THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
Once upon a time there was a king and queen who for a very long time had no children, and when at length a little daughter was born to them they were so pleased that they gave a christening feast to which they invited a number of fairies. But, unfortunately, they left out one rather cross old fairy, and she was so angry that she said the princess should die when she reached the age of sixteen, by pricking her hand with a spindle.
All the other fairies present, except one, had already given the princess their beautiful gifts, and this last one said she could not prevent part of the wicked wish coming true; but her gift should be that the princess should not really die, but only fall into a deep sleep, which should last for a hundred years, and at the end of that time she should be awakened by a king’s son.
It all happened as the fairies had predicted. When the princess was sixteen years old she saw an old woman spinning and took the spindle from her to try this strange new work. Instantly she pricked her hand and fell into a deep sleep, as did everyone else in the palace. There she lay in a bower of roses, year after year, and the hedge around the palace garden grew so tall and thick that at last you could not have told that there was a castle at all.
At the end of the hundred years a king’s son heard of the castle and the enchanted princess who lay asleep there and determined to rescue her. So he cut his way through the thick prickly hedge and at length he came to the princess. When he saw how lovely and how sweet she looked he fell in love with her and, stooping, kissed her lips.
At once she awoke and with her the king and queen and all the courtiers, who had fallen asleep at the same time.
As the princess was as much taken with the prince’s appearance as he was with hers, they decided to be married. And so the wedding was celebrated the same day with great pomp and ceremony.
SNOWDROP AND SEVEN LITTLE DWARFS
Once upon a time there was a little princess called Snowdrop, who had a cruel step-mother who was jealous of her. The Queen had a magic mirror, which could speak to her, and when she looked into it and asked who was the fairest lady in the land the mirror told her she was, for she was very beautiful; but as Snowdrop grew up she became still more lovely than her step-mother and the mirror did not fail to tell the Queen this.
So she ordered one of her huntsmen to take Snowdrop away and kill her; but he was too tender-hearted to do this and left the maiden in the wood and went home again. Snowdrop wandered about until she came to the house of seven little dwarfs, and they were so kind as to take her in and let her live with them. She used to make their seven little beds, and prepare the meals for the seven little men, and they were all quite happy until the Queen found out from her mirror that Snowdrop was alive still, for, as it always told the truth, it still told her Snowdrop was the fairest lady in the land.