Once there was a King and a Queen. For many years they had wanted a child, and no child had come to them.
Then the Queen had a child. It was a girl. The King was very glad.
You know what a fairy is. Many fairies lived near the King’s house. When the Queen’s child came, the King went to all the fairies and said, “The Queen has a child. Do come to the house and see our new little girl.” All the fairies said, “We are very glad: we will come today .”
One of the fairies had gone away on a journey: she had been very far away. She had not come back when the Queen’s child came. When she came back, one of the fairies said to her, “The Queen has a child, and the King came to us and said, “Come and see our new little girl. “”
But this fairy was a bad fairy; the bad fairy said, “The King went to all of you: why did he not come to me? I shall go and see the King’s child; but I shall give her some bad thing.”
All the good fairies went to the King’s house, and saw the little girl; and they all gave her some good thing. One said, “I give her this good thing: she shall have riches.” One fairy said, “I give her this good thing; she shall become a brave woman.” One said, “I give her this good thing: she shall become a good woman.” All gave some good thing.
Then there came the bad fairy. She said, “The King went to all the fairies but he did not come to me, so I shall give the child some bad thing. She will have riches; she will become brave; she will become good. But, when she is a woman, she will prick her hand with a needle, and die.”
The poor Queen did not know what to do. The King said to the good fairies, “The poor girl shall not die. Can you not help me? Say that she shall not die!” The good fairies said, ” We cannot help you. What the bad fairy has said will come. Your child will prick her hand with a needle; but she shall not die. She shall sleep for many years. Then a king’s son shall come and kiss her. And she will awake. He shall wake her with a kiss.” Then the fairies went away.
The King sent for all his men and all the Queen’s women, and said, “Go and bring me all the needles that are in the house.”
They brought all the needles that they could find, and the King took them, and threw them into a river far away.
Then he said, “See that no needle comes into this house. See that no man and no woman brings a needle near my child. I shall kill them if they do.”
The little child grew up in the King’s house. She became a Princess. The Princess wanted to see all that she could. She wanted to know what the men were doing in the garden. She wanted to know the names of all the flowers and of all the trees. She said to the men in the King’s garden, “What is the name of this flower? What is the name of this tree?” In the house she wanted to see all that there was to see.
She wanted to know how many rooms there were in the King’s house, and who lived in all the rooms. So she went into one room, and then into another room, and then into another. She went into big rooms and little rooms, and very little rooms. Then she said, “I have been to all the rooms in the house.” But there was one room where she had not gone.
As she went on, she came to a new room. It was a little room very far away from all the other rooms. The door of the room was shut. The Princess wanted to go in and see what was in this room. She called, “Open the door!” But no one came. She called once. She called twice; then the door was opened. The Princess went into the room: and there she saw a very old woman.
The old woman was sitting near a table. On the table there was some cloth. The old woman had some cloth in one hand, and in the other hand she had a needle.
The Princess said, “What are you doing?”
“I am making something,” said the old woman.
“What are you making?” said the Princess.
“I am making some clothes,” said the old woman.
“What is that in your hand?” said the Princess.
“That is the cloth,” said the old woman.
“No!” said the Princess. “What is that in your other hand?”
“That?” said the old woman. “That is a needle.”
The Princess said, “Give me the ‘needle’; I want to see it. I have not seen a needle. I do not know what a needle is.”
The old woman said, “Have you not seen a needle? How can that be? You have seen many needles! Needles are seen in all houses.”
The old woman gave the needle to the Princess.
“Give me the cloth,” said the Princess: ‘I want to make clothes.” Then the old woman gave the Princess the cloth.
The Princess pricked the cloth with the needle ――but she pricked her hand. And she fell asleep!
Then all the men and the women in the house fell asleep. The King fell asleep at his table, and the Queen sitting near him fell asleep.
The man in the garden fell asleep with his axe in his hand. The man standing at the door of the house fell asleep where he stood. All were asleep.
A fairy came to the Princess. She took her and put her on a bed. Then the fairy said to the trees and to the flowers in the garden, ” Grow!” The flowers grew up, and the trees grew big. There was a wall of trees and flowers. So no one could go into the house.
In the house the Princess slept; and the King slept, and all his men; and the Queen, and her women, slept.
Many wanted to go into the house of the Sleeping Princess; but they could not go through the trees. So no one came.
Years went by, and the Princess slept. Many years went by, and men did not know what the house was and who was in it. The trees grew up; you could not see the house through the trees. Men went by the trees and did not know that there was a house there.
One day a King rode into the forest. His son was with him. The King and his men went far in front, and the King’s son could not find them. He rode on, and he came to a wall of trees and flowers. He said, “My father has gone through those trees: I will go through them and find him.”
As he came to the wall of trees, it opened, and he went through. Then he saw a garden; but all the flowers had grown here and there as they wanted.
He came to a house. The door was open, a man was standing by the door asleep. the King’s son said, “What a lazy man, he sleeps standing!” He went into the house. Men sat at the table, with food in their hands, asleep.
A little boy had been reading a story: he had fallen asleep with his head on his arms. A woman had been putting on her shoes; she was asleep with one shoe on and one shoe in her hand. An old man sat with pen and paper, asleep; and the dust of years was on his paper. Near him a woman was asleep with her little child asleep in her arms.
The King’s son went from one room to another. He saw the old King asleep at his table, and near him the Queen asleep with her head in her hands. Then he came to a room where there was sunlight and flowers. The window was open and roses had grown in through the window into the room. Golden light came through the window and fell upon a bed. The Princess was on the bed. Her eyes were shut. She was asleep.
The King’s son kissed her. She awoke. Then all the house awoke. The man awoke at the door. The men awoke and ate the food in their hands. The woman awoke and put on her shoe. The boy awoke and read his story. The King awoke at his table. The Queen rubbed her eyes, and said, “What were you saying, my King. I fell asleep.”
The Princess was married by the King’s son, and they became King and Queen.