Creepiest Fairy Tale of Them All: Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty, originally called, Sun, Moon, and Talia, was written by Giambattista Basille and was published in 1634. This original version is quite different than the one we know. In Basille’s edition, Talia is Sleeping Beauty. At her birth, her father had fortune tellers predict her future, in which they said a great tragedy would happen involving a splinter of flax. The father (a great lord) forbade flax, hemp, what-have-you from the area, but (of course) as a young woman Talia ran into some and, running her hand along a rope of it, got a splinter of it in her finger and fell dead. Her father mourned her and shut her body into a mansion and forgot about her.
Time passes and a king comes upon this mansion. Curious, he climbs the trees and sees Talia asleep/dead. Horny, he carries her to the bed (she had been placed on a throne) and has sex with her. HE HAD SEX WITH AN UNCONCIOUS/POSSIBLY DEAD PERSON, and then went away and forgot about her… clearly, we are not dealing with Prince Charming. Awhile later, he remembers her and goes back (maybe he was in a rapey mood again?) and finds her with two children – twins, one of whom had sucked the deadly flax splinter from her finger (which awoke her — after a full pregnancy and the birth of twins while being unconscious, mind you) because they couldn’t find her nipples for breast-feeding. Because, weird fairy tale.
The king’s wife (yeah, he was married) finds out about all of this and orders the kids to be killed, cooked, and fed to the king as punishment. (While I highly discourage killing, cooking, and feeding children to people, I think this woman turns into the villain pretty quickly for having a husband who cheats on her by raping a dead-ish woman). She then orders Talia to be burned at the stake.
Felon-On-So-Many-Levels King finds out, saves Talia, burns his wife instead, and finds out the cook fed him lamb instead of children (hooray! bet you’ll look at lamb differently next time you order it), and they all live happily ever after! (Imagine spooky theme music playing as they dance off into the sunset while King hands Talia some lotion and says “it rubs the lotion on the skin… it does whatever it is told” because that feels like the natural progression to this creepy fairy tale.)
(Want to read the original story? You can find it here: Sun, Moon, and Talia.)
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