There was formerly. in a
distant country, a king and queen, the most beautiful and happy in the
world having nothing but the want of children to participate in the
pleasures they enjoyed. This was their whole concern, physicians,
waters, vows, and offerings were tried, but all to no purpose. At last,
however, the queen proved with child, and in due time was brought to bed
of a daughter. At the christening, the princess had seven fairies for
her god-mothers, who were all they could find in the whole kingdom, that
every one might give her a gift.
The christening being
over, a grand feast was prepared to entertain and thank the fairies.
Before each of them was placed a magnificent cover, with a spoon, a
knife, and a fork, of pure gold and excellent workmanship, set with
divers precious stones; but, as they were all sitting down at the table,
they saw come into the hall a very old fairy, whom they had not invited,
because it was near fifty years since she had been out of a certain
tower, and was thought to have been either dead or enchanted.
The king ordered her a
cover, but could not furnish her with a case of gold as the others had,
because he had only seven made for the seven fairies. The old fairy,
thinking she was slighted by not being treated in the same manner as the
rest, murmured out some threats between her teeth.
One of the young fairies
who sat by her, overheard how she grumbled, and judging that she might
give the little princess some unlucky gift, she went, as soon as she
rose from the table, and hid herself behind the hangings, that she might
speak last, and repair, as much as possibly she could, the evil which
the old fury might intend.
In the meantime, all the
fairies began to give their gifts to the princess in the following
The youngest gave her a
gift that she should he the most beautiful person in the world.
The third, that she would
have a wonderful grace in everything that she did.
The fourth, that she would sing perfectly
sixth, that she would play on all kinds of musical instruments to the
utmost degree of perfection.
The old fairy's turn coming next, she
advanced forward, and, with a shaking head which seemed to show more
spite than age. she said, "That the princess would have her hands
pierced with a spindle, and die of the wound."
This terrible gift made the whole company
tremble, and every one of them fell a-crying.
At this very instant, the young fairy came
out from behind the curtains, and spoke these words aloud: "Assure.
yourselves, O king and queen, that your daughter shall not die of this
disaster. It is true. I have not power to undo what my elder has done.
The princess shall indeed pierce her hand with a spindle; but instead of
dying, she shall only fall into a profound sleep. She shall last a
hundred years, at the expiration of which a king's son shall come, and
awake her from it."
The king, to avoid this misfortune told by
the old splenetic and malicious fairy, caused immediately his royal
proclamation to be issued forth, whereby every person was forbidden,
upon pain of death, to spin with a distaff or spindle; nay, even so much
as to have a spindle in any of their houses.
About fifteen or sixteen years after, the
king and queen being gone to one of their houses of pleasure, the young
princess happened to divert herself by going up and down the palace,
when, going up from one apartment to another, she at length came into a
little room at the top of the tower, where an old woman was sitting all
alone, and spinning with her spindle.
This good woman had not heard of the king's
proclamation against spindles.
"What are you doing there Goody?" said the
spinning, my pretty child," said the old woman, who did not know who she
"Ha '' said
the princess, "that is very pretty; how do you do it? Give it to me,
that I may see if I can do so."
The old woman, to satisfy the child's
curiosity, granted her request. She had no sooner taken it into her
hand, than, whether being very hasty at it and somewhat unhandy, or that
the decree of the spiteful fairy had ordained it, is not to be certainly
ascertained, bt, however, it immediately ran into her hand, and she
directly fell down upon the ground in a swoon.
The good old woman, not knowing what to do
in this affair, cried out for help. People came in from every quarter in
great numbers. Some threw water upon the princess's face, unlaced her,
struck her on the palms of her hands, and rubbed her temples with
Hungary water; but all they could do did not bring her to herself.
The good fairy who had saved her life, by
condemning her to sleep one hundred years, was in the. kingdom of
Matakin, twelve thousand leagues off, when this accident befel the
princess; but she was instantly informed of it by a little dwarf, who
had boots of seven leagues: that is, boots with which he could tread
over seven leagues of ground at one stride. The fairy left the kingdom
immediately, and arrived at the palace in about an hour after, in a
fiery chariot drawn by dragons.
The king handed her out of the chariot, and
she aproved of everything he had done: but, as she had a very great
foresight, she thought that when the princess should awake, she might
not know what to do with herself, being all alone in this old palace;
therefore, she touched with her wand everything in the palace, except
the king and queen, governesses, maids of honour, ladies of the
bed-chamber. gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks, under-cooks,
scullions, guards, with their beef-eaters, pages, and footmen. She
likewise touched all the horses that were in the stables, as well pads
as others, the great dog in the outer court, and the little spaniel
bitch which lay by her on the bed.
Immediately on her touching them they all
fell asleep, that they might not wake before their mistress, and that
they might be ready to wait upon her when she wanted them. The very
spits at the fire, as full as they could be of partridges and pheasants,
and everything in the palace, whether animate or inanimate, fell asleep
All this was
done in a moment, for fairies are not long in doing their business.
And now the king and queen, having kissed
their child without waking her, went out of the palace, and put forth a
proclamation that nobody should come near it. This, however, was
unnecessary, for in less than a quarter of an hour there got up all
around the park such a vast number of trees, great and small bushes, and
brambles, twined one within the other, that neither man nor beast could
pass through, so that nothing could be seen but the very tops of the
towers of the palace, and not that even, unless it was a good way off.
Nobody doubted but the fairy gave therein a very extraordinary sample of
her art, that the princess, while she remained sleeping, might leave
nothing to fear from any curious people.
When a hundred years had gone, the son of a
king then reigning, and who was of another country from that of the
sleeping princess, being out a-hunting on that side of the country,
asked what these towers were which he saw in the midst of a great thick
wood. Every one answered accordigly as they had heard; some said it was
all old ruinous castle, haunted by spirits; others, that all the
sorcerers and witches kept their sabbath, or weekly meeting, in that
common opinion was that an ogre lived there, and that he carried thither
all the little children he could catch, that he might eat them up at his
leisure, without anybody being able to follow him, as having himself
only power to pass through the wood.
The prince was at a stand, not knowing what
to believe, when an aged man spoke to him thus:-
"May it please your highness, it is about
fifty years since I heard from my father, who heard from his grandfather
say that there was then in this castle a princess, the most beautiful
that was ever seen, that she must sleep there for a hundred years, and
would be wakened by a king's son, for whom she was reserved."
The young prince was all on fire at these
words, believing, without considering the matter, that he could put an
end to this rare adventure, and, pushed on by love and honour, resolved
that moment to look into it.
Scarce had he advanced towards the wood,
when all the great trees, the bushes, and brambles, gave way of their
own accord, and let him pass through. He went up to the castle, which he
saw at the end of a large avenue, which he went into; and what not a
little surprised him was he saw none of his people could follow him,
because the trees closed again as soon as he passed through them.
However, he did not cease from valiantly
continuing his way. He carne into a spacious outward court, where
everything he saw might have frozen up the most hardy person with
horror. There reigned all over a most frightful silence; the image of
death everywhere showed itself, and there was nothing to be seen but
stretched-out bodies of men and animals, all seeming to be dead.
He, however, very well knew, by the rosy
races and the pimpled noses of the beef-eaters, that they were merely
asleep; and their goblets, wherein still remained some few drops of
wine, plainly showing that they all had fallen asleep in their cups.
He then, crossing a court paved with marble,
went upstairs, and came into the guard-chamber, where the guards were
standing in their ranks, with their muskets upon their shoulders, and
snoring as loud as they could. After that, he went through several rooms
full of gentlemen and ladies all asleep, some standing and others
At last he
came into a chamber all gilt with gold; here he saw upon a bed, the
curtains of which were all open, the finest sight that ever he behelda
princess, who appeared to be about fifteen or sixteen years of age, and
whose resplendent beauty had in it something divine. He approached with
trembling and admiration, and fell down before her on his knees. And now
the enchantment was at an end; the princess awaked, and looked on him
with eyes more tender than the first view might seem to admit of.
"Is it you, my prince?" she said to him; you
have waited a long time."
Thge prince, charmed with these words, and
much more with the manner in which they were spoke, assured her that he
loved her better than himself.
Their discourse was so well conducted that
they did weep more that talk; there was very little eloquence, but a
great deal of love. He was more at a loss than she was, and no wonder,
as she had time to think on what to say to him; for it is very probable,
though the history mentions nothing of it, that the good fairy, during
so long a sleep, had given her agreeable dreams. In short, they talked
four hours together, and yet said not half of what they had got to say.
In the meantime, all in the palace awaked,
every one thinking on his particular business; and as all of them were
not in love, they were ready to die with hunger. The chief lady of
honour, being as sharp set as the others, grew very impatient, and told
the princess aloud that the supper was served up. The prince helped the
princess to rise, she being entirely dressed, and very magnificent,
though his royal highness did not forget to tell her that she was
dressed like his grandmother, and had a point-band over a high collar;
but. however, she looked no less beautiful and charming for all that.
They went into the great hall of looking
glasses, where they supped, and were served by the officers of the
princess; the violins and hautboys played all old tunes, but very
excellent, though it was now, about a hundred years since they had
lived. And after supper without any loss of time, the lord almoner
married them in the chapel of' the castle, and the chief lady of honour
drew the curtains.
They had but very little sleep that night, the princess had no occasion;
and the prince left her the next morning to return into the city, where
his father had peril in great pain anxious for his return.
The prince told him he had lost his way in
the forest as he was hunting, and had lain at the cottage of a collier,
who had given him some brown bread and cheese.
The king, his father, who was a very good
man, readily believed him; but his mother, the queen, could not be
persuaded that this was altogether true; and seeing that he went almost
every day a-hunting, and that he had always found some excuse for so
doing. though he had lain out three or four nights together, she begin
to suspect (and very justly too) his having some little private amour,
which he then endeavoured that she should remain ignorant of.
Now these frequent excursions, which he then
made from the palace, were the times that he retired to the princess.
with whom he lived in this manner for about two years, and for whom he
had two fine children, the eldest of whom was a girl, whom they named
Morning, and the youngest a boy, whom they named Day, because he was a
great deal handsomer and much more beautiful and comely than the sister.
The queen's jealousy increasing, she several
times spoke to her son, desiring him to inform her after what manner he
spent his time, alleging that, as he saw her so very uneasy, he ought in
duty to satisfy her. But he never dared to trust her with his secret,
for she was of the race of ogres, and the king would certainly not have
married her had it not been for her vast riches.
It was whispered among the court that she
had an ogrish inclination, and that whenever she saw some children going
by, she had all the difficulty in the world to refrain from falling upon
them; so the prince would never tell her one word.
But when the king was dead, which happened
years afterwards, and he saw himself lord and master, he then openly
declared his marriage, and went in great ceremony to conduct his queen
to the palace. They made a very magnificent entry into the city, with
their two children beside them.
Some time after, the king went to make war
with the Emperor Cantalabute, his neighbour.
He left the government of the kingdom to the
queen, his mother, and earnestly recommended to her the care of his wife
soon as he was departed, the queen sent for her daughter-in-law to come
to her, and then sent her to a country house among the woods, that she
might with more ease and secrecy gratify her inclinations.
Some day's after she went to this country
house herself, and calling for the clerk of the kitchen, she said to
him, "I have a mind to eat little Morning for my dinner to-morrow."
"Ah, madam," cried the clerk of the kitchen
in a very great surprise.
"No excuse," replied she, interrupting him;
"I will have it so,"and this she spoke in the tone of all ogress,
seeming to have a strong desire to taste fresh meat. "And to make the
dish more delicious," added she, "I will eat her with sauce made of
man, knowing very well how dangerous it was to play tricks with
ogresses, took his great knife and went up into little Morning's
chamber. She was then four years of age, and came up to him leaping and
laughing, to take him about the neck, and asked him for some
sugar-candy, on which he began to weep, and the knife fell out of his
hand; and he went into the back yard and killed a lamb, which he dressed
with such good sauce that his mistress assured him she had never eaten
anything so good in all her life.
He had at the same time taken up little
Morning, and carried her to his wife, in order that she might be
concealed in a lodging which he had at the bottom of the courtyard.
The queen's lascivious appetite (according
to her own apprehensions) being once humoured, she again began to long
for another dainty bit. Accordingly, a few days after, she called for
the clerk of the kitchen, and told him that she intended that night to
sup out of little Day. He answered never a word, being resolved to cheat
her as he had done before. He went to find little Day, and saw him with
a foil in his hand, with which he was fencing with a monkey, the child
being; but three years old. He took him up in his arms and carried him
to his wife, that she might conceal him in her chamber, along with his
sister; and, in the room of little Day, cooked up a young kid very
tender, which the ogress praised as much as the former, saving it was
All hitherto was mighty well; but a few evenings after this craving, the
ogress said to the clerk of the kitchen, "1 will also eat the young
queen with the same sauce that I had with the. children."
Now was the critical time, for the poor
clerk despaired of being able to deceive her.
The young queen was turned of twenty years
of age, not counting; the hundred years she had been asleep. Though her
skin was somewhat tough, yet she was fair and beautiful: and how to find
a beast in the yard so firm that he might kill and cook to appease her
canine appetite, was what puzzled him greatly, and made him totally at a
loss what to do.
then took a resolution that he must save his own life, and cut the
queen's throat; and going into her chamber with an intent to do it at
once, he put himself into as great a fury as he could, went into the
queen's room with his dagger in his hand. However, his humanity would
not allow him to surprise her, but he told her, with a great deal of
respect, the orders he had received from the queen her mother.
"Do it," said she, stretching out her neck;
execute your orders, and I shall go and see my children, whom I so
dearly love." For she thought them dead ever since they had been taken
princess! " cried the human clerk of the kitchen, all in tears; "you
shall see your children again. But then you shall go with me to my
lodgings, where I have concealed them; and I shall deceive the queen
once more by giving her another young kid in your stead."
Upon this he forthwith conducted her to her
chamber, where he left her to embrace her children, and cry aloud with
them; and he then went and dressed a young kid, which the queen had for
supper, and devoured it with the same appetite as though it had been the
was she exceedingly delighted with this unheard of cruelty; and she had
invented a story to tell the king; at his return how the mad wolves had
eaten up the queen, his wife, with her two children.
One evening some time after, as she was,
according to her usual custom, rambling about the court and yards of the
palace to see if she could smell any fresh meat, she heard, in a ground
room, little Day crying, for his mother was going to whip him because he
had been guilty of some fault, and she heard at the same time little
Morning soliciting pardon for her brother.
The ogress presently knew the voice of the
queen and her children, and being quite in a rage to think she had been
thus deceived, she commanded the next morning, by break of day, in a
most terrible voice, which made every one tremble, that they should
bring into the middle of the court a very large tub, which she caused to
be filled with toads, vipers, snakes, and all sorts of serpents, in
order to throw into it the queen and her children, the clerk of the
kitchen, his wife and maid; all of whom she had given orders to have
brought thither, with their hands tied behind them, to suffer the
vengeance of the incensed ogress.
They were brought out accordingly, and the
executioners were going to throw them into the tub, when the king
fortunately entered the court in his carriage, and asked with the utmost
astonishment, what was meant by this horrid spectacle, no one daring to
ogress saw what had happened, she fell into a violent passion, and threw
herself head foremost into the tub, and was instantly devoured by the
ugly creatures she had ordered to be thrown into in by others.
The king could not but grieve, being very
sorry, for she was his mother; but he soon comforted himself with his
beautiful wife, and his two pretty children.
And after all things were settled, he well
rewarded the clerk of the kitchen for his wisdom, humanity and
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