Once upon a time, a baby girl was born into a royal family. To celebrate her arrival, all the fairies in the land were invited to be godmothers. After the baptism, a banquet was planned. Seven places of honor were set with golden dishes and diamond goblets.
At the royal banquet, each of the seven fairy godmothers gave their gifts and advice to the tiny baby. There was great jubilation in the palace until, suddenly, an old, wizened fairy angrily appeared.
“Why is there no place for me?” the old fairy demanded.
No place had been set for the fairy because it was known that she was not a good fairy. Enraged at being spurned, she pulled out her magic wand and cackled, “I'll give her a gift she'll never forget. When she turns sixteen, the princess will cut her finger on a spindle, and she will die!” She then vanished in a flash of lightning.
The king and queen wept, but the seventh fairy urged them not to despair. “Your Majesties, I can't completely undo this curse, but I can make it milder. Instead of dying, when the princess cuts her finger, she and the entire kingdom will fall asleep, and slumber for 100 years. All will be awakened by the kiss of a prince.”
This brought some comfort to the king and queen. In hopes of thwarting the curse altogether, however, they banned all spindles from the kingdom.
The evil fairy's magic was very powerful, though. On the princess's sixteenth birthday, she was exploring the highest, most isolated turret of the castle, where she found an old woman smiling and spinning golden thread.
“What is that?” the princess asked. She had never seen a spinning wheel.
“A spindle,” said the old woman. “Would you like to see it?”
The princess reached her hand out and cut her finger on the spindle. She immediately fell asleep.
At that same instant, everyone in the castle fell into a deep sleep: the king and queen, all the servants, and even the animals in the stables.
A hundred years passed, and the old castle was overgrown by a big forest.
One day, a prince was lost in this dark forest. He was just about to give up all hope of finding his way when he saw the glint of stone in the distance. As he got closer, he was amazed to see the wall of a castle. It was quite magnificent, despite the vines creeping up along its walls and the huge lawn that was choked with weeds.
He made his way inside and marveled at the inhabitants of the castle, who were all asleep. Guards slept standing at their posts, seamstresses sat sleeping on their stools, cooks stood sleeping in midstir, and a sleeping musician sat poised to play the piano. It was a very odd sight, thought the prince.
As he walked through the castle, he came to the very room where the beautiful princess slept. There he saw the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. The prince leaned forward and kissed the sleeping girl on her forehead.
Just then, the princess's eyes opened, and she looked at the prince as if she'd known him forever.
“Is that you, my prince?” she whispered. “I've waited so long.”
Then, the prince told her that he had loved her from the first moment he'd laid eyes on her. One by one the servants awoke, and they prepared a great wedding feast.
The prince and princess were married that very afternoon and loved each other forever after.