Return to Sleeping Beauty Chapter One
One day, whilst the King and Queen where absent on official business, the Princess Willow managed to find a way to hide from her governess. Being a naturally inquisitive child it didn't take her long to become entranced by a turret with a long winding staircase, and the whirring noise coming from within. As she climbed the stairs, the sound suddenly stopped, yet still the Princess continued. As she came to the top she found a woman sitting winding her distaff (the staff that held the wool). Ever curious the Princess entered the room.
"What are you doing?" Asked the Princess.
"I'm spinning, pretty one," answered the woman, who did not seem to know to whom she was talking.
"Spinning? I've never heard of that, what is it?"
"Spinning," the woman said wisely, "is spinning, or at least it was. No one is fit to keep house until she has learnt to spin."
Not one to sit idly by and watch, Willow was soon bombarding the old woman with questions and asking if she could try it, for it was not often that she was greeted with such wonders.
"Please, may I have a try? It looks easy, I bet I could figure it out, given time, and I'm a really quick study, if you tell me what to do I'll do it, no problems, It looks real pretty, what do you call this bit?"
No sooner had she grasped the spindle, than it pierced her hand. Whether through over-eagerness, or clumsiness, or even because the powerful Fairy decreed it, we only know that the Princess dropped to the floor in a swoon.
The old woman moving as quickly as her frail legs would carry her went to try and find help. It was a long time before she made her way to the servants' hall, where she found that in the absence of the King and Queen the servants were playing cards.
"What d'ya want love?" asked one of the servants, a slight figure with pale skin and blonde hair so short and so bright that in the light of day could blind a person.
The old woman, for she was out of breath, took her time in answering.
"A young maiden came to my turret. An inquisitive little thing, silky red hair, she pierced her hand on my Spindle and is now lying collapsed on the floor."
"Bloody hell!" shouted the servant as he started to run towards the turret calling for the Palace physicians as he went.
Upon reaching the turret they decided that the Princess looked like she was sleeping; yet nobody could wake her. They dashed water on her face, unlaced her bodice for fear it was too tight, they even tickled the soles of her feet but to no avail.
Meanwhile a messenger had ridden off in search of the King and Queen. When they received the news they retuned at once to the Palace. The King, through his grief remembered what the powerful fairy had foretold and though he wished it had not come to this, he ordered for his daughter to be carried to the finest apartment in the Palace, and there she would lay upon a bed embroidered with gold and silver.
To see the Princess, lying there one would be forgiven for assuming that an angel had fallen from the skies, and was sleeping after an exhausting journey. The colour that still rested in her cheeks and her soft breathing told that she was not dead. The King commanded for all to leave and let her sleep in peace until the hour when she would awaken.
Now when the accident befell our Princess, the Good Fairy Dawnie was twelve thousand leagues away; but news was brought to her by another Fairy who was here, then there in a blink of an eye. It was not long before she set off to help her Goddaughter.
The King was there to greet her and promptly showed her to the Princess' chambers. Once there the Good Fairy realised what she must do. The Princess Willow would sleep for a very long time, and it would distress her so if she were to wake and find herself an orphan. With this in mind the Good Fairy touched with her wand, everything and everybody in the Palace including the black and white cat Miss Kitty. The instant they were touched they all fell asleep and would not awaken until their Mistress did.
It also happened that upon this day, one of the King's councillors had overslept and found himself late entering the Palace, thus being missed by the Good Fairy's touch. Upon entering his office he saw his secretary and all his clerks lying with their heads on their desks asleep. He decided to investigate further into the Palace and soon concluded that something had happened. Hastily he ran from the place and ordered for notices to be put up forbidding anyone to approach the castle.
These notices were unnecessary though, for within a few hours, all around, such a number of trees of all sizes grew up and such a tangle of briars and undergrowth that neither man nor beast could find passage through it. Taller and taller they grew until only the tops of the castle towers could be seen. The Fairy had done her work well and the Princess could now sleep away from prying eyes.