A childless royal couple finally has a baby. They throw a huge party, inviting everyone they know, including seven fairies reported to give good gifts. They completely forget about the eighth, older, irritable fairy everyone assumes is dead since she's been incommunicado for the past fifty years.
The old fairy, alive and kicking with spite, crashes the party. She rants and raves about not having her own golden dinner plate like all the other fairies. In a fit of horrendous manners and hurt feelings, she casts a spell on the baby, condemning her to prick her hand on a spindle and die.
The youngest fairy commutes the curse, saying the pricked princess will fall asleep for a hundred years instead. The king instantly orders removal of all spindles from the kingdom. Still, no one feels much like dancing, and the party breaks up early.
Life spins along normally for the next sixteen or so years. One day, the princess discovers an old woman working on a spinning wheel in a garret right in the castle. The princess asks to try.
Of course she pricks her hand. Instant slumber. The youngest fairy puts the rest of the court to sleep as well. A huge forest instantly springs up around the castle to protect them.
Flash forward a hundred years. A young prince sees castle spires peeking up above the forest. He cuts through the underbrush, discovering the sleeping princess inside the castle. She awakens, gets one look at the prince, and declares that he's the man she has been dreaming about for the past hundred years. He can't help noticing that she's decked out in some kind of Total Vintage Collection and that her court musicians seem perpetually stuck on golden oldies hour. Still, they talk for hours, fall in love, and get married on the spot.
But the prince doesn't bring Sleeping Beauty back home to meet the folks. He hides his marriage from his parents, spending the next two years running back and forth between the two castles, lying about his activities like some high school sophomore who just discovered alcohol.
When his dad dies, the prince finally brings Sleeping Beauty -- and the two children they've now had -- home to meet his mother. Then he heads off to war, leaving the mom in charge.
Mom who happens to be half ogre, decides to eat Sleeping Beauty and the kids. The cook hides the family, serving Mom delicious woodland creatures instead. When Mom discovers the switch, she decides to throw everyone into a huge pot of famished vipers and sauté them all for supper.
Just then, the prince returns. Caught in the act trying to fry his family (and the best cook they've had in years), Mom flings herself into the pot instead. Sleeping Beauty and the prince live happily, through psychologically scarred, ever after.
This version of "Sleeping Beauty" complete with the ogre mother was recorded by Charles Perrault. The Sleeping Beauty story is believed to date back at least to the fourteenth century.
The king and the queen say they thought the evil fairy was dead because they hadn't heard from her in fifty years. But the phone (or carrier pigeon or fleet-footed messenger boy) works both ways. They knew she lacked social savvy; they could have called her. By only including the hipper, more pleasant fairies in their lives, they let a difficult relationship devolve into disaster.
Through the king spared no expense trying to save Sleeping Beauty -- issuing a recall on wooden spindles, putting hundreds of wood carvers out of work and devastating the local textile trade -- he learned that no parent can keep his child cloistered forever.
Though Sleeping Beauty has been out of circulation for a hundred years, she wasn't afraid to pursue a relationship once she woke up. True, her clothes were outdated, she knew none of the latest recordings artists, and she was completely oblivious to the political issues facing the kingdom. But she and the prince still found plenty to talk about and enough common ground for falling in love.
Even though he was a husband and father, the prince acted like a child, hiding his wife from his parents and giving his mother, instead of his spouse, authority over his kingdom. His immaturity and misplaced priorities made him nearly lose his wife and children -- and did, ultimately, cause him to lose his mother.
Sleeping Beauty Relationship Rules
- Reach out to family members -- even the annoying ones. Cutting communication not only alienates those who should be your closest allies, but also distances you from important parts of yourself.
- Your parents or friends can't protect you from your own life experiences, even though they'll try. Don't criticize yourself for not learning from others' mistakes.
- It seems like you've been single for one hundred years, but that doesn't mean you'll be single forever.
- Have the courage to reenter the dating world, no matter how long you've been away. Essential ways of connecting with others don't change.
- Take responsibility for including your parents in your new relationship by finding new roles for them. Make your spouse your priority, but don't pit him against your relatives.
Don't give up on love, even if it seems like you've been single for one hundred years. The length of time it takes is no reflection on your worth or appeal.
He does not wait too long
who waits for something good.
-- Queen Christina of Sweden
To Prince Karl Gustav,
In the Seventeenth Century
Happily Ever After
by Wendy Paris.
About the Author
Wendy Paris graduated with a BA in literature and creative writing from the Honor's Program at the University of Houston. Prior to writing Happily Ever After, she coauthored Words for the Wedding. She's also written about relationships, love, marriage and honeymooning for a variety of publications, including Glamour, Self, Brides, Modern Bride and Fitness. She has also worked as a TV reporter and producer and newspaper reporter and editor.