Friday’s Fairy Tales: Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty
Image: Sofi

Friday’s Fairy Tales is a new feature about a different fairy tale each week/month.  I still haven’t decided which.

Though most often attributed to Charles Perrault, “Sleeping Beauty” was published even earlier as “Sun, Moon, and Talia”, by Giambattista Basile in 1634, also known as “Il Pentamerone, Day 5, Tale 5”.  This version is said to be the primary influence for the version that Charles Perrault wrote in 1697, which was one of the stories included in his book Histories ou Contes du temps passé.  The book was first translated into English by Robert Samber as Histories, or Tales of Past Times in 1729, and “Sleeping Beauty” can also be found in Classic Fairy Tales by Iona and Peter Opie.

Later on, the Grimm brothers borrowed the story from Perrault, as they did with many of their stories.  They cleaned it up and renamed it “Briar Rose”.  Their book was first published in 1812, and their version of the story became the most well known.  However, Charles Perrault was one of the last to avoid waking Beauty with a kiss.  Most of the versions written since, including “Briar Rose”, have used the kiss to awaken the sleeping princess.

You can find the Charles Perrault version in French and English as an ebook or audiobook at Project Gutenberg.

Some modern retellings of “Sleeping Beauty” include Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley, The Castle Behind Thorn by Merrie Haskell, Shadow by Jenny Moss, Thornspell by Helen Lowe, While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell, The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey, Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey, When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden, and Briar Rose by Jane Yolen.