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The Brothers Grimm
Briar Rose
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BRIAR ROSE

A king and queen once upon a time reigned in a country a great way
off, where there were in those days fairies. Now this king and queen
had plenty of money, and plenty of fine clothes to wear, and plenty of
good things to eat and drink, and a coach to ride out in every day:
but though they had been married many years they had no children, and
this grieved them very much indeed. But one day as the queen was
walking by the side of the river, at the bottom of the garden, she saw
a poor little fish, that had thrown itself out of the water, and lay
gasping and nearly dead on the bank. Then the queen took pity on the
little fish, and threw it back again into the river; and before it
swam away it lifted its head out of the water and said, 'I know what
your wish is, and it shall be fulfilled, in return for your kindness
to me--you will soon have a daughter.' What the little fish had
foretold soon came to pass; and the queen had a little girl, so very
beautiful that the king could not cease looking on it for joy, and
said he would hold a great feast and make merry, and show the child to
all the land. So he asked his kinsmen, and nobles, and friends, and
neighbours. But the queen said, 'I will have the fairies also, that
they might be kind and good to our little daughter.' Now there were
thirteen fairies in the kingdom; but as the king and queen had only
twelve golden dishes for them to eat out of, they were forced to leave
one of the fairies without asking her. So twelve fairies came, each
with a high red cap on her head, and red shoes with high heels on her
feet, and a long white wand in her hand: and after the feast was over
they gathered round in a ring and gave all their best gifts to the
little princess. One gave her goodness, another beauty, another
riches, and so on till she had all that was good in the world.

Just as eleven of them had done blessing her, a great noise was heard
in the courtyard, and word was brought that the thirteenth fairy was
come, with a black cap on her head, and black shoes on her feet, and a
broomstick in her hand: and presently up she came into the dining-
hall. Now, as she had not been asked to the feast she was very angry,
and scolded the king and queen very much, and set to work to take her
revenge. So she cried out, 'The king's daughter shall, in her
fifteenth year, be wounded by a spindle, and fall down dead.' Then the
twelfth of the friendly fairies, who had not yet given her gift, came
forward, and said that the evil wish must be fulfilled, but that she
could soften its mischief; so her gift was, that the king's daughter,
when the spindle wounded her, should not really die, but should only
fall asleep for a hundred years.

However, the king hoped still to save his dear child altogether from
the threatened evil; so he ordered that all the spindles in the
kingdom should be bought up and burnt. But all the gifts of the first
eleven fairies were in the meantime fulfilled; for the princess was so
beautiful, and well behaved, and good, and wise, that everyone who
knew her loved her.

It happened that, on the very day she was fifteen years old, the king
and queen were not at home, and she was left alone in the palace. So
she roved about by herself, and looked at all the rooms and chambers,
till at last she came to an old tower, to which there was a narrow
staircase ending with a little door. In the door there was a golden
key, and when she turned it the door sprang open, and there sat an old
lady spinning away very busily. 'Why, how now, good mother,' said the
princess; 'what are you doing there?' 'Spinning,' said the old lady,
and nodded her head, humming a tune, while buzz! went the wheel. 'How
prettily that little thing turns round!' said the princess, and took
the spindle and began to try and spin. But scarcely had she touched
it, before the fairy's prophecy was fulfilled; the spindle wounded
her, and she fell down lifeless on the ground.

However, she was not dead, but had only fallen into a deep sleep; and
the king and the queen, who had just come home, and all their court,
fell asleep too; and the horses slept in the stables, and the dogs in
the court, the pigeons on the house-top, and the very flies slept upon
the walls. Even the fire on the hearth left off blazing, and went to
sleep; the jack stopped, and the spit that was turning about with a
goose upon it for the king's dinner stood still; and the cook, who was
at that moment pulling the kitchen-boy by the hair to give him a box
on the ear for something he had done amiss, let him go, and both fell
asleep; the butler, who was slyly tasting the ale, fell asleep with
the jug at his lips: and thus everything stood still, and slept
soundly.

A large hedge of thorns soon grew round the palace, and every year it
became higher and thicker; till at last the old palace was surrounded
and hidden, so that not even the roof or the chimneys could be seen.
But there went a report through all the land of the beautiful sleeping
Briar Rose (for so the king's daughter was called): so that, from time
to time, several kings' sons came, and tried to break through the
thicket into the palace. This, however, none of them could ever do;
for the thorns and bushes laid hold of them, as it were with hands;
and there they stuck fast, and died wretchedly.

After many, many years there came a king's son into that land: and an
old man told him the story of the thicket of thorns; and how a
beautiful palace stood behind it, and how a wonderful princess, called
Briar Rose, lay in it asleep, with all her court. He told, too, how he
had heard from his grandfather that many, many princes had come, and
had tried to break through the thicket, but that they had all stuck
fast in it, and died. Then the young prince said, 'All this shall not
frighten me; I will go and see this Briar Rose.' The old man tried to
hinder him, but he was bent upon going.

Now that very day the hundred years were ended; and as the prince came
to the thicket he saw nothing but beautiful flowering shrubs, through
which he went with ease, and they shut in after him as thick as ever.
Then he came at last to the palace, and there in the court lay the
dogs asleep; and the horses were standing in the stables; and on the
roof sat the pigeons fast asleep, with their heads under their wings.
And when he came into the palace, the flies were sleeping on the
walls; the spit was standing still; the butler had the jug of ale at
his lips, going to drink a draught; the maid sat with a fowl in her
lap ready to be plucked; and the cook in the kitchen was still holding
up her hand, as if she was going to beat the boy.

Then he went on still farther, and all was so still that he could hear
every breath he drew; till at last he came to the old tower, and
opened the door of the little room in which Briar Rose was; and there
she lay, fast asleep on a couch by the window. She looked so beautiful
that he could not take his eyes off her, so he stooped down and gave
her a kiss. But the moment he kissed her she opened her eyes and
awoke, and smiled upon him; and they went out together; and soon the
king and queen also awoke, and all the court, and gazed on each other
with great wonder. And the horses shook themselves, and the dogs
jumped up and barked; the pigeons took their heads from under their
wings, and looked about and flew into the fields; the flies on the
walls buzzed again; the fire in the kitchen blazed up; round went the
jack, and round went the spit, with the goose for the king's dinner
upon it; the butler finished his draught of ale; the maid went on
plucking the fowl; and the cook gave the boy the box on his ear.

And then the prince and Briar Rose were married, and the wedding feast
was given; and they lived happily together all their lives long.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From "Fairy Tales" by Jakob Grimm (1785 -1863) and Wilhelm
Grimm (1786-1859) -- translated from "Kinder und Hausmarchen"
by Edgar Taylor and Marian Edwardes.
 

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