about the contributors
A French story retold by KidsOut and CBeebies
Long ago and far away there lived a good king and queen. The people loved them and their lives would have been very happy if only they had had a child.
Years went by and then, one spring, when they thought all hope was gone, the queen gave birth to a baby girl. The whole kingdom rejoiced – the young princess was such a lovely baby and they called her Aurora.
Everyone was excitedly preparing for the christening of the new baby princess. Anyone who was important in the land had been invited to the christening, including all the good fairies. And everyone else in the kingdom was to have a day off work and a great big feast with cakes and jellies!
But, unfortunately, there was one important fairy that the king and queen had forgotten to invite… Grizzlestinki!
Grizzelstinki was a scary fairy who lived up in the mountains. People told scary stories about her, frightening their children into being good by threatening to send for her if they were naughty!
On the day of the christening everyone had a wonderful celebration at the palace and there were lots of lovely presents for the baby. One person gave her a tiny teddy bear to cuddle, another gave her a rattle to play with and another gave her a story book for her to read when she was older. But the most magical presents of all were from the good fairies… One gave her beauty, one gave her a sweet nature, one a lovely voice, one charm, one kindness and one a sense of humour.
“Isn’t our daughter lucky to have such lovely presents,” said the king turning to the queen.
“Don’t be so sure,” said a frightening voice suddenly! A cold wind blew through the hall, the door burst open and there was Grizzelstinki herself!
Grizzelstinki marched up to the baby princess and, as she passed, everyone held their noses as the smell was quite terrible.
“I haven’t given her my present yet,” Grizzelstinki growled. “My present is that when she is older she will cut her finger and fall asleep… Forever!”
Grizzelstinki laughed a terrible laugh and disappeared in a puff of smoke!
There was a stunned silence around the palace until one of the good fairies laid her hand on the baby’s head… “I promise that she will not sleep forever,” she said. “She will only sleep for a hundred years.”
The king and queen were still very worried so they decided to ban anything sharp in the kingdom that the princess might cut her finger on.
Years went by and as Aurora got older the people almost forgot the curse that was upon her.
One day, when she was alone and bored, Aurora decided to explore all the rooms in the palace. She went from room to room, exploring all over the palace until she got to an old stone staircase. Up and up the stone staircase she climbed until she came to a room right at the top of a tower. It was the only room in the palace she’d never been in! So she peeped inside and, to her surprise, there was a little old woman busily spinning wool on a spindle.
“Hello my dear princess,” the little old woman said. “I am pleased to meet you.” And she stood up and tried to curtsey.
“No, no, please sit down, I don’t want you to hurt your back,” said Aurora, hurrying forward. “Can you tell me what you are doing up here in the tower all alone?”
“Only spinning silk, my dear, to make you a lovely dress,” the little old woman replied.
“May I have a go please?” Aurora asked politely.
“Of course my dear,” the little old woman said, and she chuckled quietly to herself. “Let me show you how.”
Aurora sat down with the spindle in her hand and the little old woman began to show her how to spin silk.
Suddenly a sharp pain shot through Aurora’s arm as a spike on the spindle cut her finger. It was the curse! Grindlestinki’s curse was upon her!
Suddenly the little old lady threw off her cloak and stood up straight, it was Grindlestinki all along! She laughed a wicked laugh and ran away leaving the princess all alone.
Because of Grindlestinki’s birthday curse, Princess Aurora fell into a deep sleep.
And all across the palace, people started to fall asleep too!
The cook in the kitchen fell asleep, the guards at the palace gates fell flat on their noses and began to snore, the maids curled up to sleep with their feather dusters still in their hands, and the palace Gardner fell asleep out in the garden. (The palace cat just carried on sleeping because she was sleeping anyway)! Even the king and queen feel asleep!
Over the years, weeds, brambles and plants grew up over the palace and a deep dark wood encircled. Everyone was asleep, even the gardener so there was no one to cut them down! As the palace disappeared behind the woods the people outside began to forget it had ever been there.
One spring day a handsome young prince was riding his horse in the woods around the forgotten palace. He had heard the tale of a beautiful sleeping princess and a terrible birthday curse.
The wood was so thick that the prince had to get off his horse and walk – he even had to hack through the dense undergrowth with his sword!
Then, as he was cutting through the undergrowth, his sword suddenly struck some stone; it was the wall of a palace!
Could the stories be true? Could this be the forgotten palace?
The prince wanted to find out so he began to climb up the palace wall.
And when he reached the top he couldn’t believe his eyes!
There before him lay a palace asleep; the guards still snoring, the maids and the cook sleeping peacefully and the gardener still asleep in the overgrown garden (and the cat still curled up asleep of course). Even the king and queen were still asleep!
With his heart beating quickly the prince began to explore the palace. In every room people slept so he climbed higher and higher, looking through every door… Until he came to a tiny room at the top of a tower with a stone stair case.
He pushed open the door and, much to his joy, there lay the beautiful Princess Aurora!
The handsome prince leaned down and kissed her… And at that moment she woke up… And the whole palace woke up with her… Yawning and stretching and wondering how long they’d been asleep.
The cook woke up in his kitchen, the maids woke up still holding their feather dusters, the gardener woke up out in the garden and the King and Queen woke up on their thrones. (But the cat stayed asleep – she always sleeps)!
The king and queen were so grateful to the prince for waking up their daughter and everyone else in the palace that they let him live in the palace with them.
They were overjoyed and everyone lived happily ever after!