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e-book The Sleeping Beauty: Evolution of a Fairy Tale

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And then the story takes a disturbing turn. He lifted her in his arms, and carried her to a bed, where he gathered the first fruits of love.

Sleeping Beauty - Wikipedia

Nine months later, Sleeping Beauty gives birth to two children, a boy and a girl, while she is still asleep. Once the babies are born, two fairies appear to help care for them. Instead, she just picks up the babies and starts breastfeeding them.

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But readers have to wonder if the flax poisoning that put Sleeping Beauty in a coma might have affected her faculties—she sure doesn't react like a typical person. And it only gets worse once the king comes back to claim his children. When the time comes for the Prince to ascend the throne, he brings his wife, children, and the talabutte "Count of the Mount". The Ogress Queen Mother sends the young Queen and the children to a house secluded in the woods and directs her cook to prepare the boy with Sauce Robert for dinner.

The kind-hearted cook substitutes a lamb for the boy, which satisfies the Queen Mother. She then demands the girl but the cook this time substitutes a young goat, which also satisfies the Queen Mother. When the Ogress demands that he serve up the young Queen, the latter offers to slit her throat so that she may join the children that she imagines are dead. While the Queen Mother is satisfied with a hind prepared with Sauce Robert in place of the young Queen, there is a tearful secret reunion of the Queen and her children.

The King returns in the nick of time and the Ogress, her true nature having been exposed, throws herself into the tub and is fully consumed. The King, young Queen, and children then live happily ever after. Their decision was notable because in none of the Teutonic myths, meaning the Poetic and Prose Eddas or Volsunga Saga , are their sleepers awakened with a kiss, a fact Jacob Grimm would have known, since he wrote an encyclopedic volume on German mythology.

His version is the only known German variant of the tale, and Perrault's influence is almost certain.

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The Brothers Grimm also included, in the first edition of their tales, a fragmentary fairy tale, "The Evil Mother-in-law". This story begins with the heroine, a married mother of two children, and her mother-in-law who attempts to eat her and the children. The heroine suggests an animal be substituted in the dish, and the story ends with the heroine's worry that she cannot keep her children from crying and getting the mother-in-law's attention. Like many German tales showing French influence, it appeared in no subsequent edition.

By asking wise men and astrologers to predict her future after her birth, her father who is a great lord learns that Talia will be in danger from a splinter of flax. The splinter later causes what appears to be Talia's death; however, it is later learned that it is a long, deep sleep.

The Evolution of Women in Disney Fairytales

After Talia falls into deep sleep, she is seated on a velvet throne and her father, to forget his misery of what he thinks is her death, closes the doors and abandons the house forever. One day, while a king is walking by, one of his falcons flies into the house. The king knocks, hoping to be let in by someone, but no one answers and he decides to climb in with a ladder. He finds Talia alive but unconscious, and " Though Talia is unconscious, she gives birth to twins — one of whom keeps sucking her fingers.

Talia awakens because the twin has sucked out the flax that was stuck deep in Talia's finger. When she wakes up, she discovers that she is a mother and has no idea what happened to her. One day, the king decides he wants to go see Talia again. He goes back to the palace to find her awake and a mother to his twins. He informs her of who he is, what has happened, and they end up bonding. After a few days, the king has to leave to go back to his realm, but promises Talia that he will return to take her to his kingdom.

When he arrives back in his kingdom, his wife hears him saying "Talia, Sun, and Moon" in his sleep. She bribes and threatens the king's secretary to tell her what is going on. After the queen learns the truth, she pretends she is the king and writes to Talia asking her to send the twins because he wants to see them.

Talia sends her twins to the "king" and the queen tells the cook to kill the twins and make dishes out of them. She wants to feed the king his children; instead, the cook takes the twins to his wife and hides them. He then cooks two lambs and serves them as if they were the twins. Every time the king mentions how good the food is, the queen replies, "Eat, eat, you are eating of your own. He then orders that his wife be burned along with those who betrayed him. Since the cook actually did not obey the queen, the king thanks the cook for saving his children by giving him rewards.

The story ends with the king marrying Talia and living happily ever after.


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The princess's name has varied from one adaptation to the other. She has no name in Perrault's story but her daughter is called "Aurore". The Brothers Grimm named her "Briar Rose" in their collection. Tchaikovsky's ballet and Disney's version named her Princess Aurora; however, in the Disney version, she is also called "Briar Rose" in her childhood, when she is being raised incognito by the good fairies. The Grimms also included a second, more distantly related one titled The Glass Coffin. Italo Calvino included a variant in Italian Folktales. In his version, the cause of the princess's sleep is a wish by her mother.

As in Pentamerone , the prince rapes her in her sleep and her children are born. Calvino retains the element 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, and instead serves them to the king. His version came from Calabria, but he noted that all Italian versions closely followed Basile's.

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The hostility of the king's mother to his new bride is repeated in the fairy tale The Six Swans , [23] and also features in The Twelve Wild Ducks , where the mother is modified to be the king's stepmother. However, these tales omit the attempted cannibalism. According to Maria Tatar, the Sleeping Beauty tale has been disparaged by modern-day feminists who consider the protagonist to have no agency and find her passivity to be offensive; some feminists have even argued for people to stop telling the story altogether.

Aurora just straight-up has no agency, and really isn't doing much in the way of feminine progress. In desperation to save his daughter, the king tries everything he can to protect his daughter from this fate. However, since this prophecy is foretold, it finds a way to become true. This idea of prophecy is found in other Greek myths, like the story of Oedipus.

Each having disbelieved horrific prophecy and striven to prevent it, Jocasta and Oedipus then join forces doubly to strive against prophecy that has already materialized as fact". For Brier Rose, even though her father demanded all spinning wheels should be burned to stop her from pricking her finger, she still manages to do so. The prophecy is fulfilled even though measures were taken to avoid it.


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Sleeping Beauty has been popular for many fairytale fantasy retellings. Some examples are listed below:. Sleeping Beauty by Edward Frederick Brewtnall.

Sleeping Princess by Viktor Vasnetsov. Sleeping Beauty , statue in Wuppertal — Germany. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Sleeping Beauty disambiguation. For the Disney variation of the character, see Aurora Disney. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.