The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

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Many classic tales have origins and details so diverse and varied that one story tells but a fraction of what other stories might reveal. The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, published by Charles Perrault in 1697, is no exception, but it does relay some common themes and familiar morals with an entertaining plot. This plot, however, is full of ambiguities and notes that are assumed to be taken for granted. For example, why did a king marry an ogress and how did they have a son? Why did this son not reveal his wife and children to anybody for two years? What other peculiarities are there?

Right away in the beginning, we are introduced to some of these peculiarities. Why did the old fairy seem surprised when no one invited her? It says, “This old fairy had hidden herself away in the tower for fifteen years, and since nobody had set eyes on her all that time, they thought she was dead, or had been bewitched.” (71) She obviously was the object of confusion to everybody and was not invited for that reason. Nobody knew if she was alive, so nobody was going to invite a possibly dead person. The old fairy should try to be more understanding of everybody’s intentions; after all, they did gladly accommodate her when she arrived at the castle.

Another question is why the king never had every castle room searched for spindles. He banished them “in all the lands he governed,” but he didn’t do a double check. If I were the king, I would have searched the entire kingdom, every house, and every room for spindles. I would have done everything I could to thwart my daughter’s evil fate from transpiring. Somehow, the king didn’t even search his entire castle and the wicked destiny unfolded. She was alone as well. Why didn’t the king have a “spindle guard” with her at all times? That may have protected her. Or better yet, why not tell the princess about it? She apparently didn’t know about her danger with the device and the curse. Wouldn’t it be a good idea for her to know about her...
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