Sleeping Beauty

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Once upon a time there was a king and queen who for a very long time had no children, and when at length a little daughter was born to them they were so pleased that they gave a christening feast to which they invited a number of fairies. But, unfortunately, they accidentally left out one especially vengeful old fairy, and she was so angry that she laid a curse on the princess, that she would die when she reached the age of sixteen, by pricking her hand with a spindle.

All the other fairies present, except one, had already given the princess their beautiful gifts, and this last one said she could not prevent part of the wicked wish coming true; but her gift should be that the princess should not really die, but only fall into a deep sleep, which should last for a hundred years, and at the end of that time she should be awakened by a prince.

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For a time the royal family lived in happiness, and the daughter grew into an intelligent and charming young woman, whose kindness was known and admired throughout the kingdom.

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It all happened as the fairies had predicted. When the princess was sixteen years old she saw an old woman spinning and took the spindle from her to try this strange new work. Instantly she pricked her hand and fell into a deep sleep, as did everyone else in the palace.

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There she lay in a bower of roses, year after year, and the hedge around the palace garden grew so tall and thick that at last you could not have told that there was a castle at all.

At the end of the hundred years a brave young prince heard of the castle and the enchanted princess who lay asleep there and determined to rescue her. So he cut his way through the thick prickly hedge and at length he came to the princess.

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Even in her deep slumber the princess wore an expression of utmost kindness, and the prince determined to do everything in his power to wake her. But alas, nothing he tried could raise the princess from her sleep. At last, heartbroken and exhausted, he gave up, and prepared to return to his father’s kingdom alone. He  stooped and kissed her lips in a gesture of farewell. To his great surprise, at the touch of his lips to hers she awoke and with her the king and queen and all the courtiers, who had fallen asleep at the same time.

The prince and princess quickly became close friends, and after a time fell in love and were wed. The wedding was celebrated with great pomp and ceremony. The prince and princess eventually became king and queen, celebrated for their benevolent rule over the kingdom, and lived happily ever after.

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