to behold!
Perhaps best of all, they learned that in this strange new time, it was quite all right for young women and men get to know each other better if that’s what they chose to do. And if they wanted, even to fall in love. Aurora and the Prince took each other’s hand. They would explore this wonderful new world together. Getting to know each other better was exactly what they wanted to do.
Question 1: Choose one character. How did that person or animal change/grow/learn by the end of the story?
Question 2: Say what you think this story is trying to show you.