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Nik Marcel (2Language Books)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Perrault’s Stories (English)

Perrault’s Stories
Cuentos de Perrault
(English & Spanish)
Original Language: French.
English partly translated anew from Spanish.
Copyright © 2013 Nik Marcel
All rights reserved.
2Language Books
(A Bilingual Dual-Language Project)

The Tales of Mother Goose

The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods

Once upon a time, there was a king and a queen, whose sadness over having no children was so great, it cannot be measured.
They went and drank from all the waters of the world, they made vows, and they undertook pilgrimages, but they failed to see their wishes realised — until, that is, the queen finally became pregnant, and gave birth to a daughter.
There is no way to describe the splendour of the baptism, and all the fairies they could find in the whole kingdom — there were seven of them — became godmothers; hence, each one granted her a gift, as was the custom among fairies at that time; and by this means, the princess had all the perfections imaginable.
After the christening ceremony, everyone returned to the palace, where a great feast had been prepared for the fairies.
Before each one of them was a magnificent setting, including a case of solid gold, in which was a spoon, a fork, and a knife, all of fine gold set with diamonds and rubies.
Just as they were sitting at the table, they saw an old fairy come in. She had not been invited, since, for more than fifty years, she had not left a certain tower, and she was believed to be either dead or enchanted.
The King ordered her a cover, but he could not give her a solid gold case like the others had, because he had only ordered seven to be made — for the seven fairies.
The old fairy believe she had been slighted, and muttered some threats between her teeth.
One of the young fairies, who was by her side, heard her; and, fearing that she might grant the little princess some harmful gift, hid herself behind the curtains as soon as they rose from the table. She hoped that she might speak last, and repair — as much as she could — the damage that the old fairy might do.
The fairies began to bestow their gifts on the newly born.
The youngest said that she should be the most beautiful woman in the world; the next, that she would be as good as an angel; with the gift of the third, the princess would show amazing grace in everything she might do; she would dance well, according to the gift of the fourth; she would sing like a nightingale, according to the fifth; and play all kinds of musical instruments with extreme perfection, according to the sixth.
The old fairy’s turn came next, and with her head shaking — more with spite than with age —, she said that the princess would puncture her hand with a spindle, and would die from the wound.
This terrible gift made the entire gathering shudder, and everybody began to weep.
The young fairy then came out from behind the curtains, and uttered these words in a loud voice:
“You can be reassured, king and queen, that your daughter will not die of the wound.
It is true that I do not have enough power to undo entirely what my colleague has done.
The princess shall indeed pierce her hand with a spindle; but, instead of dying, she shall only fall into a deep sleep, which shall last a hundred years, at the end of which a king’s son shall come and awaken her.”
The king, eager to avoid the misfortune foretold by the old fairy, sent out an edict forbidding any one, under penalty of death, to spin with a spindle, or even to keep a spindle in their house.
About fifteen or sixteen years afterwards, on one particular day, the king and queen went to one of their country villas. It happened that the princess, in running from room to room, went to the top of the tower and found a small loft. In it was an old woman, who was busy on her spinning wheel — for she had not heard of the king’s ban on spinning with a spindle.
“What are you doing, my good woman?” said the princess.
“I am spinning, my pretty child,” replied the old woman — she did not know who was asking her.
“What you are doing is very interesting indeed!” exclaimed the princess. “How do you do it? Give it to me. Let me see if I can do what you are doing.”
As she was too quick, and somewhat bewildered — and also because the fairy’s decree had predetermined it —, she was caught by the spindle, injured her hand, and fell down in a faint.
The good old woman became frightened and cried out for help. People came in from everywhere; they threw water upon the face of the princess, unlaced her dress, struck her on the palms of her hands, and rubbed her temples with ‘water from the queen of  Hungary’; but nothing was sufficient to bring her round.
Then the king, who, on hearing the noise, had gone up to the attic, remembered what the fairies had foretold. Realising that what was happening was inevitable — since it had been foretold —, he ordered the princess be taken to the finest room in the palace, and laid on a bed ornamented in gold and silver.
She was so beautiful that anyone could have thought they were seeing an angel, for her faint had not lessened the vibrant colour of her skin.
Her cheeks were rosy and her lips seemed an orange pink colour. It is true that her eyes were shut, but she could be heard breathing softly, which proved that she was not dead.
The king gave orders to let her sleep peacefully, until the time came for her to awaken.
The good fairy, who had saved her life by condemning her to sleep for a hundred years, was in the kingdom of Pamplinga — which was about twelve thousand leagues away — when this accident befell the princess. However, she was almost immediately informed of it by a little dwarf, who wore boots with which one could cover seven leagues of ground in a single step.
The fairy set off at once, and arrived an hour later, in a chariot of fire, which was drawn by dragons.
The king offered her his hand to get out of the chariot, and the fairy approved of everything he had done. Since she had great foresight, she told him that when the princess awoke, she might find herself in a stressed state, if she was all alone in the old castle.
This was what she did.
With the exception of the king and queen, she touched everyone in the palace with her wand: governesses, maids of honour, chambermaids, gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks, kitchen boys, errand boys, guards, pages, and footmen; she likewise touched all the horses that were in the stables, the grooms, the huge mastiffs in the corral, and tiny Titi: the princess’ little dog, who was beside her on the bed.
As soon as she had touched everyone, they all fell asleep, not to awaken again until their mistress did; at which time they would be available to serve her, just when their services were required.
The spits on the fire, which were full of partridges and pheasants, fell asleep as well. The fire also fell asleep.
All this was done in a moment, for fairies need little time to do things.
Then the king and queen, having kissed their daughter (without waking her), left the palace; and ordered an edict be published forbidding any person, regardless of their status, to approach the building.
The exclusion was not necessary, for in just fifteen minutes, a vast number of huge trees and wild, thorny rose bushes sprouted and grew up. They intertwined in such a manner that neither man nor beast could pass, and only the top of the castle towers could be seen — and that only by looking from far away.
Nobody doubted that the fairy had used all her powers to ensure the princess — while she slept — had nothing to fear from curious folk.
After a hundred years had passed, the son of the king then reigning — it must be added that the dynasty was not that of the princess’ — was hunting on that side of the forest; and he asked everyone what the towers were that he had seen in the middle of the thick branches.
Everyone answered according to what they had heard. Some said that it was an old castle populated with lost souls; others said that all the witches of the region met there every Saturday.
According to popular opinion, an ogre was dwelling there. He would carry to the castle all the children he could catch, and then eat them at his leisure. It was not possible to follow him, for he alone had the power to create an opening through the brush.
The prince did not know what to believe, when an old farmer spoke up, saying, “My prince, it was more than fifty years ago that I heard my father recount that in this castle was the most beautiful princess in the world. She was to sleep there for a hundred years. A king’s son had been reserved to awaken her, and she would be his wife.”
On hearing these words, the young prince felt the flame of love emerge in his heart, and without doubt instantly believed that he could complete this adventure, which was so full of charms.
Driven by love and the desire for glory, he resolved at once to know if it was exactly as the farmer had said. As soon as he came to the dense growth, all the old trees, the wild rose bushes, and the thorns separated to allow him to pass.
He walked up to the castle, which he saw at the far end of the long pathway (in which he had entered). He was surprised to notice that his delegation had been unable to follow him, for the trees returned to their natural position, blocking the path as he passed.
This was not reason enough not to continue along the path, for a young prince in love is always brave.
He entered the far end of the courtyard, and the spectacle presented before his eyes was enough to freeze him with fear.

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