Sleeping Beauty

tales of Aarne-Thompson-Uther type 410
translated and/or edited by

D. L. Ashliman

© 1998-2023


  1. Sun, Moon, and Talia (Giambattista Basile).

  2. The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood (Charles Perrault).

  3. Little Brier-Rose, version of 1812 (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm).

  4. Maruzzedda (Italy).

  5. The Beautiful Anna (Italy.

  6. Sun, Pearl, and Anna (Italy).

  7. An Old Story (Ireland).

  8. The Enchanted Princess; or, The Magic Tower (Greece).

  9. The Ninth Captain's Tale (1001 Nights).

  10. Links to related sites.

Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

Sun, Moon, and Talia

Giambattista Basile

There once lived a great lord, who was blessed with the birth of a daughter, whom he named Talia. He sent for the wise men and astrologers in his lands, to predict her future. They met, counseled together, and cast her horoscope, and at length they came to the conclusion that she would incur great danger from a splinter of flax. Her father therefore forbade that any flax, hemp, or any other material of that sort be brought into his house, so that she should escape the predestined danger.

One day, when Talia had grown into a young and beautiful lady, she was looking out of a window, when she beheld passing that way an old woman, who was spinning. Talia, never having seen a distaff or a spindle, was pleased to see the twirling spindle, and she was so curious as to what thing it was, that she asked the old woman to come to her. Taking the distaff from her hand, she began to stretch the flax. Unfortunately, Talia ran a splinter of flax under her nail, and she fell dead upon the ground. When the old woman saw this, she became frightened and ran down the stairs, and is running still.

As soon as the wretched father heard of the disaster which had taken place, he had them, after having paid for this tub of sour wine with casks of tears, lay her out in one of his country mansions. There they seated her on a velvet throne under a canopy of brocade. Wanting to forget all and to drive from his memory his great misfortune, he closed the doors and abandoned forever the house where he had suffered this great loss.

After a time, it happened by chance that a king was out hunting and passed that way. One of his falcons escaped from his hand and flew into the house by way of one of the windows. It did not come when called, so the king had one of his party knock at the door, believing the palace to be inhabited. Although he knocked for a length of time, nobody answered, so the king had them bring a vintner's ladder, for he himself would climb up and search the house, to discover what was inside. Thus he climbed up and entered, and looked in all the rooms, and nooks, and corners, and was amazed to find no living person there. At last he came to the salon, and when the king beheld Talia, who seemed to be enchanted, he believed that she was asleep, and he called her, but she remained unconscious. Crying aloud, he beheld her charms and felt his blood course hotly through his veins. He lifted her in his arms, and carried her to a bed, where he gathered the first fruits of love. Leaving her on the bed, he returned to his own kingdom, where, in the pressing business of his realm, he for a time thought no more about this incident.

Now after nine months Talia delivered two beautiful children, one a boy and the other a girl. In them could be seen two rare jewels, and they were attended by two fairies, who came to that palace, and put them at their mother's breasts. Once, however, they sought the nipple, and not finding it, began to suck on Talia's fingers, and they sucked so much that the splinter of flax came out. Talia awoke as if from a long sleep, and seeing beside her two priceless gems, she held them to her breast, and gave them the nipple to suck, and the babies were dearer to her than her own life. Finding herself alone in that palace with two children by her side, she did not know what had happened to her; but she did notice that the table was set, and food and drink were brought in to her, although she did not see any attendants.

In the meanwhile the king remembered Talia, and saying that he wanted to go hunting, he returned to the palace, and found her awake, and with two cupids of beauty. He was overjoyed, and he told Talia who he was, and how he had seen her, and what had taken place. When she heard this, their friendship was knitted with tighter bonds, and he remained with her for a few days. After that time he bade her farewell, and promised to return soon, and take her with him to his kingdom. And he went to his realm, but he could not find any rest, and at all hours he had in his mouth the names of Talia, and of Sun and Moon (those were the two children's names), and when he took his rest, he called either one or other of them.

Now the king's wife began to suspect that something was wrong from the delay of her husband while hunting, and hearing him name continually Talia, Sun, and Moon, she became hot with another kind of heat than the sun's. Sending for the secretary, she said to him, "Listen to me, my son, you are living between two rocks, between the post and the door, between the poker and the grate. If you will tell me with whom the king your master, and my husband, is in love, I will give you treasures untold; and if you hide the truth from me, you will never be found again, dead or alive." The man was terribly frightened. Greed and fear blinded his eyes to all honor and to all sense of justice, and he related to her all things, calling bread bread, and wine wine.

The queen, hearing how matters stood, sent the secretary to Talia, in the name of the king, asking her to send the children, for he wished to see them. Talia, with great joy, did as she was commanded. Then the queen, with a heart of Medea, told the cook to kill them, and to make them into several tasteful dishes for her wretched husband. But the cook was tender hearted and, seeing these two beautiful golden apples, felt pity and compassion for them, and he carried them home to his wife, and had her hide them. In their place he prepared two lambs into a hundred different dishes. When the king came, the queen, with great pleasure, had the food served.

The king ate with delight, saying, "By the life of Lanfusa, how tasteful this is"; or, "By the soul of my ancestors, this is good."

Each time she replied, "Eat, eat, you are eating of your own."

For two or three times the king paid no attention to this repetition, but at last seeing that the music continued, he answered, "I know perfectly well that I am eating of my own, because you have brought nothing into this house"; and growing angry, he got up and went to a villa at some distance from his palace, to solace his soul and alleviate his anger.

In the meanwhile the queen, not being satisfied of the evil already done, sent for the secretary and told him to go to the palace and to bring Talia back, saying that the king longed for her presence and was expecting her. Talia departed as soon as she heard these words, believing that she was following the commands of her lord, for she greatly longed to see her light and joy, knowing not what was preparing for her. She was met by the queen, whose face glowed from the fierce fire burning inside her, and looked like the face of Nero.

She addressed her thus, "Welcome, Madam Busybody! You are a fine piece of goods, you ill weed, who are enjoying my husband. So you are the lump of filth, the cruel bitch, that has caused my head to spin? Change your ways, for you are welcome in purgatory, where I will compensate you for all the damage you have done to me."

Talia, hearing these words, began to excuse herself, saying that it was not her fault, because the king her husband had taken possession of her territory when she was drowned in sleep; but the queen would not listen to her excuses, and had a large fire lit in the courtyard of the palace, and commanded that Talia should be cast into it.

The lady, perceiving that matters had taken a bad turn, knelt before the queen, and begged her to allow her at least to take off the garments she wore. The queen, not for pity of the unhappy lady, but to gain also those robes, which were embroidered with gold and pearls, told her to undress, saying, "You can take off your clothes. I agree." Talia began to take them off, and with every item that she removed she uttered a loud scream. Having taken off her robe, her skirt, the bodice, and her shift, she was on the point of removing her last garment, when she uttered a last scream louder than the rest. They dragged her towards the pile, to reduce her to lye ashes which would be used to wash Charon's breeches.

The king suddenly appeared, and finding this spectacle, demanded to know what was happening. He asked for his children, and his wife -- reproaching him for his treachery -- told him that she had had them slaughtered and served to him as meat. When the wretched king heard this, he gave himself up to despair, saying, "Alas! Then I, myself, am the wolf of my own sweet lambs. Alas! And why did these my veins know not the fountains of their own blood? You renegade bitch, what evil deed is this which you have done? Begone, you shall get your desert as the stumps, and I will not send such a tyrant-faced one to the Colosseum to do her penance!"

So saying, he commanded that the queen should be cast into the fire which she had prepared for Talia, and the secretary with her, because he had been the handle for this bitter play, and weaver of this wicked plot. He was going to do the same with the cook, whom he believed to be the slaughterer of his children, when the man cast himself at his feet, saying, "In truth, my lord, for such a deed, there should be nothing else than a pile of living fire, and no other help than a spear from behind, and no other entertainment than twisting and turning within the blazing fire, and I should seek no other honor than to have my ashes, the ashes of a cook, mixed up with the queen's. But this is not the reward that I expect for having saved the children, in spite of the gall of that bitch, who wanted to kill them and to return to your body that which was of your own body."

Hearing these words, the king was beside himself. He thought he was dreaming, and he could not believe what his own ears had heard. Therefore, turning to the cook, he said, "If it is true that you have saved my children, be sure that I will take you away from turning the spit, and I will put you in the kitchen of this breast, to turn and twist as you like all my desires, giving you such a reward as shall enable you to call yourself a happy man in this world."

While the king spoke these words, the cook's wife, seeing her husband's need, brought forth the two children, Sun and Moon, before their father. And he never tired at playing the game of three with his wife and children, making a mill wheel of kisses, now with one and then with the other. He gave a generous reward to the cook, he made him a chamberlain. He married Talia to wife; and she enjoyed a long life with her husband and her children, thus experiencing the truth of the proverb:

Those whom fortune favors
Find good luck even in their sleep.

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

Charles Perrault

There were formerly a king and a queen, who were so sorry that they had no children; so sorry that it cannot be expressed. They went to all the waters in the world; vows, pilgrimages, all ways were tried, and all to no purpose.

At last, however, the queen had a daughter. There was a very fine christening; and the princess had for her godmothers all the fairies they could find in the whole kingdom (they found seven), that every one of them might give her a gift, as was the custom of fairies in those days. By this means the princess had all the perfections imaginable.

After the ceremonies of the christening were over, all the company returned to the king's palace, where was prepared a great feast for the fairies. There was placed before every one of them a magnificent cover with a case of massive gold, wherein were a spoon, knife, and fork, all of pure gold set with diamonds and rubies. But as they were all sitting down at table they saw come into the hall a very old fairy, whom they had not invited, because it was above fifty years since she had been out of a certain tower, and she was believed to be either dead or enchanted.

The king ordered her a cover, but could not furnish her with a case of gold as the others, because they had only seven made for the seven fairies. The old fairy fancied she was slighted, and muttered 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, went, as soon as they rose from table, and hid herself behind the hangings, that she might speak last, and repair, as much as she could, the evil which the old fairy might intend.

In the meanwhile all the fairies began to give their gifts to the princess. The youngest gave her for gift that she should be the most beautiful person in the world; the next, that she should have the wit of an angel; the third, that she should have a wonderful grace in everything she did; the fourth, that she should dance perfectly well; the fifth, that she should sing like a nightingale; and the sixth, that she should play all kinds of music to the utmost perfection.

The old fairy's turn coming next, with a head shaking more with spite than age, she said that the princess should have her hand pierced with a spindle and die of the wound. This terrible gift made the whole company tremble, and everybody fell a crying.

At this very instant the young fairy came out from behind the hangings, and spake these words aloud: "Assure yourselves, O King and Queen, that your daughter shall not die of this disaster. It is true, I have no power to undo entirely 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, which shall last a hundred years, at the expiration of which a king's son shall come and awake her."

The king, to avoid the misfortune foretold by the old fairy, caused immediately proclamation to be made, whereby everybody was forbidden, on pain of death, to spin with a distaff and spindle, or to have so much as any spindle in 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 one day to divert herself in running up and down the palace; when going up from one apartment to another, she came into a little room on the top of the tower, where a good old woman, alone, was spinning with her spindle. This good woman had never heard of the king's proclamation against spindles.

"What are you doing there, goody?" said the princess.

"I am spinning, my pretty child," said the old woman, who did not know who she was.

"Ha!" said the princess, "this is very pretty; how do you do it? Give it to me, that I may see if I can do so."

She had no sooner taken it into her hand than, whether being very hasty at it, somewhat unhandy, or that the decree of the fairy had so ordained it, it ran into her hand, and she fell down in a swoon.

The good old woman, not knowing very well what to do in this affair, cried out for help. People came in from every quarter in great numbers; they 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 nothing would bring her to herself.

And now the king, who came up at the noise, bethought himself of the prediction of the fairies, and, judging very well that this must necessarily come to pass, since the fairies had said it, caused the princess to be carried into the finest apartment in his palace, and to be laid upon a bed all embroidered with gold and silver.

One would have taken her for a little angel, she was so very beautiful; for her swooning away had not diminished one bit of her complexion; her cheeks were carnation, and her lips were coral; indeed, her eyes were shut, but she was heard to breathe softly, which satisfied those about her that she was not dead. The king commanded that they should not disturb her, but let her sleep quietly till her hour of awaking was come.

The good fairy who had saved her life by condemning her to sleep a hundred years was in the kingdom of Matakin, twelve thousand leagues off, when this accident befell 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 in one stride. The fairy came away immediately, and she arrived, about an hour after, in a fiery chariot drawn by dragons.

The king handed her out of the chariot, and she approved everything he had done, but as she had very great foresight, she thought when the princess should awake she might not know what to do with herself, being all alone in this old palace; and this was what she did: she touched with her wand everything in the palace (except the king and queen) -- governesses, maids of honor, ladies of the bedchamber, gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks, undercooks, scullions, guards, with their beefeaters, pages, footmen; she likewise touched all the horses which were in the stables, pads as well as others, the great dogs in the outward court and pretty little Mopsey too, the princess's little spaniel, which lay by her on the bed.

Immediately upon her touching them they all fell asleep, that they might not awake 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 hold of partridges and pheasants, did fall asleep also. All this was done in a moment. Fairies are not long in doing their business.

And now the king and the queen, having kissed their dear child without waking her, went out of the palace and put forth a proclamation that nobody should dare to come near it.

This, however, was not necessary, for in a quarter of an hour's time there grew up all round about the park such a vast number of trees, great and small, bushes and brambles, twining one within another, that neither man nor beast could pass through; so that nothing could be seen but the very top of the towers of the palace; and that, too, not unless it was a good way off. Nobody; doubted but the fairy gave herein a very extraordinary sample of her art, that the princess, while she continued sleeping, might have nothing to fear from any curious people.

When a hundred years were gone and passed the son of the king then reigning, and who was of another family from that of the sleeping princess, being gone a hunting on that side of the country, asked:

What those towers were which he saw in the middle of a great thick wood?

Everyone answered according as they had heard. Some said that it was a ruinous old castle, haunted by spirits.

Others, that all the sorcerers and witches of the country kept there their sabbath or night's meeting.

The 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 the power to pass through the wood.

The prince was at a stand, not knowing what to believe, when a very good countryman spake to him thus: "May it please your royal highness, it is now about fifty years since I heard from my father, who heard my grandfather say, that there was then in this castle a princess, the most beautiful was ever seen; that she must sleep there a hundred years, and should be waked by a king's son, for whom she was reserved."

The young prince was all on fire at these words, believing, without weighing the matter, that he could put an end to this rare adventure; and, pushed on by love and honor, resolved that moment to look into it.

Scarce had he advanced toward the wood when all the great trees, the bushes, and brambles gave way of themselves to let him pass through; he walked up to the castle which he saw at the end of a large avenue which he went into; and what a little surprised him was that he saw none of his people could follow him, because the trees closed again as soon as he had passed through them. However, he did not cease from continuing his way; a young and amorous prince is always valiant.

He came into a spacious outward court, where everything he saw might have frozen the most fearless 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 ruby faces and pimpled noses of the beefeaters, that they were only asleep; and their goblets, wherein still remained some drops of wine, showed plainly that they fell asleep in their cups.

He then crossed a court paved with marble, went up the stairs and came into the guard chamber, where 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, others sitting. At last he came into a chamber all gilded with gold, where he saw upon a bed, the curtains of which were all open, the finest sight was ever beheld -- a princess, who appeared to be about fifteen or sixteen years of age, and whose bright and, in a manner, resplendent beauty, had somewhat in it divine. He approached with trembling and admiration, and fell down before her upon his knees.

And now, as the enchantment was at an end, the princess awaked, and looking on him with eyes more tender than the first view might seem to admit of. "Is it you, my prince?" said she to him. "You have waited a long while."

The prince, charmed with these words, and much more with the manner in which they were spoken, knew not how to show his joy and gratitude; he assured her that he loved her better than he did himself; their discourse was not well connected, they did weep more than talk -- little eloquence, a great deal of love. He was more at a loss than she, and we need not wonder at it; she had time to think on what to say to him; for it is very probable (though history mentions nothing of it) that the good fairy, during so long a sleep, had given her very agreeable dreams. In short, they talked four hours together, and yet they said not half what they had to say.

In the meanwhile all the palace awaked; everyone thought upon their particular business, and as all of them were not in love they were ready to die for hunger. The chief lady of honor, being as sharp set as other folks, grew very impatient, and told the princess aloud that supper was served up. The prince helped the princess to rise; she was entirely dressed, and very magnificently, but his royal highness took care not to tell her that she was dressed like his great-grandmother, and had a point band peeping over a high collar; she looked not a bit less charming and beautiful for all that.

They went into the great hall of looking-glasses, where they supped, and were served by the princess's officers, the violins and hautboys played old tunes, but very excellent, though it was now above a hundred years since they had played; and after supper, without losing any time, the lord almoner married them in the chapel of the castle, and the chief lady of honor drew the curtains. They had but very little sleep -- the princess had no occasion; and the prince left her next morning to return to the city, where his father must needs have been in pain for him. The prince told him that he lost his way in the forest as he was hunting, and that he had lain in the cottage of a charcoal burner, who gave him cheese and brown bread.

The king, his father, who was a good man, believed him; but his mother could not be persuaded it was true; and seeing that he went almost every day a hunting, and that he always had some excuse ready for so doing, though he had lain out three or four nights together, she began to suspect that he was married, for he lived with the princess above two whole years, and had by her two children, the eldest of which, who was a daughter, was named Morning, and the youngest, who was a son, they called Day, because he was a great deal handsomer and more beautiful than his sister.

The queen spoke several times to her son, to inform herself after what manner he did pass his time, and that in this he ought in duty to satisfy her. But he never dared to trust her with his secret; he feared her, though he loved her, for she was of the race of the ogres, and the king would never have married her had it not been for her vast riches; it was even whispered about the court that she had ogreish inclinations, and that, whenever she saw little children passing by, she had all the difficulty in the world to avoid falling upon them. And so the prince would never tell her one word.

But when the king was dead, which happened about two years afterward, and he saw himself lord and master, he openly declared his marriage; and he went in great ceremony to conduct his queen to the palace. They made a magnificent entry into the capital city, she riding between her two children.

Soon after, the king went to make war with the Emperor Contalabutte, his neighbor. He left the government of the kingdom to the queen his mother, and earnestly recommended to her care his wife and children. He was obliged to continue his expedition all the summer, and as soon as he departed the queen mother sent her daughter-in-law to a country house among the woods, that she might with the more ease gratify her horrible longing.

Some few days afterward she went thither herself, and said to her clerk of the kitchen:

"I have a mind to eat little Morning for my dinner tomorrow."

"Ah! madam," cried the clerk of the kitchen.

"I will have it so," replied the queen (and this she spoke in the tone of an ogress who had a strong desire to eat fresh meat), "and will eat her with a sauce Robert."

The poor man, knowing very well that he must not play tricks with ogresses, took his great knife and went up into little Morning's chamber. She was then four years old, and came up to him jumping and laughing, to take him about the neck, and ask him for some sugar candy. Upon which he began to weep, the great knife fell out of his hand, and he went into the back yard, and killed a little lamb, and dressed it with such good sauce that his mistress assured him that she had never eaten anything so good in her life. He had at the same time taken up little Morning, and carried her to his wife, to conceal her in the lodging he had at the bottom of the courtyard.

About eight days afterward the wicked queen said to the clerk of the kitchen, "I will sup on little Day."

He answered not a word, being resolved to cheat her as he had done before. He went to find out little Day, and saw him with a little foil in his hand, with which he was fencing with a great monkey, the child being then only three years of age. 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 found to be wonderfully good.

This was hitherto all mighty well; but one evening this wicked queen said to her clerk of the kitchen, "I will eat the queen with the same sauce I had with her children."

It was now that the poor clerk of the kitchen despaired of being able to deceive her. The young queen was turned of twenty, not reckoning the hundred years she had been asleep; and how to find in the yard a beast so firm was what puzzled him. He took then a resolution, that he might save his own life, to cut the queen's throat; and going up into her chamber, with intent to do it at once, he put himself into as great fury as he could possibly, and came into the young queen's room with his dagger in his hand. He would not, however, surprise her, but told her, with a great deal of respect, the orders he had received from the queen mother.

"Do it; do it" (said she, stretching out her neck). "Execute your orders, and then I shall go and see my children, my poor children, whom I so much and so tenderly loved," for she thought them dead ever since they had been taken away without her knowledge.

"No, no, madam" (cried the poor clerk of the kitchen, all in tears); "you shall not die, and yet you shall see your children again; but then you must go home with me to my lodgings, where I have concealed them, and I shall deceive the queen once more, by giving her in your stead a young hind."

Upon this he forthwith conducted her to his chamber, where, leaving her to embrace her children, and cry along with them, he went and dressed a young hind, which the queen had for her supper, and devoured it with the same appetite as if it had been the young queen. Exceedingly was she delighted with her 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 and her two children.

One evening, as she was, according to her custom, rambling round about the courts 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 mamma was going to whip him, because he had been naughty; and she heard, at the same time, little Morning begging pardon for her brother.

The ogress presently knew the voice of the queen and her children, and being quite mad that she had been thus deceived, she commanded next morning, by break of day (with a most horrible voice, which made everybody tremble), that they should bring into the middle of the great court a large tub, which she caused to be filled with toads, vipers, snakes, and all sorts of serpents, in order to have thrown into it the queen and her children, the clerk of the kitchen, his wife and maid; all whom she had given orders should be brought thither with their hands tied behind them.

They were brought out accordingly, and the executioners were just going to throw them into the tub, when the king (who was not so soon expected) entered the court on horseback (for he came post) and asked, with the utmost astonishment, what was the meaning of that horrible spectacle.

No one dared to tell him, when the ogress, all enraged to see what had happened, threw herself head foremost into the tub, and was instantly devoured by the ugly creatures she had ordered to be thrown into it for others. The king could not but be very sorry, for she was his mother; but he soon comforted himself with his beautiful wife and his pretty children.


Many a girl has waited long
For a husband brave or strong;
But I'm sure I never met
Any sort of woman yet
Who could wait a hundred years,
Free from fretting, free from fears.

Now, our story seems to show
That a century or so,
Late or early, matters not;
True love comes by fairy-lot.
Some old folk will even say
It grows better by delay.

Yet this good advice, I fear,
Helps us neither there nor here.
Though philosophers may prate
How much wiser 'tis to wait,
Maids will be a-sighing still --
Young blood must when young blood will!

Little Brier-Rose

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

A king and queen had no children, although they wanted one very much. Then one day while the queen was sitting in her bath, a crab crept out of the water onto the ground and said, "Your wish will soon be fulfilled, and you will bring a daughter into the world." And that is what happened.

The king was so happy about the birth of the princess that he held a great celebration. He also invited the fairies who lived in his kingdom, but because he had only twelve golden plates, one had to be left out, for there were thirteen of them.

The fairies came to the celebration, and as it was ending they presented the child with gifts. The one promised her virtue, the second one gave beauty, and so on, each one offering something desirable and magnificent. The eleventh fairy had just presented her gift when the thirteenth fairy walked in. She was very angry that she had not been invited and cried out, "Because you did not invite me, I tell you that in her fifteenth year, your daughter will prick herself with a spindle and fall over dead."

The parents were horrified, but the twelfth fairy, who had not yet offered her wish, said, "It shall not be her death. She will only fall into a hundred-year sleep." The king, hoping to rescue his dear child, issued an order that all spindles in the entire kingdom should be destroyed.

The princess grew and became a miracle of beauty. One day, when she had just reached her fifteenth year, the king and queen went away, leaving her all alone in the castle. She walked from room to room, following her heart's desire. Finally she came to an old tower. A narrow stairway led up to it. Being curious, she climbed up until she came to a small door. There was a small yellow key in the door. She turned it, and the door sprang open. She found herself in a small room where an old woman sat spinning flax. She was attracted to the old woman, and joked with her, and said that she too would like to try her hand at spinning. She picked up the spindle, but no sooner did she touch it, than she pricked herself with it and then fell down into a deep sleep.

At that same moment the king and his attendants returned, and everyone began to fall asleep: the horses in the stalls, the pigeons on the roof, the dogs in the courtyard, the flies on the walls. Even the fire on the hearth flickered, stopped moving, and fell asleep. The roast stopped sizzling. The cook let go of the kitchen boy, whose hair he was about to pull. The maid dropped the chicken that she was plucking. They all slept. And a thorn hedge grew up around the entire castle, growing higher and higher, until nothing at all could be seen of it.

Princes, who had heard about the beautiful Brier-Rose, came and tried to free her, but they could not penetrate the hedge. It was as if the thorns were firmly attached to hands. The princes became stuck in them, and they died miserably. And thus it continued for many long years.

Then one day a prince was traveling through the land. An old man told him about the belief that there was a castle behind the thorn hedge, with a wonderfully beautiful princess asleep inside with all of her attendants. His grandfather had told him that many princes had tried to penetrate the hedge, but that they had gotten stuck in the thorns and had been pricked to death.

"I'm not afraid of that," said the prince. "I shall penetrate the hedge and free the beautiful Brier-Rose."

He went forth, but when he came to the thorn hedge, it turned into flowers. They separated, and he walked through, but after he passed, they turned back into thorns. He went into the castle. Horses and colorful hunting dogs were asleep in the courtyard. Pigeons, with their little heads stuck under they wings, were sitting on the roof. As he walked inside, the flies on the wall, the fire in the kitchen, the cook and the maid were all asleep. He walked further. All the attendants were asleep; and still further, the king and the queen. It was so quiet that he could hear his own breath.

Finally he came to the old tower where Brier-Rose was lying asleep. The prince was so amazed at her beauty that he bent over and kissed her. At that moment she awoke, and with her the king and the queen, and all the attendants, and the horses and the dogs, and the pigeons on the roof, and the flies on the walls. The fire stood up and flickered, and then finished cooking the food. The roast sizzled away. The cook boxed the kitchen boy's ears. And the maid finished plucking the chicken. Then the prince and Brier-Rose got married, and they lived long and happily until they died.


Italy (Sicily)

Once upon a time there was a poor shoemaker who had three beautiful daughters. The youngest was the most beautiful. Her name was Maruzzedda [Little Maria]. The older sisters did not like Maruzzedda because she was so extremely beautiful. The shoemaker was poor and often had to go from place to place day after day without earning anything.

One day he said to his oldest daughter: "Come with me tomorrow when I go out to look for work. Maybe then I'll have better luck. The oldest daughter went with him, and he earned one tarì.

Then he said: "Listen, I am hungry. Let's spend ten grani on food and take ten grani back to the others."

They did this, bought themselves something to eat, and gave the others half the money. The next morning the shoemaker took the second daughter with him and earned three carlini.

Then he said: "Let us spend 15 graini on food and take 15 graini to the others."

That is what they did, and took home half the money.

On the third day the shoemaker took the Maruzzedda with him, and this time he earned two tarì. Then he said: "Listen, Maruzzedda, let us spend one tari on food, and just take home one tarì for your sisters."

But she answered: "No, father, it would be better for us to go home straight away and eat together."

When the father arrived home, he told the two sisters what had happened, and they said: "Just look at this rogue daughter. Shouldn't she always do just what you want?"

With such words they incited the father against the innocent Maruzzedda.

The next morning he took her with him again and earned three tarì. Once again he said: "Listen, Maruzzedda, let us spend three carlini for our food and take the other three carlini home to your sisters.

She answered: "No, dear Father, it would be better to go home straight away. Why shouldn't we all eat together?"

When the father came home, once again he told his other daughters what had happened.

They spoke even harsher words about the poor sister: "Why do you want to keep that impudent girl in the house any longer? If you drive her away, you'll be rid of her."

But the father did not want to do this.

Then the sisters said: "Take her with you tomorrow and leave her alone in some lonely place, so that she cannot find her way home."

The father was blinded and allowed himself to be deceived by the sisters, and he took Maruzzedda with him the next morning.

Traveling far he came to a completely unknown region, and said to her: "Wait for me a moment and rest. I will come back shortly."

Maruzzeddda sat down, and the shoemaker went away. She waited and waited, but her father did not come back. The sun was setting, and the father still didn't come.

Then she finally thought very sadly: "For sure my father wants to abandon me, so I will just wander out into the wide world."

So she walked away, and walked until she was tired, and nightfall was approaching. At first she did not know where to find shelter, but then she saw a magnificent castle in the distance. She walked towards it, went inside and climbed the stairs, but she did not meet anyone. Then she went through the rooms, which were lavishly decorated, and in one of them there was a well-furnished table, but there were no people there. Finally she came to the last room, where she saw a beautiful maiden lying on a bier. She was dead.

"There is no one here, so I will just stay here until someone comes and chases me away."

She sat down at the table, ate and drank as much as she wanted, and then went to sleep in a beautiful bed. She lived like that for a long time, and no one bothered her.

One day it happened that her father came by just as she was looking out the window. When he saw her, he greeted her joyfully, for he was sorry to have left her, and he asked her how she was doing.

"Oh, I'm fine," replied Maruzzedda, "I've taken a job here and I am doing well."

"May I come up a little?" asked the father.

"No, no!" she replied. "My masters are very strict about this. They do not allow me to let anyone in. Farewell, and greet my sisters."

The shoemaker went home and told his daughters that he had found Maruzzedda again. Then they misled him again with false words so that he became angry with the innocent Maruzzedda. A few days later the envious sisters baked a cake filled with poison and gave it to their father to take to the poor girl.

However, that night while Maruzzedda was asleep, the dead maiden appeared to her in a dream and called to her: "Maruzzedda! Maruzzedda!"

"What do you want?" asked Maruzzedda, half asleep and half awake.

"Tomorrow your father will bring you a beautiful cake, but be careful not to eat it, because it is poisoned. Instead, first give a piece of it to the cat."

With that Maruzzedda woke up and found herself alone. So she thought: "I must have been dreaming," and fell back asleep.

The next morning she saw her father coming. She let him come up the steps, but did not want to let him inside. "If my masters see you, they will dismiss me from my job."

"Well then, my child," answered the shoemaker, "your sisters send you their greetings, and they send you this cake."

"Tell my sisters that the cake is very beautiful," replied Maruzzedda. "I thank them very much for it."

"Don't you want to taste a little piece?" asked the father.

"No, I can't," she answered, "because now I have work to do. Later, when my work is finished, I'll taste it."

Then she gave him some money and told him to go. When he was gone, she gave the cat a piece of the cake, and after a few moments the cat died. Then she realized how truthfully the dead maiden had warned her, and she threw the cake away.

The envious sisters had no peace at home and wanted to know what had happened to Maruzzedda. Thus one morning the shoemaker set off again to the castle. When he knocked there, Maruzzedda came to meet him, completely safe and sound.

"How are you, dear child?" he asked."

"I'm doing quite well, dear father," she replied.

"Let me look around the castle," he asked.

"What are you thinking?" she said. "That would cost me my job."

Then she gave him some money and sent him away.

When the father returned to his daughters and told them that Maruzzedda was completely healthy, they hated their poor sister even more than before. Then they made a beautiful hat that was enchanted so that whoever put it on would remain rigid and motionless. The shoemaker was to take this hat to Maruzzedda.

That night the dead maiden once again appeared to Maruzzedda in a dream and called to her: "Maruzzedda! Maruzzedda!"

"What do you want?" she asked.

"Tomorrow morning your father will bring you a beautiful, fine hat," said the dead maiden. But be careful not to put it on, for if you do so, you will become rigid and motionless."

The next morning the shoemaker came and brought his daughter the beautiful hat.

"Tell my sisters that the hat is very beautiful, and I thank them very much," she said to her father.

"Don't you just want to put it on, so I can see how it looks on you?" he asked.

"No, no, I have to work now," she answered. "Later, when I go to mass, I will wear it."

With that she gave him some money and told him to go. But she put the hat in a box and did not tear it up, as she actually should have done. The sisters were now convinced that Maruzzedda had hurt herself with the hat, and they did not worry about her any further.

By God's grace the dead maiden was now allowed to enter heavenly glory. Then she appeared to Maruzzerda for the last time in a dream and said: "God grants me to enter into my peace. I leave this castle and everything in it to you. Live happily and enjoy these riches."

With that she disappeared, and the bier remained empty.

A long time had now passed when one day Maruzzedda remembered to tidy up her boxes and chests. She picked up the enchanted hat, and because it had been so long, she forgot who had sent it to her and thought: "Oh, what a pretty hat! I will try it on."

But as soon as she put the hat on, she became rigid and motionless and could no longer move at all. But in the night the dead maiden appeared, because the Lord had allowed her to come back to earth. She took poor Maruzzedda and put her on the bier, then she flew back to paradise. Now Maruzzedda lay there as if dead; but she neither turned pale nor did she become cold.

One day after she had lain there for a long time, the king went hunting and came to the area around the castle. There he saw a beautiful bird, shot at it, and hit it. The bird fell into the room where Maruzzedda was lying on the bier. The king tried to enter the castle, but all the doors were locked, and no one answered his knock, so he had two of his hunters climb in through the window. When they saw the beautiful girl they forgot the bird and the king. All they could do was to look at the dead Maruzzedda.

The king became impatient and finally called out: "What are you doing in there? Hurry up!"

Then they came to the window and asked the king to come inside, because there was a girl there of such wonderful beauty that they had never seen anything like it. The king climbed into the room through the window, and when he saw Maruzzedda, he could not take his eyes from her.

He leaned over her and noticed that she was still warm.

He shouted: "The girl is not dead. She has only feinted. Let's try to revive her."

So they tried to awaken her. They rubbed her and untied her dress, but it was all in vain. Maruzzedda remained rigid. Then the king finally took off her hat to cool her forehead, and she immediately opened her eyes and woke up from her slumber.

Then the king called out: "You shall be my wife," and embraced her.

However, the king had a mother who was an evil sorceress. So he was afraid to take Maruzzedda with him to his castle.

He said to Maruzzedda: "Stay here. I will come as often as I can."

So Maruzzedda lived in the castle and was secretly married to the king. He came and visited her whenever he went hunting.

After a year she gave birth to her first son and named him T'amo [I love you]. Another year later she gave birth to her second son and named him T'amai [I loved you]. And yet another year later she had a third son, and she named him T'amerò [I will love you].

Now the old queen had noticed that her son went hunting very often and was absent for a long time. She made many inquiries and finally heard about his marriage.

Then she summoned a trusted servant and said: "Go to the castle where the king's wife lives and say to her: 'My lady, the queen will accept you favorably if you will send your eldest son to her today.'"

The servant did this, and poor Maruzzedda allowed herself to be deceived and gave him her eldest son. The next day the old queen sent for the second son and then the third.

When she had all three children with her, she summoned her cook and said to him: "You must kill these three children and bring me their livers and hearts as proof."

Now the cook had children of his own, and his fatherly heart took pity on the poor, innocent little ones, so he did not kill them, but instead took them to his house and hid them there. Then he brought the hearts and livers of three little goats to the queen.

At that time the king was sick and was lying in his bed.

Then the old queen again sent a messenger to Maruzzedda. He said to her: "Your husband is sick. Come and take care of him."

Maruzzedda put on three dresses, one on top of the other, and then she went to the castle. When she entered the courtyard, a big fire was burning there.

The old queen stood there and called out: "Throw the slut into the fire!"

Then Maruzzedda begged: "Let me first take off my clothes."

With that she pulled off the first dress and called out in a loud, piercing voice: "Tamo!"

Now the queen had a whole band of musicians lined up in front of the king's door, and they were to play with all their might so that the king could not hear anything that was going on in the courtyard. But he did hear his wife's call, even if only very faintly.

"Stop your music!" he shouted, but the musicians continued to play as loudly as they could.

Then Maruzzedda pulled off the second dress and shouted even louder: "T'amai!"

This time the king heard it better and called out again: "Stop your music!"

But the musicians had received orders from the queen not to obey him, and they continued to play.

Then Maruzzedda pulled off the third dress, and in the anguish of her heart she cried as loudly as she could: "T'amerò!"

The king heard her scream, jumped out of bed, and ran down to the courtyard. When he got there, the servants were about to throw poor Maruzzedda into the fire. He stopped them and ordered them instead to bind the old queen and throw her into the fire.

Then he hugged his wife and said: "Now you shall be queen."

"Oh," she replied, "but above all else, take me to my children!"

"Where are the children?" asked the king.

"Why are they not here?" cried the poor mother. "O my children, my dear children!"

Then she told the king how his mother had sent for the three children, but no one knew about them, and there was great sadness in the castle.

Then the cook called to the king and said to him: "Your Majesty, and you, Madam Queen, take comfort! The little children are safe and sound in my house. The old queen had indeed ordered me to kill them, but my heart took pity on them, and I let them live."

Then the three children were brought forth, and their parents hugged them with great joy. Then the king and queen celebrated a lovely feast, and they generously rewarded the faithful cook.

Thus they lived joyfully and contentedly, but we came away with nothing.

The Beautiful Anna

Italy (Sicily)

Once upon a time there were three sisters, all three of whom were very beautiful, but the youngest was the most beautiful of all. Her name was Anna. The three girls had neither father nor mother and lived from their handwork. The first spun and coiled the yarn, the second wove the linen, and the youngest sewed shirts and other clothing from it.

One day as they were sitting in front of the house door doing their work, the king's son came by on his way to hunting. Seeing the three beautiful girls, he said: "How beautiful is the one who spins, how beautiful is the one who weaves, but the one who sews is the most beautiful of all."

The two older sisters became jealous when they heard that the prince liked their sister better than them, and the oldest said: "Tomorrow I will sew, and Anna can spin."

But when the next morning the prince rode past again, he said: "How beautiful is the one who sews, how beautiful is the one who weaves, but the one who spins is the most beautiful of all."

The sisters became even more jealous, and on the third morning Anna had to weave. But this time the prince said: "How beautiful is the one who sews, how beautiful is the one who spins, but the one who weaves is the most beautiful of all."

The sisters could no longer stand poor Anna, and they discussed how they could do away with her. They decided to take her to a wilderness area and leave her there alone so that she could not find her way back home again.

So the oldest sister said to Anna: "Anna, come with me. Here is some dirty laundry that we should wash in a stream."

Anna agreed to this, and so the two went on their way.

When they came to a wilderness area, the sister said: "Oh, Anna, I forgot to bring the soap with me. Wait for me here for a while I go back and get it."

The beautiful Anna sat down and waited for her sister, and waited, and waited, but no one came. Then she began to cry bitterly, and thought: "She left me alone on purpose so that I should die. So be it. I will not go back to my sisters, but instead, I'll wander out into the wide world to seek my fortune."

So she set forth and wandered until she finally came to a large, beautiful house. She knocked, and a woman opened the door and asked her what she wanted.

"Oh, good woman," begged the beautiful Anna, "please let me rest here tonight. I am a poor girl and am all alone in the world."

"Oh, you poor child," said the woman, "how did you get here? If my husband finds you, he will eat you. But I feel sorry for you and will try to hide you. Maybe I will be able to dissuade him."

So the woman hid the beautiful Anna. Soon afterward her husband came home, grumbling: "I smell human flesh! I smell human flesh!"

"So what?" answered the woman. "You always smell human flesh. That's because you've already eaten so many people. Just think, today a girl came by here who was more beautiful than the sun. I believe that if you had seen her, you would have let her live."

When she saw that her husband had calmed down, she brought out the beautiful Anna, and she was so beautiful that the ogre loved her with all his heart and did not want to eat her.

"Stay with us, you beautiful girl." he said. "We will take good care of you."

So the beautiful Anna stayed with the ogre and his wife and was treated like a member of the family.

But after a while the ogre died, and soon after him, his wife died as well. The beautiful Anna stayed alone in the big house, and now all the property belonged to her.

One day she was standing on the balcony when her oldest sister walked past. She recognized the beautiful Anna straight away and asked how she was doing.

"I'm fine," replied Anna, but she did not invite her sister to come inside.

"If I had known that I would meet you here, I would have brought you a present," said the sister.

"Thank you," replied Anna, "but I don't need anything, and I don't want to receive anything from anyone."

The oldest sister went back home and said to the second sister: "Think about it, I have seen our sister Anna. She has become even more beautiful, is dressed finely, and lives in a big house."

The hearts of the two sisters were filled with envy, and they planned how they could destroy poor Anna. They took a grape and poisoned it, and the next day the oldest sister set out to see the beautiful Anna. She was sitting on her terrace working.

When her sister saw her, she went up and called out in a very friendly way: "Oh, dear little sister, how happy I am to see you again. And how beautiful you have become! Look, I have brought you a beautiful grape. Eat it as a favor to me."

"Thank you," replied Anna, "but as you can see, I have the whole garden full of grapes. I don't need yours."

But the sister did not stop begging until Anna finally put the grape in her mouth. The grape stuck in her throat, and she fell over as if she were dead. With that the sister left her lying there on the terrace and went home satisfied.

Now one day it happened that the prince was out hunting, and he passed by the house. He saw a beautiful bird sitting on the terrace, and he shot it. The bird fell onto the terrace. Then the prince went up the stairs and wandered through all the rooms, but he did not see a human soul. However, when he came to the terrace, there was a beautiful girl lying there, and when he looked at her more closely, it was the beautiful Anna.

He began to cry and laid his hands on her and said: "How pretty is this little nose, how pretty is this little mouth, but there is something wrong with this little neck."

When he touched her neck the grape popped out, and the beautiful Anna opened her eyes. She was alive again.

Then the prince rejoiced and said: "You shall be my wife."

Now at home he had an evil mother, so he could not bring the beautiful Anna to his castle. He left her in her own house, and every day when he went out hunting, he came and visited her.

A year later, Anna gave birth her first son, and because he was so beautiful she named him "Sun." After another year she gave birth to a beautiful girl and named her "Moon."

The children thrived and became more and more beautiful, but their mother was still not allowed to come to the royal castle. But still, the prince came and visited her every day. However, once he became ill, so ill that he had to stay in bed for many days and was not able to go to her.

He said over and over again: "Oh my son Sun, oh my daughter Moon, what is my wife Anna doing all alone?"

The old queen heard this and immediately summoned her son's trusted servant and said to him: "If you don't tell me straight away who the prince is talking about, I will rip your head off."

The servant confessed to her that Anna was the prince's wife and that Sun and Moon were his beautiful children.

"Well," said the queen, "Go immediately to Madam Anna and say to her: 'Your husband has confessed everything to his mother, and she now wants to see her little grandchildren.' Then take the children, murder them, and bring me their hearts and tongues for proof."

The servant sadly went to the beautiful Anna and told her that the prince had sent him to fetch his children. The beautiful Anna dressed the children in their most beautiful clothes and handed them over to the servant. He led them away, but when he was supposed to murder them, he took pity on the innocent children. He let them live and brought them to his own mother. He took the hearts and tongues of two young goats to the queen.

The next morning the queen sent him back to bring the beautiful Anna herself to the castle. Now the beautiful Anna had three dresses that were decorated with little bells, one with silver bells, one with gold bells and one with diamond bells. She put all three of them on: one on top of the other.

Then she went to the castle. But in the castle courtyard there was a big fire burning beneath a cauldron with boiling oil. The old queen was standing next to it and ordered that poor Anna should be thrown into the boiling oil. With that the beautiful Anna pulled off her three dresses, at the same time ringing all of her bells. They sounded so sweet and yet so loud that the prince heard them in his room. He jumped up and saw how the servants were about to grab the beautiful Anna and throw her into the boiling oil.

"Stop!" he cried, and freed the beautiful Anna from their hands. Instead of her, he had the evil queen thrown into the oil.

Full of joy, he embraced his wife, but she cried out: "Oh, where are my dear children whom you sent for yesterday?"

"I didn't send for my children," cried the prince, terribly frightened. It was certainly my evil mother. Oh my children! My dear children!"

Then the servant came, threw himself at the prince's feet and confessed everything. He told him that the little children were safe and sound with his own mother. When the children were brought forth, they embraced their parents with joy.

There were three days of festivities. The prince became king, and the beautiful Anna became queen. They remained happy and content, but we came away with nothing.

Sun, Pearl, and Anna

Italy (Sicily)

Ladies and gentlemen, once upon a time there were a king and a queen. This king and this queen had no children, and from the bottom of their hearts they wanted a son or a daughter. The lord took mercy on them, and the queen became pregnant.

At that time there still were astrologers. They summoned an astrologer, and the king said to him: "Tell me, what will the queen have?"

The astrologer looked at the king and said: "The queen will have a girl, but . . . " And he remained stuck on the word but.

The king said to him: "What do you mean with but?"

"Your majesty, when this girl is thirteen years old, she will touch a spindel, and it will place her under a spell."

Upon hearing this, this king said: "We must immediately build an undergound house."

In the meantime, the queen made the necessary preparations. The hour approached, and she brought a beautiful girl into the world. Just imagine what joy there was in the palace! They put the little one, together with her nurse, underground, where they could see neither heaven nor earth.

To be sure, the little one grew from hour to hour without seeing anything. One day when she was nearly seven years old, the nurse thought that she was asleep.

She said: "I'm going to relax a bit."

She picked up a spindle and a distaff and began to spin, hoping that the little one was fast asleep. That is what she did, and what happened next? She laid the spindle and the distaff on a chair and went into the next room to drink a glass of water. And who woke up? -- The little one.

The little one climbed out of her bed and saw the spindle. That was something new for her. She took hold of it, and she immediately fell under a spell.

As for the nurse, when she came back and saw that the little one was under a spell and looked like a corpse, she cried out: "Girl, oh girl, what should I do now?"

Her cries were heard up above. The king came down, and then the queen, and they saw the little one, who appeared to have died. The father shed bitter tears, but then, as soon as possible, he had three dresses made for the little girl, each one more beautiful than the other one.

He had her dressed in them, saying: "These are the dresses that you were to receive upon your engagement, my daughter."

He then had her taken to a little house in the country. He had a beautiful bier made for her, and then locked her inside the house. The house remained closed and locked.

Now another king's son was out hunting and was caught by a storm. Not knowing where else to find shelter, the poor fellow ran up to the house. At that time there were ladders made from silk. They threw a silken ladder onto the house, and the young king's servant climbed onto the balcony. Through the balcony window he saw a beautiful maiden, as beautiful as the sun. (This girl had continued to grow since her seventh year.)

The king's servant climbed down and said: "Your majesty, this has been a wonderful hunt."

They climbed up together. The king stuck his head inside and saw the creature, who -- as we have said -- was still alive. Her face was rosey, and she had a spindle in her hand. In their excitement, no one had thought to to remove the spindle.

The king went inside, looked at her, and said: "Oh, my maiden, you look so sad! And what is this thing in your hand?"

With that he took the spindle from her hand, and she immediately came back to life.

She was frightened, but he said: "Don't be afraid. With us you'll find a father and a brother."

He gave her something to eat and drink, and then said to her: "I must go now, but believe me, I'll come back tomorrow."

When the young king arrived home, his mother said to him: "Why are you so late?"

"Oh mother," he said to her, "I took my time while hunting."

The next day he went hunting again. He went to the house, to the young woman, whose name was Anna.

"How are you, Anna?"

"Very well! And you, my prince?"

"I am very well."

To make a long story short: Nine months later that young woman was about to give birth to a baby. She had a beautiful boy and named him Sun.

Let's go back to the old queen. She was very upset that her son no longer resided in the palace, and had his head who knows where. She made every effort to discover where her son was coming and going from.

Learning nothing elsewhere, she said to him: "You must tell me who you have been with." Not knowing who she was, the old queen was very angry with poor Anna.

The young king found comfort with his young son, whom he madly adored. Meanwhile, the little boy grew up, and the mother became pregnant once again. Nine months later she gave birth to a beautiful girl, whom she named Pearl.

The old queen kept saying: "You faithless son, who knows who you are cavorting with. The entire kingdom is going to ruin."

Now it happened that the young king grew ill and could not get out of bed. His mother was tormenting him to death. Not being able to be with Anna made his sickness all the worse.

The poor fellow secretly wrote a letter to Anna, telling her to be of good cheer, for his sickness was not worth mentioning. He added: "I want to know how my little ones are doing, for I am very concerned about them."

He grew worse and worse. Plagued with fever, he fantasized:

Anna, Sun, and Pearl,
You take away my heart and soul.

When the mother heard him talking like this, she said to herself: "Aha! So she is the Don't-Know-Who and the Don't-Know-How who has ruined my son."

Then with many curse words she said: "Be calm my boy, be calm, for this evening you'll share your meal with Sun!"

Meanwhile she summoned her son's trusted servant and said to him: "You either tell me the truth, or I shall have your head cut off. Who is my son spending his time with?"

He saw how angry she was, and with shaking knees he told her everything from the beginning to the end.

"Oh, this miserable hussy," said the queen, "I'll get my hands on her! Today you must bring the boy Sun to me, and if his mother won't give him to you, then tell her that my son wants to have him."

The servant dutifully went to the young king's wife.

"How is the young king?" she asked the servant.

The servant answered: "Somewhat better, but he wants his boy Sun to come to him for today."

The mother fetched the boy, dressed him in his best clothes, and turned him over to the servant, with the words: "See here, I am entrusting him to you. Be sure that there is no trickery behind this." This was the poor woman's heart speaking to her.

The servant went on his way. When the old woman saw the likeness of the young king, she said to the boy: "You scoundrel! You're more of a scoundrel than your father!"

She grabbbed the boy by the arm and said to the cook: "Here, slaughter him and prepare his meat for me."

But instead of killing him, the cook took him to his house and hid him. Then he made an ordinary meal for the queen. At noon he brought this dish to the old queen, saying: "Here is Sun!"

"Oh, come here, you shall have dinner with your father, because the two of you have been slowly tormenting me to death." Then she went to her son and said: "Here, my son. Eat! This is your Sun!"

The next day the villainous queen said to the servant: "You must bring Pearl to me, so that she can eat with her father."

The servant went to the young queen, and she said to him: "How is my son Sun?"

"He's well."

"And my husband?"

"Better, but he wants to share a meal with Pearl."

The young queen asked: "Is there trickery behind this?" It was as if the poor woman's heart were speaking to her.

"Why should there be trickery?" replied the servant.

She dressed the little girl. The servant set her into the coach and took her away.

When they arrived at the palace, the old woman said: "You scoundrel! You're more of a scoundrel than your father! But now I'm going to have some fun with you!"

She summoned the cook: "Here is the little girl. Make a meal of her for me."

The cook took the little girl, hid her away, and made an ordinary meal for the queen. She took this meal to her son, who was still fantasizing with fever.

"Here," she said, "here is Pearl. Eat with her. Tomorrow I'll let you eat with Anna."

The next day she said to the servant: "Tell the young queen that the young king is much better, and that he wants her to come to the palace."

The servant went to the young queen and said to her: "Your majesty, they want you to come to the palace. Everyone is well. The young king is half well, and he wants to have you there, and the two of you can have your holy peace."

She put on the three dresses that her father had given her, and got into the coach.

The old woman was standing at the window keeping her eye on the road. When Anna appeared, the old woman went to her, grabbed hold of her, and pulled her hair, calling her many indecent names, as if Anna were such a person. Continuing to curse, she pulled Anna inside and took her to a room where there was a cauldron with boiling oil.

"Get undressed!"

Anna took off the first dress, and with a loud voice called out: "Sun!"

The dress crackled as if it were covered with little bells. The young king heard the noise and listened further.

Anna took off the second dress and called out even more loudly: "Pearl!"

And the dress crackled.

"Aha!" said the young king. "That is my Anna's voice calling for my children!"

While the old woman was making Anna take off the third dress, the young king got up with anger and crawled on all fours to see what was happening.

The young queen took off the third dress and cried out with a voice that would rip your soul from your body: "Anna!"

The young king rushed on all fours into the room, where he found his mother, who had grabbed Anna and was trying to throw her into the cauldron of oil. Overcome with rage, he grabbed the old woman and threw her into the cauldron. Then he took Anna into his arms and kissed her.

They looked for the children, and the cook brought them forth, alive and healthy. With time they made their marriage official. The cook received a large reward.


They lived long lives and with good health,
And happiness that comes with wealth.

An Old Story


Once there was a king and a queen and they had no children. This was the cause of great unhappiness to them, and they always wished that they should have even one child.

At last this great wish was granted and a beautiful little girl was born to them. The king and queen agreed that she should have a fairy God-mother and so she had. All the fairies were invited to a great feast that the king was giving, but one old fairy was forgotten, and she was very vexed. When the king heard about the fairy he at once sent for her, and when she did come there was no gold or silver plate for her and she had to do with an ordinary plate, and this made her very vexed.

When the feast was over every fairy wished the child some good thing, but when it came to the old fairy's turn, she said that the child should die from a cut that she should get from a spinning-wheel. One of the good fairies had yet to have her wish, so she said that the child should not die but that she should sleep for a hundred years on account of the cut.

One day the king and queen were away and the little girl was going about through the house by herself, and she came to a room where a spinning-wheel was, and an old woman asked her to come over and look at it, but as soon as she touched it she fell asleep, and every person and thing about the place fell asleep.

They all remained asleep for a hundred [years]. One day at the end of this time a prince was passing by and he saw the castle, and he wondered greatly at it because the hedges were grown up higher than the castle, and the grass was also very high up. He went into the house, and he went to the room where the little girl was. As soon as the prince came to her she awoke and everything about the place awoke also.

She told them everything that happened, and he was very sorry for her. Some time shortly after this the prince and the girl were married, and they lived happily afterwards.

The Enchanted Princess; or, The Magic Tower


Once upon a time there lived a king who was the greatest, richest, and most virtuous of all kings, and because of his good behavior and his good works God loved him very much. Out of piety, the king had decided never to take a wife, but to remain a bachelor. However, he would have liked to have children. One day he sat and wept and lamented greatly that he had none, and that his throne might perhaps pass into evil hands.

Then an angel appeared to him and told him not to cry, because he would have a child from his calf. A short time later, one of the king's legs began to swell, and one day, while he was hunting, he pierced himself with a thorn. Then suddenly a beautiful maiden jumped out of his calf. She wore a full coat of armor, complete with lance and helmet. But no sooner was she born than she was carried away by a Lámnissa [a kind of witch] and taken to a large and beautiful tower. Arriving there, she immediately fell into a deep sleep.

At the same time there was another king, who had an only son, and this king wanted to find a wife for his son. This prince had heard many rumors about the princess sleeping in the tower, who was said to be the most beautiful of all the maidens in the world, but who could not wake up unless a prince redeemed her.

The prince was determined to marry this girl. To find out how he could do this, he went to a sorceress and asked her for help. She told him to take three animals with him: one loaded with meat, the other with grain, and the third with sea lice. He should travel with these three animals until he reached an old gate that was close to collapsing, and above which was written:

A calf my mother
And a thornbush my midwife.

He should say to the gate: "Oh, what a beautiful gate this is," and then he should get off his horse and clean the gate. If he would do this, then the gate would not collapse and kill him.

After he had gone through the gate, he would come across some lions who would threaten to eat him, but he should not be afraid, but throw the meat to them. He would then encounter an enormous number of ants, and they would also want to eat him, but he should just throw the grain to them, and they would spare him. Finally, while crossing a river, he would encounter a huge fish that would also threaten to eat him. He should just throw the sea lice at him, and the beast would not harm him.

Following these instructions from the sorceress, the prince prepared everything and set forth the next day. He came to the gate, did what the old woman had told him to do, and he went through safely.

Then he encountered the lions, who ate the meat that was thrown to them and then said to the prince: "Here are three hairs from our manes. If you need our help, just throw the hairs into the fire, and we'll be with you in an instant."

The prince then moved on and came to the ants, who ate the grain that he threw to them, after which they gave him one of their wings and told him the same thing that the lions had said to him.

Next he had to cross a river. A huge fish jumped out and wanted to devour him. But immediately the prince threw the sea lice at him, and the fish let him pass by. The fish gave him a scale from his body and told him that if he needed help, he should throw the scale into the fire.

The prince arrived at the tower and entered, whereupon the princess immediately woke up. Forty days and nights had just passed since she had fallen asleep.

As soon as she woke up, she said to the prince: "Ah, so you are the one who will free me. But you still have a lot to go through. The old woman, the Lámnissa, will lock you in a large room where one half is filled with four thousand cattle, and the other half is filled with wheat, barley, and corn all mixed together. And in a single day you must slaughter the oxen and sort out the entrails, the skins, the stomachs, the meat, and the bones. But you also have to separate out every kind of the scattered grains on the same day. In the evening the old woman will throw a needle into the river, which you have to find within a quarter of an hour."

The next morning the prince was locked in the large room. Then he took out of his pocket the three hairs from the lions' manes and threw them into the fire. Immediately the lions were there, and with their teeth and paws they killed the cattle and completed the prescribed work.

The prince then threw the wing that he had received from the ants into the fire. They immediately came and arranged all the grain with their mouths. In the evening the old woman came in with the maiden and was astonished to see that everything had been done.

Next she led the prince to the river and threw the needle into it. But he had already thrown the fish scales into the fire, and the moment he jumped into the water, the fish rushed over, grabbed the needle and brought it to him. Thus the prince got out of the water with the needle and gave it back to the old woman.

Next he took his beloved to the other side of the river, where the ants and the lions were. But the Lámnissa did not want to let the princess go just yet, and she called to the lions and the ants to eat the prince. But in vain! Then she herself chased after the fugitives in order to win back the princess, but the princess threw some hair behind her, and from it a large lake arose, which spread out between the fugitives and the Lámnissa, and forced her to give up the chase.

The prince brought his beloved home happily and married her. And God, who loved the girl very much, gave her as a dowry the gift of predicting the future, thus raising her to the status of a goddess.

The Ninth Captain's Tale

1001 Nights

There was once a woman who could not conceive, for all her husband's assaulting. So one day she prayed to Allah, saying: "Give me a daughter, even if she be not proof against the smell of flax!"

In speaking thus of the smell of flax she meant that she would have a daughter, even if the girl were so delicate and sensitive that the anodyne smell of flax would take hold of her throat and kill her.

Soon the woman conceived and easily bore a daughter, as fair as the rising moon, as pale and delicate as moonlight.

When little Sittukhan, for such they called her, grew to be ten years old, the sultan's son passed beneath her window and saw her and loved her, and went back ailing to the palace.

Doctor succeeded doctor fruitlessly beside his bed; but, at last, an old woman, who had been sent by the porter's wife, visited him and said, after close scrutiny: "You are in love, or else you have a friend who loves you."

"I am in love," he answered.

"Tell me her name," she begged, for I may be a bond between you.

"She is the fair Sittukhan," he replied; and she comforted him, saying: "Refresh your eyes and tranquilize your heart, for I will bring you into her presence."

Then she departed and sought out the girl, who was taking the air before her mother's door.

After compliment and greeting, she said: "Allah protect so much beauty, my daughter! Girls like you, and with such lovely fingers, should learn to spin flax; for there is no more delightful sight than a spindle in spindle fingers."

Then she went her way.

At once the girl went to her mother, saying: "Mother, take me to the mistress."

"What mistress?" asked her mother.

"The flax mistress," answered the girl.

"Do not say such a thing!" cried the woman. "Flax is a danger to you; its smell is fatal to your breast, a touch of it will kill you."

But her daughter reassured her, saying: "I shall not die," and so wept and insisted, that her mother sent her to the flax mistress.

The white girl stayed there for a day, learning to spin; and her fellow pupils marvelled at her beauty and the beauty of her fingers. But, when a morsel of flax entered behind one of her nails, she fell swooning to the floor.

They thought her dead and sent to her father and mother, saying: "Allah prolong your days! Come and take up your daughter, for she is dead."

The man and his wife tore their garments for the loss of their only joy, and went, beaten by the wind of calamity, to bury her.

But the old woman met them, and said: "You are rich folk and it would be shame on you to lay so fair a girl in dust."

"What shall we do then?" they asked, and she replied: "Build her a pavilion in the midst of the waves of the river and couch her there upon a bed, that you may come to visit her."

So they built a pavilion of marble, on columns rising out of the river, and planted a garden about it with green lawns, and set the girl upon an ivory bed, and came there many times to weep.

What happened next?

The old woman went to the king's son, who still lay sick of love, and said to him: "Come with me to see the maiden. She waits you, couched in a pavilion above the waves of the river."

The prince rose up and bade his father's wazir come for a walk with him. The two went forth together and followed the old woman to the pavilion.

Then the prince said: "Wait for me outside the door, for I shall not be long."

He entered the pavilion and began to weep by the ivory bed, recalling verses in the praise of so much beauty. He took the girl's hand to kiss it, and, as he passed her slim white fingers through his own, noticed the morsel of flax lodged behind one of her nails. He wondered at this and delicately drew it forth.

At once the girl came out of her swoon and sat up upon the ivory bed. She smiled at the prince, and whispered: "Where am I?"

"You are with me," he answered, as he pressed her all against him. He kissed her and lay with her, and they stayed together for forty days and forty nights.

Then the prince took leave of his love, saying: "My wazir is waiting outside the door. I will take him back to the palace and then return."

He found the wazir and walked with him across the garden towards the gate, until he was met by white roses growing with jasmin.

The sight of these moved him, and he said to his companion: "The roses and the jasmin are white with the pallor of Sittukhan's cheeks! Wait here for three days longer, while I go to look upon the cheeks of Sittukhan."

He entered the pavilion again and stayed three days with Sittukhan, admiring the white roses and the jasmin of her cheeks. Then he rejoined the wazir and walked with him across the garden towards the gate, until the carob, with its long black fruit, rose up to meet him.

He was moved by the sight of it, and said: "The carobs are long and black like the brows of Sittukhan. O wazir, wait here for three more days, while I go to view Sittukhan's brows."

He entered the pavilion again and stayed three days with the girl, admiring her perfect brows, long and black, like carobs hanging two by two. Then he rejoined the wazir and walked with him. towards the gate, until a springing fountain with its solitary jet rose up to meet him.

He was moved by this sight and said to the wazir: "The jet of the fountain is as Sittukhan's waist. Wait here for three days longer, while I go to gaze again upon the waist of Sittukhan."

He went up into the pavilion and stayed three days with the girl, admiring her waist, for it was as the slim jet of the fountain.

Then he rejoined the wazir and walked with him across the garden towards the gate.

But Sittukhan, when she saw her lover come again a third time, had said to herself: "What brings him back?"

So now she followed him down the stairs of the pavilion, and hid behind the door which gave on the garden to see what she might see.

The prince happened to turn and catch sight of her face; he returned towards her, pale and distracted, and said sadly: "Sittukhan, Sittukhan, I shall never see you more, never, never again."

Then he departed with the wazir, and his mind was made up that he would not return.

Sittukhan wandered in the garden, weeping lonely, and regretting that she was not dead in very truth. As she walked by the water, she saw something sparkle in the grass and, on raising it, found it to be a talismanic ring.

She rubbed the engraved carnelian of it, and the ring spoke, saying: "Behold, here am I! What do you wish?"

"O ring of Sulayman," answered Sittukhan, "I require a palace next to the palace of the prince who used to love me, and a beauty greater than my own."

"Shut your eye and open it!" said the ring; and, when the girl had done so, she found herself in a magnificent palace, next to the palace of the prince. She looked in a mirror which was there, and marvelled at her beauty.

Then she leaned at the window until her false love should pass by on his horse.

When the prince saw her, he did not know her; but he loved her and hastened to his mother, saying: "Have you not some very beautiful thing which you can take as a present to the lady who dwells in the new palace? And can you not beg her, at the same time, to marry me?"

"I have two pieces of royal brocade," answered his mother, "I will take them to her and urge your suit with them."

Without losing an hour, the queen visited Sittukhan, and said to her: "My daughter, I pray you to accept this present, and to marry my son."

The girl called her negress and gave her the pieces of brocade, bidding her cut them up for floor cloths; so the queen became angry and returned to her own dwelling. When the son learned that the woman of his love had destined the cloth of gold for menial service, he begged his mother to take some richer present, and the queen paid a second visit, carrying a necklace of unflawed emeralds.

"Accept this gift, my daughter, and marry my son," she said; and Sittukhan answered: "O lady, your present is accepted."

Then she called her slave, saying: "Have the pigeons eaten yet?"

"Not yet, mistress," answered the slave.

"Take them these green trifles!" said Sittukhan.

When she heard this outrageous speech, the queen cried: "You have humbled us, my daughter. Now, at least, tell me plainly whether you wish to marry my son or no."

"If you desire me to marry him," answered Sittukhan, "bid him feign death, wrap him in seven winding sheets, carry him in sad procession through the city, and let your people bury him in the garden of my palace."

"I will tell him your conditions," said the queen.

"What do you think!" cried the mother to her son, when she had returned to him. "If you wish to marry the girl, you must pretend to be dead; you must be wrapped in seven winding sheets; you must be led in sad procession through the city; and you must be buried in her garden!"

"Is that all, dear mother?" asked the prince in great delight, "Then tear your clothes and weep, and cry: 'My son is dead!'"

The queen rent her garments and cried in a voice shrill with pain: "Calamity and woe! My son is dead!"

All the folk of the palace ran to that place and, seeing the prince stretched upon the floor with the queen weeping above him, washed the body and wrapped it in seven winding sheets. Then the old men and the readers of the Koran came together and formed a procession, which went throughout the city, carrying the youth covered with precious shawls. Finally they set down their burden in Sittukhan's garden and went their way.

As soon as the last had departed, the girl, who had once died of a morsel of flax, whose cheeks were jasmin and white roses, whose brows were carobs two by two, whose waist was the slim jet of the fountain, went down to the prince and unwrapped the seven winding sheets from about him, one by one.

Then "Is it you?" she said. "You are ready to go very far for women; you must be fond of them!"

The prince bit his finger in confusion, but Sittukhan reassured him, saying: " It does not matter this time!"

And they dwelt together in love delight.

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Revised November 26, 2023.