The True Story of Sleeping Beauty: By Flora the Fairy Godmother
I won’t condone it, I tell you! For years, the trumped-up, silly story of “Sleeping Beauty” has been circulating the world. It’s been the subject of multiple books, collections of stories, and even a movie was made about it! Its madness! Hedge of thorns? A dragon? An enchanted sleep?
That’s not the real story. I should know. I was there, as one of the fairy godmothers. Flora, in fact. And I’m not a chubby, orange-clad silly-nilly with an obsession with pink, like the movie showed me. I’m sensible and graceful, whatever they may say.
So, without further ado, let me set you straight on the story of Sleeping Beauty.
When the king and queen finally had a child, the queen was delighted to find it was a daughter. The king, well, he was excited, but you know how it is. He wanted an heir for his throne. He was a little melancholy until he discovered an old law in his law-books that said he could indeed leave his kingdom to his daughter, provided she marry at or before the age of twenty-one. Well, you never saw a king so forgetful of his dignity after that!
All of the fairies in the kingdom were invited to come pay our respects to the little princess Aurora. Of course, we all came. The whole lot of us came, including that silly old Rupert, and not a wicked fairy among us. There hadn’t been any in the kingdom for years. So all that nonsense about an evil fairy name Malificent is just that—nonsense!
Fauna, Merriweather, and I were quite pleased to be selected as guests of honor, which meant that we’d each give a special gift, while all the other fairies would merely give a collective gift of well-being. Which would have been all right, except that it was tradition happened to require four fairy guests of honor—and guess who they picked? Rupert!
We could hardly stand it! Rupert, the silly old fairy godfather who dressed like a monk because it made him look more sophisticated! Well, we weren’t too pleased, as you can imagine, but what could we do? I certainly wasn’t going to argue with the king or queen, and Fauna and Merriweather never do anything without me. So we stood for it.
The feast was rather enjoyable, at least for Merriweather and I. Poor Fauna was seated next to Rupert, and he bored her throughout the entire meal talking about his discoveries about the many uses of the potato. I think the final straw came when he told her if she made a potato facewash, she could get rid of all those baggy wrinkles on her face.
Note: for all you men out there reading this, whether you be pauper, prince, or fairy godfather—never tell a woman she has baggy wrinkles on her face, even if you are trying to be helpful. It won’t be well-received.
I’ll pas over that little episode, however, for the sake of sticking to one theme. When it came to giving the princess her gifts, we were all very practical. Fauna pulled herself together quite well and gave Aurora the gift of beauty.
Merriweather put together a cute little rhyme, in which she granted Aurora the gift of a voice like a nightingale. I saw some people cover their ears while she sang, including Rupert. They have no taste.
I gave the princess a gift of grace, though the moment was ruined when I tripped over the hem of my gown. I shall always blame Rupert for the snicker I heard.
Then it was Rupert’s turn. He solemnly approached Aurora’s crib, kissed her cheek, and proclaimed, “I give you the gift of sensibility where men are concerned, dear one. I think you’ll be in need of it.”
The king and queen seemed delighted. But we were astounded. Shocked! Dismayed! How dare he!
“What kind of gift is that?” Merriweather raged, out of the king and queen’s hearing, of course.
“Who needs such a thing? What a ridiculous gift. Princesses have a natural ability to attract trouble, and whichever prince is brave enough to rescue her from it has to be her Prince Charming. Why should he have bothered with something as trivial as that?” Fauna said unhappily.
I snorted. “It’s Rupert.”
Merriweather and Fauna sighed and agreed. But the deed was done and we could do nothing but sit back and wait for the gifts to manifest themselves in the princess.
Well for sixteen years, Princess Aurora continued to grow in beauty and grace. And her voice was amazing!
Then came the sixteenth birthday party disaster. Fauna, Merriweather, and I had just met up and were chattering about something when the princess came into the room we occupied.
“Hello, fairy godmothers,” she said, curtsying.
“Hello, dear!” Fauna smiled. “I see you’re growing more beautiful every day!”
“You’re going to sing for us tonight, aren’t you?” Merriweather asked.
“And what about the dancing?” I asked, twirling in a circle. “Doesn’t the grace come in handy for…whoops!” I tripped over the hem of my gown again and bumped into Aurora. She staggered and fell, banging her head against the fireplace.
“Oh dear!” I said softly.
“Flora, you imbecile! You knocked her out!” Merriweather cried. “How could you?”
“I didn’t try to!”
“Girls, girls, I have an idea.” Fauna fluttered her hands excitedly. “We should go find her a prince!”
“A prince? Why?” I asked.
“Because a prince is a solution to any princess’s problem!” she said. “And if we hurry, we can find the prince, bring him back, have him kiss the princess to wake her up, and they’ll live happily ever after!”
“And we’ll help the king by finding him a prince for his daughter before her twenty-first birthday,” Merriweather said.
“Oh, all right!”
We hurried out of the room. In retrospect, I suppose we should have left someone to guard the sleeping princess. It might have stopped Rupert from interfering. I heard from one the castle maids afterward that he went into the room and flicked Aurora’s face with water, waking her up.
“Come on,” he said, helping her to her feet. “You don’t need a prince right now anyway.”
We were, unhappily, unaware of this new development, or else we would’ve flown back immediately to stop it. As it was, we were happily running along down the road, calling for a prince.
I’d say it was mid to late afternoon when Fauna stopped, exhausted.
“Girls, I can’t go on a single step more!” she moaned. She sat on the edge of the road. I joined her.
“Oh, my feet are killing me. Whoever invented high-heeled glass slippers should be smothered to death with fairy dust or zapped with a malfunctioning wand!” I complained.
Merriweather rolled her eyes. “You should have used your wings, like me.”
“I hyper-extended my left wing yesterday playing tag.”
“At your age? Flora!”
“Girls, look!” Fauna sprang to her feet and pointed. “A prince!”
We scrambled up. Sure enough, coming down the road at a fast clip on his beautiful white horse was none other than a prince! The very epitome of a prince, too—dashing dark good looks, beautiful clothes and a bright red cape, and obviously the prancing horse.
Fauna stumbled into the road and waved her arms in windmill circles. The prince frowned and stopped.
“What do you want?” he demanded. Rather haughtily, I thought, but Fauna barged right ahead.
“Oh, sir, we’ve been looking all over for someone like you! Will you come help us rescue a beautiful princess?”
“Is she really beautiful?”
“Of course she is! She takes after me! I’m one of her fairy godmothers, you know.”
The prince didn’t look impressed, so Merriweather took over. “And she has the most gorgeous singing voice.”
Not to be outdone, I jumped in between Merriweather and Fauna. “And such grace!” I said, stepping on Fauna’s big toe while smacking Merriweather in the face. As they recovered, I asked, “Would you please come with us?”
“Very well, I suppose so.”
“Oh, good. Let’s go, then!” I started off, energized by the thought of what we were doing for our princess.
“Oh, wait, Flora. I know a shortcut, just across the river,” Merriweather said, pointing.
“But we can’t get across.”
“Oh yes we can. Fauna can make a bridge for us.”
I eyed the beaming Fauna uneasily. “But we didn’t bring the enchantments book,” I whispered. “And remember what happened last time she tried to make something without the book?”
“Oh, don’t worry. I’ve been practicing since then,” Fauna said, fluttering her hands.
“Just make up your minds,” the prince ordered.
“Oh, right then. I guess we’ll try it your way,” I said to Fauna.
She beamed and ran to the river, waving her hands. A sparkly, rainbow-colored bridge sprang up, arching gracefully over the river.
“Oh, it’s very pretty!” I said, following Fauna over it.
“And it’s solid! Congratulations, Fauna!” Merriweather said happily.
We spoke too soon. As we reached the top of the curve, the bridge suddenly vanished. We all screamed and forgot to make us of our wings (or even grant the prince any wings at all).
KA-PLOSH! I’ll never forget what a disgraceful dunking that was. Thankfully, the river wasn’t too deep at that point and we all made it to shore.
“Fauna! What did you do?” Merriweather moaned, shaking off her dress.
I brushed hair out of my eyes. “I told you she should have brought the book.”
“I’m sorry, I—where’s the prince?” Fauna walked to the edge of the river. “Prince? Oh prince?”
He suddenly surfaced and stumbled out of the water. “What happened? And what is this thing?” He held up a small, green thing by the tail.
I squealed. “A baby alligator! Fauna!”
“Oh, I didn’t know I could make those.” Fauna giggled. “It would make a good story for the princess, though.”
“An alligator?” I raised my eyebrows.
“Tell her it was a dragon. After all, princesses like it when their princes go through peril to rescue them,” Fauna explained.
“Oh, perfect! But we’ll have to leave it here, cause it’s so small,” Merriweather said.
“Right then.” I took the alligator from the prince. “Oh, it’s still alive!” I yelped, tossing it hurriedly into the river. “Eww.”
“Well, Flora, where next?”
“Let’s try my way this time.” I marched off. The prince feel in beside me and Merriweathr and Fauna took up the rear. I could hear Fauna trying different versions of the “dragon” story on Merriweather, each one more elaborate and detailed than the last. Finally Merriweather told her to save her artistic skills for the princess, as she was quite tired of hearing the fifty-three different versions, and they were so mixed up in her head she couldn’t tell the best one anyway.
It didn’t seem to take as long to get back to the castle as it did coming from it. I suppose that’s because I was so excited about introducing the prince and Aurora. I was sure it would work out.
We were in site of the castle when I began worrying about how we were going to sneak the prince in. Of course, we couldn’t have anyone, least of all that nosy old Rupert, interfering. (Unfortunately he already had.)
“I suppose I could turn you invisible,” I said to the prince.
“I think not. Being invisible disagrees with my stomach,” he said.
“Oh. Dear. Well, I’m not sure how else we’ll get in.”
“I shall slash my way through the guards, of course. That’s how every one of my acquaintances has won their princess.”
“Well, see, the princess is only in an enchanted sleep.” I was elaborating, yes, but I thought it better than saying that I’d knocked her out. That wouldn’t go over so well. “The rest of the castle is friendly and probably doesn’t even know about the enchanted sleep just yet.”
“Well, what good is rescuing her then?”
“Her parents are very protective and the king has a weak heart. I thought maybe I’d spare them the stress of having to send out a proclamation and…”
“Ouch!”Merriweather yelped behind me. “What is this rosebush doing in the middle of the road?”
“Ow! There’s another one!”
I felt my heart sink. I looked ahead and moaned. Merriweather came to my side. “A hedge of thorns? Flora! What are you doing?”
I covered my face with my hands. “I’m sorry. I forgot I do this when I’m nervous. I don’t work well under pressure!”
“She unconsciously makes rosebushes,” Fauna said to the prince. “Don’t worry, Flora, dear.”
“It’s a side effect of stress,” I muttered.
“Of course you shouldn’t worry. I’ll slash through it with my trusty sword!” The prince swept out his sword. The blade wiggled and drooped from the hilt. He sighed irritably. “Have one of you fairies been messing with my sword again?”
“I don’t touch weapons any more,” Merriweather said, holding her hands up as he pointed it at her.
“Not me, and not Flora. She makes rosebushes, remember?”
I pressed my hands to my temples. “Oh, dear, oh dear—there!” I looked forward. The thorns had vanished. “They’re gone!”
“Good. I’m beginning to wonder about this quest,” the prince said.
We asked him to be quiet, and before we got too close to the castle, we turned all of us invisible. The prince complained about it upsetting his delicate digestion, but we shushed him and asked if he really wanted a chance to rescue the princess or not. Of course he did, but it did take some time to get him quieted. He kept grumbling about “incompetent fairies” and “baby dragons” and “rosebushes” until Merriweather threatened to turn him into a frog prince so the princess would have to kiss and rescue him. That shut him up right away, as you can imagine!
We managed to get through the gate, and most of the castle, just fine. The scariest moment came when the prince crashed into a suit of armor in the great hall. That gave us all a scare, though he said it was only because he wasn’t used to being invisible.
We finally got to the library, where we’d left the unconscious princess. I turned all visible again as Fauna whispered instructions to the prince.
“See, the princess is sitting in the chair by the fireplace,” she said. “Now, you just snuck up behind her, tap her on the shoulder, and give her a big kiss. That should wake her up!”
The prince nodded eagerly. “Sounds fine to me.” He tiptoed forward. We crept after him, watching eagerly as he walked up to the princess and gently laid his hand on her shoulder.
“AHHHHH!” The princess jumped up, flinging a book from her. “Who are you? What are you doing? Rupert! Get him out of here!”
Rupert appeared out of nowhere and grabbed the prince’s collar.
“Wait! Stop, I order you to halt! I’ll have you boiled in oil for this!” The prince bellowed as Rupert dragged him out of the room.
“Rupert! Wait!” Fauna ran after him. Merriweather and I were too stunned to do anything but stand there, staring at Aurora.
She smiled. “Thanks for helping, girls, but I’d rather wait until my father and Rupert approve the prince.”
I looked at Merriweather. “Oh, that sensibility where men are concerned!” I moaned.
So there you have it, the true story of Sleeping Beauty. I’m happy to say, despite that silly gift of Rupert’s, the princess eventually got married just in time at age twenty-one to a perfectly respectable prince of a neighboring country. Merriweather claims now that she always thought our pick was a little stuck-up.
Oh yes, and Rupert continues to be a fairy godfather, happily sticking his nose in where it doesn’t belong.
Merriweather gave up being a fairy godmother, because Rupert was always messing with her plans, and became secretary to the Council of Fairy Godparents, where she hears all the latest gossip about the troubles of royalty.
Fauna stayed a fairy godmother, eventually became promoted to Fairy Assistant of Happy Endings, and is currently in charge of the Rapunzel case. I hear she’s having some trouble with the prince—seems Rupert is his fairy godfather.
~Flora is a retired Fairy Godmother who currently writes the Council of Fairy Godparents Newsletter and the “Ask Flora: Advice From A Veteran Fairy Godmother” articles in the Fairy Times. She often refutes misunderstandings such as the article above. Flora lives happily at home in her hollow mushroom with her pet snail, Flambeau.