Bibliographic Information: Hyman, Trina Schart. (1977). The Sleeping Beauty from The Brothers Grimm. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

Ethnic Origin: "Briar Rose" from the German

Running Time: Iíll really try to keep it to 10-12 minutes.

Power Centers: There are various power centers in this tale and how they are approached is a function of the audience. The joy of the king and queen upon the birth of a much-longed-for child is the first emotional high point of the tale. This is rapidly followed by the rage of the uninvited fairy who arrives at the christening feast just as the other fairies are bestowing their gifts on the infant princess. This uninvited fairy curses the child with death. The despair of the parents is lessened somewhat when a fairy who has not yet given the child a gift is able to ameliorate the curse, changing it from death to a one-hundred-year sleep. The king feels that he is able to regain control of the situation when he orders all the spindles in his kingdom destroyed.

††††††††††† The ultimate power, however, rests with Briar Rose herself. When she pierces her finger with the spindle and falls into the enchanted sleep, she causes all around her to sleep. When she wakes again, the entire castle wakes with her. Sleep, despite its apparent passive nature, is a manifestation of Briar Roseís emotional state at this point in her development.

Characters: the king and queen, parents of Briar Rose; the frog who foretells her birth; the fairies; the old woman who spins; the prince who wakes Briar Rose; an old man who tells the legend of the sleeping beauty to the prince and, of course, Briar Rose.

Scenes: 1. The queen learns that she will give birth to a daughter. 2. The christening feast. 3. Briar Rose wandering the castle until she comes upon a woman spinning. 4. Briar Rose, pricking her finger, falls into an enchanted sleep. 5. The assault on the castle by the prince. 6. The awakening of the sleeping beauty and the other inhabitants of the castle. 7. The marriage of Briar Rose and the prince.

Synopsis: The birth of a much-desired child to a king and queen occasions a great feast following the infantís christening. Twelve of the thirteen fairies in the kingdom are invited to the feast. The thirteenth is omitted because there are not sufficient golden place settings. As the eleventh fairy bestows her good wish on the child, the enraged thirteenth fairy arrives and curses the child with death at the age of fifteen. The fairy says that the princess will prick her finger on a spindle and fall dead. The evil fairy leaves. The only fairy not to have given the princess a gift changes the curse from death to a sleep of one hundred years. The king orders all the spindles in the kingdom destroyed.

††††††††††† Left alone on her fifteenth birthday, Briar Rose wanders the castle until she comes to a locked tower room. Letting herself in, she discovers an old woman spinning. Questioning the woman about this craft that she has never seem before, Briar Rose requests she be allowed to try her hand at spinning.

††††††††††† Immediately upon taking the spindle into her hand, Briar Rose pierces her finger and begins to bleed. She asleep.

††††††††††† All around her the castleís inhabitants fall asleep. Outside a great hedge of thorns grows so that the castle is lost in its midst.

††††††††††† Many princes come and try to cut their way through the hedge, only to die caught on the thorns. A legend grows of the sleeping beauty who lies in the castle.

††††††††††† At the end of the one hundred years of the curse, a prince arrives and hears the tale of the sleeping beauty. He determines that he will enter the enchanted castle and find her. Against the warnings of the old tale-teller, the prince goes to the castle. As the time of the curse is at an end, the thorn hedge not only parts to admit the prince, but blooms as he passes through it.

††††††††††† He finds the sleeping company of inhabitants. Eventually he climbs the tower, sees Briar Rose and, being smitten by her beauty, kisses her. She awakens. As she wakes, the other sleepers in the castle wake.

††††††††††† The following day, amidst great celebration, Briar Rose and her prince are wed.

Rhymes/Special Phrases/ ďFlavorĒ: In this particular version, there are no rhymes or special phrases. The only "flavor" of the tale is the traditional fairy tale elements, "Once upon a time," and "They lived happily ever after."

Audience: This particular version of "The Sleeping Beauty" is most appropriate for early adolescents, especially girls. Despite the argument that children can and do identify with protagonists of the opposite sex, research shows this to be questionable. By the age of five, boys are beginning to select other boys as play partners to the active exclusion of girls. This trend does not reverse until after puberty, when dating begins. Even during middle and late adolescence, young men spend more time with their same sex peers than they do with young women.

Bettelheim argues that the long sleep of one hundred years represents the lassitude of adolescence. During the years following the menarche, represented by the drawing of blood, girls and young women, like their male peers, enter a period marked by sleep. Although these young people go about their lives, they spend much of their unstructured time in sleep. This may be the long, enchanted sleep of the sleeping beauty.

††††††††††† However, Bettelheimís argument does not explain the fact that the entire court sleeps along with the girl. As young people enter formal operational thought described by Jean Piaget, they again experience an ego-centrism in their world-view. Unlike the earlier preoperational ego-centrism, this period of ego-centrism concerns abstract thoughts and problems. As young people try to solve their own problems and those of the world using logic, it must appear to them that everyone around them is asleep. Parents and other adults with more experience, realize that the solutions offered by adolescents, while logical, are not feasible.

The sleeping court, including Beautyís parents, are not able to communicate with her nor she with them. This is another common occurrence during adolescence.

††††††††††† The sleep in the castle, protected by the great thorned forest, also reveals the adolescent "personal fable" described by David Elkind. Adolescents often believe that they are safe from the misfortunes that touch the lives of others. Some even believe that they are destined for great fame and fortune because of their own uniqueness. They see themselves as immune from the vissitudes of a mundane world in a castle of their own imaginations.

††††††††††† The adolescents limited empathy for others creates a thorny barrier between young people and the outside world.

††††††††††† While Beauty sleeps, many possible rescuers die on the thorns. It is not until she is ready for adult responsibilities that she awakens. When she does, the entire court wakes, thus opening her communication with the outside world and her own birth family.

Bibliographic Information on versions and/or variants:

Versions: The Sleeping Beauty

††††††††††† Association for Childhood Education International. (1930). Told Under the Green Umbrella. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc.

††††††††††† Dalgliesh, Alice. (1947). The Enchanted Book. New York: Charles Scribnerís Sons.

††††††††††† Darrell, Margery. (1972). Once Upon a Time. New York: The Viking Press.

††††††††††† De La Mare, Walter. (1927). Tales Told Again. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

††††††††††† Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Thorn Rose. Illustrated by Errol Le Cain. London: Faber and Faber, Ltd.

††††††††††† Roberts, L. W. (1955). South from Hell-fer-Sartin. Lexington, Kentucky: University of Kentucky Press.

††††††††††† Shub, Elizabeth. (1971). About Wise Men and Simpletons. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc.

††††††††††† Thompson, Stith. (1968) One Hundred Favorite Folktales. Bloomington, Indiana: Indian University Press.

††††††††††† The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

††††††††††† Arbuthnot, May Hill. (1952). Time for Fairy Tales Old and New. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company.

††††††††††† Carter, Angela. (1982). Sleeping beauty and Other Favorite Fairy Tales. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd.

††††††††††† Haviland, Virginia. (1959). Favorite Fairly Tales Told in France. Boston: Little Brown.

††††††††††† Lang, Andrew. (1965). The Blue Fairy Book. New York: Dover Press.

††††††††††† Perrault, Charles in Holme, Bryan (ed.). (1977). Tales from Times Past. New York: The Viking Press.


††††††††††† Massignon, Genevieve. (1968). Folktales of France. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

††††††††††† Mathers, E. Powys. (1923). The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night. London: The Casanova Society.††††††††††

Comparison of versions and variants:

Association for Childhood Education International. This version does not included a frog who tells the queen that she will have a child. It has only seven fairies, six good and one evil. On her fifteenth birthday, the princess wanders away from her party into a forest where she sees a tower. She enters the tower and climbs it. It is there that she pricks her finger and fall asleep.

Dalgliesh, Alice. In this version, the fairies are replaced by wise women. The door to the tower room is locked by a rusty key. The name "Briar Rose" is introduced as part of the legend told to the prince.

Darrell, Margery. This is a fairly standard version, including the frog, thirteen fairies, and the rusty key.

De La Mare. This is an extremely detailed telling. The language is literary. It includes rhymes used by the old woman who is spinning in the tower room and by the evil fairy who curses the princess. At her christening, the princess is described as small enough to be cradled in the leaf of a water-lily. The princess does not fall asleep in the tower room. She takes the spindle, hidden in her skirts, to her own room. When questioned by her mother, she says that she will show what she is hiding later. It is, of course, not to be as she draws blood and falls asleep in her own chambers. The prince is helped in gaining entry to the castle by a fire that burns a path while he sleeps. When he kisses her, she sighs, drops the spindle and wakes.

This telling is specific that they marry seven days later, having bidden all the fairies to attend. The fairy who cursed the princess does not arrive and is never heard from again.

††††††††††† Roberts, L. W. This telling has the on-set of the curse set at age eighteen.

††††††††††† Shub, Elizabeth. The frog is replaced by a crab. The fairies are described as "dowager fairies."

††††††††††† Thompson, Stith. This telling is very brief and is attributed to a Swedish source.


Arbuthnot, May Hill. This telling mentions the second episode that contains the ogress, but deems it unsuitable for an audience of young children.

Carter, Angela. There are seven fairies in this version. The castle in which Sleeping Beauty meets her fate is not her home, but one which she visits. The good fairy who protected the princess from death returns and puts everyone to sleep along with her, with the notable exception of the king and queen. The second episode that shows the early years of the marriage of the prince and princess is included. This part of the tale introduces the ogress-mother of the prince from whom he keeps his wife and their young children, Dawn and Day, for a number of years. However, when war calls him away, his family is at the mercy of his mother. She orders the children and then their mother slain and served to her as a meal. When she finds her orders have not been carried out, she takes matters into her own hands. It is only the return of the prince that saves his family from death. His return also brings about the death of his mother at her own hand.

Haviland, Virginia. This version is quite similar to that of Carter.

Lang, Andrew. The names of the children of the prince and sleeping beauty in this version are Morning and Day. Otherwise there are few differences from other versions of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods."

Perrault, Charles in Holme, Bryan (ed.). This tale is a translation from the French of the original story told by Perrault.

Massignon, Genevieve. Omitting the first part of the story, this tale begins as the prince is in the forest hunting, He comes upon a castle guarded by a seven-headed monster. The monster admits the prince, telling him that he is awaited. The prince meets a girl who says that she has been waiting for him for a hundred years when her Godmother told her that the prince would come. The Godmother arrives and tells the prince that, in order to marry the princess, he must slay the seven-headed monster. The Godmother also provides a sword that will cut off all seven heads with one blow. The prince succeeds in his mission, is haled by a rook as the son of King Arthur and announces that the prince shall have the Princess Yolanda as his bride. They marry at the end of a month. All the fairies attend. The Prince and Princess are told that they will be the parents of seven children each of whom will receive a golden ball at birth. The tale concludes saying that the couple does have seven children and many grandchildren. It also says that the castle of the seven-headed monster still stands.

Mathers, E. Powys. "The Ninth Captainís Tale" is one of the tales told by Shahrazade(sic) to King Sharyar. This story is about a young girl, Sittukhan, born to a woman who has longed for a child. The child, however, is born with a curse. In a time and place when women spin flax, the child will die from its touch. At the age of ten, Sittukhan is seen by the son of the Sultan, who falls in love with her. He goes home and pines for this girl. In order to help the Sultanís son regain his health, an old woman goes to Sittukhan and tells her that she must learn to spin flax. Against her parents wished, she does try to spin, pierces her finger with a sliver of flax and falls as if dead. Her parents are advised to build a pavilion in the midst of the river in which to lay their child. They build a marble pavilion and place her body in it. When the Sultanís son sees her there, he is overcome with grief and, weeping, takes her hand in his. Seeing the flax, he pulls it from her hand. Sittukhan awakens. They lie together in the pavilion for forty days and nights. Following this time, the son returns twice to his home and then returns to Sittukhan. The third and final time he tells her that he will never see her again. Sittukhan finds a magic ring. At her behest, the ring builds a palace for Sittukhan next to the palace of the Sultan. The Sultanís son sees her, but does not recognize her. He sends his mother with valuable gifts to woo the beautiful girl. Sittukhan treats these gifts as trifles. When asked what would induce her to marry the Sultanís son, Sittukhan demands that he feign death, be wound in seven winding sheets and be carried in funeral procession to her garden. The son consents and all is done as Sittukhan has demanded. When everyone leaves her garden, Sittukhan unwinding the Sultanís son and "they dwelt together in love delight."