He wished to invite all the wise women in the land, for these wise women could grant fairy gifts to his little child.
There were thirteen of them, but only twelve were invited, as the king had only twelve golden plates.
After the dinner was over, the wise women in turn arose from the table and named their fairy gifts to the little princess.
The first gave to her goodness; the second, beauty; the third, riches; and so on, up to the last.
Before the twelfth wise woman could speak, in walked the thirteenth.
This woman was in a great rage because she had not been invited.
She cried in a loud voice, “When the princess is fifteen years old she shall prick her finger with a spindle and shall fall down dead.”
At these words every one turned pale with fright.
The twelfth wise woman, who had not yet spoken, now came up and said:
“I could not stop this woman’s evil words, I can only make them less harsh.
The king’s child shall not die, but a deep sleep shall fall upon her, in which she shall stay one hundred years.”
The little princess was so beautiful, so kind; and so good that no one who knew her could help loving her.
As she grew older the king and queen began to feel very unhappy, for they could not help thinking of what was to happen to their dear little daughter.
They ordered all the spindles in the kingdom to be burned.
Now, as it happened, on the very day that the princess was fifteen years old the king and queen were away from home.
The princess was quite alone in the castle, and she rain about over the palace, looking in at rooms and halls, just as her fancy led her.
At last she came to an old tower at the top of a winding stair.
She saw a little door.
In the lock was a rusty key.
When she turned it, the door flew open.
There, in a small room, sat an old woman with her spindle, spinning flax.
“Good Morning,” said the princess. “Do tell me what that funny thing is that jumps about so.”
And then she held out her hand to take the spindle.
It came about just as the fairy had foretold.
The princess pricked her finger with the spindle.
At once she fell upon a bed which was near, and lay in a deep sleep as if dead.
This sleep came not only upon the princess, but spread over the whole castle.
The king and queen, who had just come home, fell asleep, and all their lords and ladies with them.
The horses went to sleep in the stable; the dogs in the yard; the doves on the roof; the flies on the wall; yes, even the fire that burned in the fireplace grew still and slept.
The meat stopped roasting before the fire.
The cook in the kitchen was just going to box the ears of the kitchen boy, but her hand dropped and she sank to sleep.