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by the Grimm Brothers
Along time ago there were a king and queen who said every day,
"Ah, if only we had a child," but they never had one.
But it happened that once when the queen was bathing, a frog crept
out of the water on to the land, and said to her, "Your wish shall
be fulfilled, before a year has gone by, you shall have a
What the frog had said came true, and the queen had a little girl
who was so pretty that the king could not contain himself for joy,
and ordered a great feast. He invited not only his kindred,
friends and acquaintances, but also the wise women, in order that
they might be kind and well-disposed towards the child. There were
thirteen of them in his kingdom, but, as he had only twelve golden
plates for them to eat out of, one of them had to be left at home.
The feast was held with all manner of splendor and when it came to
an end the wise women bestowed their magic gifts upon the baby -
one gave virtue, another beauty, a third riches, and so on with
everything in the world that one can wish for.
When eleven of them had made their promises, suddenly the
thirteenth came in. She wished to avenge herself for not having
been invited, and without greeting, or even looking at anyone, she
cried with a loud voice, "The king's daughter shall in her
fifteenth year prick herself with a spindle, and fall down dead."
And, without saying a word more, she turned round and left the
They were all shocked, but the twelfth, whose good wish still
remained unspoken, came forward, and as she could not undo the
evil sentence, but only soften it, she said, it shall not be
death, but a deep sleep of a hundred years, into which the
princess shall fall.
The king, who would fain keep his dear child from the misfortune,
gave orders that every spindle in the whole kingdom should be
burnt. Meanwhile the gifts of the wise women were plenteously
fulfilled on the young girl, for she was so beautiful, modest,
good-natured, and wise, that everyone who saw her was bound to
It happened that on the very day when she was fifteen years old,
the king and queen were not at home, and the maiden was left in
the palace quite alone. So she went round into all sorts of
places, looked into rooms and bed-chambers just as she liked, and
at last came to an old tower. She climbed up the narrow
winding-staircase, and reached a little door. A rusty key was in
the lock, and when she turned it the door sprang open, and there
in a little room sat an old woman with a spindle, busily spinning
"Good day, old mother," said the king's daughter, "what are you
"I am spinning," said the old woman, and nodded her head.
"What sort of thing is that, that rattles round so merrily," said
the girl, and she took the spindle and wanted to spin too. But
scarcely had she touched the spindle when the magic decree was
fulfilled, and she pricked her finger with it.
And, in the very moment when she felt the prick, she fell down
upon the bed that stood there, and lay in a deep sleep. And this
sleep extended over the whole palace, the king and queen who had
just come home, and had entered the great hall, began to go to
sleep, and the whole of the court with them. The horses, too, went
to sleep in the stable, the dogs in the yard, the pigeons upon the
roof, the flies on the wall, even the fire that was flaming on the
hearth became quiet and slept, the roast meat left off frizzling,
and the cook, who was just going to pull the hair of the scullery
boy, because he had forgotten something, let him go, and went to
sleep. And the wind fell, and on the trees before the castle not a
leaf moved again.
But round about the castle there began to grow a hedge of thorns,
which every year became higher, and at last grew close up round
the castle and all over it, so that there was nothing of it to be
seen, not even the flag upon the roof. But the story of the
beautiful sleeping briar-rose, for so the princess was named, went
about the country, so that from time to time kings' sons came and
tried to get through the thorny hedge into the castle. But they
found it impossible, for the thorns held fast together, as if they
had hands, and the youths were caught in them, could not get loose
again, and died a miserable death.
After long, long years a king's son came again to that country,
and heard an old man talking about the thorn-hedge, and that a
castle was said to stand behind it in which a wonderfully
beautiful princess, named briar-rose, had been asleep for a
hundred years, and that the king and queen and the whole court
were asleep likewise. He had heard, too, from his grandfather,
that many kings, sons had already come, and had tried to get
through the thorny hedge, but they had remained sticking fast in
it, and had died a pitiful death.
Then the youth said, "I am not afraid, I will go and see the
beautiful briar-rose." The good old man might dissuade him as he
would, he did not listen to his words.
But by this time the hundred years had just passed, and the day
had come when briar-rose was to awake again. When the king's son
came near to the thorn-hedge, it was nothing but large and
beautiful flowers, which parted from each other of their own
accord, and let him pass unhurt, then they closed again behind him
like a hedge. In the castle yard he saw the horses and the spotted
hounds lying asleep, on the roof sat the pigeons with their heads
under their wings. And when he entered the house, the flies were
asleep upon the wall, the cook in the kitchen was still holding
out his hand to seize the boy, and the maid was sitting by the
black hen which she was going to pluck.
He went on farther, and in the great hall he saw the whole of the
court lying asleep, and up by the throne lay the king and queen.
Then he went on still farther, and all was so quiet that a breath
could be heard, and at last he came to the tower, and opened the
door into the little room where briar-rose was sleeping.
There she lay, so beautiful that he could not turn his eyes away,
and he stooped down and gave her a kiss. But as soon as he kissed
her, briar-rose opened her eyes and awoke, and looked at him quite
Then they went down together, and the king awoke, and the queen,
and the whole court, and looked at each other in great
astonishment. And the horses in the courtyard stood up and shook
themselves, the hounds jumped up and wagged their tails, the
pigeons upon the roof pulled out their heads from under their
wings, looked round, and flew into the open country, the flies on
the wall crept again, the fire in the kitchen burned up and
flickered and cooked the meat, the joint began to turn and sizzle
again, and the cook gave the boy such a box on the ear that he
screamed, and the maid finished plucking the fowl.
And then the marriage of the king's son with briar-rose was
celebrated with all splendor, and they lived contented to the end
of their days.