Published: Wednesday June 8, 2011 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday August 6, 2013 MYT 10:25:23 AM

Sleeping Beauty

AT the christening of a princess in a far-off kingdom, a wand-erful troop of good fairies bestowed gifts such as beauty, modesty and kindness on the newborn.

A wicked fairy who had not been invited to the event felt offended. She flew into the royal hall and, giving the little child a malevolent look, bellowed: “On her sixteenth birthday, the princess will prick her finger on a knitting needle and die!” And she disappeared in a cloud of white smoke.

The guests were horror-stricken by the intruder’s malignant fury. “This is a harrowing experience,” said the queen, who feared that her “hearteries” could not take the high emotional stress.

A good fairy said reassuringly: “I cannot undo the curse, but I can soften it.

“The princess will not die. Instead, she will sleep for one hundred years, and then she will be awakened by the kiss of a prince.”

Knitting his brows, the king immediately issued a decree prohibiting the possession of knitting needles in the kingdom.

Time marched on. On her sixteenth birthday, the princess slipped out of her room when a noise outside momentarily distracted her personal servants. Wandering all over the castle, she eventually found herself in a dilapidated tower.

“She tiptoed towards a room whose door was ajar.

“Upon entering the room, she found an old woman sitting on a rickety chair.

“Excuse me, Granny,” said the princess, “what are you doing?”

“I am knitting a pair of socks,” replied the old woman.

“The old pair is full of holes. Darn it! I always look for the best wool so that the finished product will last for very long,” she added with a hideous grin. “Good wool hunting, you know.”

“You have so many needles in your knitting bag,” said the princess. “I have never seen such needles before. May I take one of them in my hands to have a feel of it?”

“Knock yourself out, my dear,” said the old woman, who was actually the wicked fairy, aka Termiknitter. And she thought exultantly: “You are taking your life in your hands!”

The inevitable happened, and the princess fell into a deep sleep instantly.

The wicked fairy was in stitches. “K-nitwit!” she screeched as she flew out of the tower.

The good fairy returned and put every creature in the castle to sleep. “Why do they say that taller people sleep longer in bed?” she said, giggling.

“Everyone will now sleep for the same length of time – one hundred years!”

And then she waved her wand for the last time, so that a briar hedge sprang up obediently to encircle the castle.

A hundred years later, a prince who had heard about the enchantment decided to check out the story. One fine morning, he began the long journey on his faithful horse, Storm (so named because it could ride like lightning with the rein).

When the prince reached his destination, the horse thought anxiously: “It’s a tall order if my master wants me to jump over the hedge – the heir to the throne will be thrown in the air! I don’t want to give him a lot of woe!”

The equine animal need not have worried, for the hedge magically parted for the ingress of the royal visitor, who was wonderstruck to see so many sleeping people and animals. He eventually found the princess, spread-eagled on the floor. She looked so beautiful that he couldn’t help kissing her.

At once, the princess opened her eyes and smiled warmly at her gallant saviour, who returned her smile and said: “You should sleep on a down pillow – I have a soft spot for you.”

He then asked her to marry him. “There’s no need to make a decision now,” he added, winking saucily at her. “Why don’t you sleep on it?”

A few days later, Sleeping Beauty married the handsome prince. Dabbing her eye with a handkerchief, she said: “This is an emotional wedding – even the cake is in tiers!” – Adapted from a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm

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