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slumber, until, at the appointed time, the appointed person comes to wake her.” Thus spoke the good fairy, and vanished; and the christening party broke up
in sadness. The King and Queen took all possible pains with the education of their little daughter, and as she grew the effects of the fairy gifts were clearly visible. She became more beautiful every day; and, what was of more consequence still, she became kind and gentle to every one about her, so that all loved and admired her. Nurses and governesses had no trouble at all with her, and even the domestic animals seemed somehow to know how kind and good she was. The great gruff housedog who lived in the kennel in the castle yard, and who barked at every one else, would snigger, and wag his tail, and tumble with delight, directly the little Princess came in view; and
T; he would let her put garlands of flowers round his neck, and play with him by the hour together; and the more she pulled his ears the better he liked it. She was indeed a most lovely and lovable little girl.
One precaution, however, the King was careful to take. He had every spindle in the palace destroyed, and forbade every one, under pain of death, to use one. Nobody was even to utter the word “spindle ; " and the King actually discharged three of his footmen because they had spindle-shanks, and thus reminded him of the fairy's prediction.
But all these precautions were fruitless. When the Princess was just sixteen years old, the King and Queen left the palace almost for the first time since the birth of their daughter ; for in general they preferred to stay at home, and entertain their lords and ladies, and the foreign guests who came to see them, in their own palace, as a king and queen ought to do. But at last it happened that they were compelled to go from home, both of them, and they would be absent
for a day or two, on a visit to one of the courtiers ; and the Princess, being in a merry mood, amused herself with running from room to room in the castle, and exploring all the holes and corners where she had never been before. At last, on the top storey of all, she found a little room; and running in, she stopped in amazement at the strange scene before her. There seemed to be all kinds of comical little black spirits flitting about the room, like imps of mischief, as they were ; and they bowed and grinned as if they were mighty glad to see the Princess. And sitting in a corner of the room, humming a tune, in a funny, cracked voice, the Princess
saw an old woman spinning with a distaff and spindle. The poor old creature had been allowed for years to inhabit this turret-room; and as she seldom left her chamber, except to go into the kitchen to fetch away the broken victuals that were allowed her, she had never heard of the King's cdict, and did not dream, worthy soul! that she was doing wrong.
“What are you doing, goody?” asked the Princess.
“I am spinning, my pretty lady,” was the reply. The old dame had no idea she was speaking to the Princess, or she would have said “ your Royal Highness.”
“Oh, how pretty it looks!” continued the Princess ; “I wish I could spin too ;-will you let me try?”
Of course the old woman consented, and the Princess took the distaff in her hand. But a moment after she pricked herself, uttered a little scream, and fell into a deep sleep.
The old woman was much alarmed, as well she might be. She called out lustily for help, and in a few moments there were all the attendants and inhabitants of the castle offering their assistance. One loosened the Princess's girdle; another sprinkled cold water on her face; another tried to revive her by rubbing her hands; and a fourth wetted her temples with eau-de-Cologne. But it was all in vain ; and in the midst of the confusion the King and Queen came home.
On being informed of the misfortune that had befallen him, the King saw at once that there was no remedy but patience. He thereupon ordered that his daughter should be laid on a a couch covered with velvet. She lay there like
“ A violet, by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye;
Is shining in the sky."
magnificent couch, in a costly apartment of the palace, and that guards should be stationed at the chamber door night and day. Very lovely the young girl looked as she lay on her splendid bed, in a deep sleep, with her cheeks as blooming, and her breathing as regular, and her lips as red as ever ; and very sad the parents felt when all the arrangements had been completed, and they thought that they would be dead long before their beautiful daughter awoke; and that they should never see her smile nor hear her merry voice again in this world; and that when she awoke she would find herself quite alone and friendless among strangers.
Then they thought of the christening, and of the wicked fairy, and her fatal gift; and they wished they had thought of inviting her, and had not roused her malice and revenge ; but it was too late to think of all that now; and then they thought what a long time a hundred years would be, and it seemed as if it would never pass by.
But for this also the good fairy had a remedy. On hearing the news of her godchild's misfortune, she travelled at once to the palace at the rate of nine hundred and fifty-seven miles in a minute; and her chariot, drawn by fiery dragons, arrived at the King's palace the very day after the accident happened.
Invisible to all, she passed through the palace, touching every living thing with her wand as she went by, and a deep sleep fell immediately on all she touched. With the exception of the King and Queen, who left the palace when the ceremony was over, all the inhabitants of the palace were served alike—the ladies-in-waiting, maids of honour, ladies' maids, officers, gentlemen-in-waiting, cooks, scullions, guards, pages, porters—in fact, every one fell asleep; and the strangest circumstance was, that they went to sleep in a moment, without having time to finish what they were about. All the domestic animals were enchanted in the same manner; and the old King and Queen quitted their palace, accompanied by the fairy.
The King gave strict orders that no one should approach the building on any pretext whatever; but he need not have given himself so much trouble, for in a few days a thick hedge grew up all round the place, and the forest trees seemed to intertwine their branches and form a kind of wall. This grew thicker and thicker with surprising quickness; ard at last the very existence of the castle was forgotten, except that now and then one peasant would tell another the tale of the christening of the beautiful Princess, that had taken place years and years ago, and to which all the great lords and ladies had been invited, and the fairies too, who had been the Princess's godmothers; and how the Princess herself
; had vanished away, no one knew whither ; but was sup
: posed to be lying asleep, on a bed of gold and silver, in the