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from Children's Hour





Once upon a time there was a king and queen who for a very long time
had no children, and when at length a little daughter was born to them
they were so pleased that they gave a christening feast to which they
invited a number of fairies. But, unfortunately, they left out one
rather cross old fairy, and she was so angry that she said the
princess should die when she reached the age of sixteen, by pricking
her hand with a spindle.

All the other fairies present, except one, had already given the
princess their beautiful gifts, and this last one said she could not
prevent part of the wicked wish coming true; but her gift should be
that the princess should not really die, but only fall into a deep
sleep, which should last for a hundred years, and at the end of that
time she should be awakened by a king's son.

It all happened as the fairies had predicted. When the princess was
sixteen years old she saw an old woman spinning and took the spindle
from her to try this strange new work. Instantly she pricked her hand
and fell into a deep sleep, as did everyone else in the palace. There
she lay in a bower of roses, year after year, and the hedge around the
palace garden grew so tall and thick that at last you could not have
told that there was a castle at all.

At the end of the hundred years a king's son heard of the castle and
the enchanted princess who lay asleep there and determined to rescue
her. So he cut his way through the thick prickly hedge and at length
he came to the princess. When he saw how lovely and how sweet she
looked he fell in love with her and, stooping, kissed her lips.

At once she awoke and with her the king and queen and all the
courtiers, who had fallen asleep at the same time.

As the princess was as much taken with the prince's appearance as he
was with hers, they decided to be married. And so the wedding was
celebrated the same day with great pomp and ceremony.






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