Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zzzzzzz, or, the many stories of Sleeping Beauty

As an archaeologist, I have always been drawn to the story of Sleeping Beauty. I mean, finding a castle that has been fully magically preserved for a century? Heck yeah.

Anyhow, every once in a while you hear people mentioning "the real Sleeping Beauty" story just to illustrate how dark and gruesome the Grimm tales really are. There is, in fact, a less child-friendly version of the tale - but it is not Grimm.

The tale is called Sun, Moon and Talia, and it is from Italy, included in the collection called the Pentamerone. The basic idea is about the same as the well-known and Disneyfied story, with one small but significant exception: instead of prince finds girl, prince kisses girl, girl wakes up, it is prince finds girl, prince kisses girl, girl fails to wake up, prince tries for a while, prince goes home. Nine months later the still sleeping princess gives birth to twins. Well, that'll wake a girl up.

(Anyone having flashbacks to Almodovar's Habla con ella?)

I have told this story in high school, it was great fun.

Another version of the tale comes from the Arabian Nights. In this one we have a very twisted version of the "childless queen makes a wish" story motif: She says "I wish I would have a daughter even if she was allergic to flax!" What the heck, lady.
Anyhow, Sittukhan is born and she is indeed allergic to flax. Her condition, however, is actively used in the story to smuggle her out of her castle and into a prince's garden who, like a real gentleman, wakes her up first and then proposes to her. Things go right, things go wrong, and in the end of the story, it is the prince who has to fake his own death to win her back since now she is rich and independent. Go princess.

And with this interesting tidbit, we conclude this year's run of the A to Z challenge. It has been great fun! Thank you all for visiting and sticking around. The blog will keep going as usual, with more stories and some musings along the way. 

Happy Z!


  1. What a great way to finish, as we all can use some Zzzz's. I love how stories have so many tellings. Thanks for a really interesting and informative A to Z!

    Jenny at Choice City Native

  2. Interesting tales. I didn't know that about the Sleeping Beauty myth.

    Also, congratulations on reaching the end of the challenge.

  3. She fell asleep after or during sex? LOL

  4. So the prince must have done a little more than just kiss her, and that is pretty messed up.

    Thanks for sharing all of these princess stories. I've really enjoyed your A to Z blog posts.

  5. Perfect way to lay the a-z challenge to rest. :) Congrats on finishing the challenge!

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com