Unveiling the Dark Side of "Sleeping Beauty": It's not like the Disney version

You would certainly not tell the original version of the story to a child at bedtime

by Sededin Dedovic
Unveiling the Dark Side of "Sleeping Beauty": It's not like the Disney version
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In the realm of children's literature, few stories have enchanted and captivated young minds like "Sleeping Beauty." However, the original version of this seemingly innocent tale, far from the Disney adaptation, is a chilling and disturbing narrative that delves into the depths of human cruelty and betrayal.

The story, penned by the Italian writer Giambattista Basile in the 17th century, depicts a stark contrast to the familiar Disney version. Instead of a fairy-tale curse and a handsome prince's kiss, Aurora, the protagonist, falls victim to a prophecy-induced slumber that lasts for a century.

Forgotten by time, she remains dormant in a secluded castle. Enter the king, a powerful and unscrupulous figure, who stumbles upon the sleeping princess and, overcome by her beauty, commits an act of heinous violence. Aurora, still in her enchanted sleep, becomes pregnant and gives birth to twins.

Years pass, and Aurora awakens to the reality of her situation – a single mother to two sons, fathered by a man she never knew. Meanwhile, the king, consumed by guilt and regret, seeks redemption by returning to the castle and reuniting with Aurora.

The king was already married

Their love blossoms, but their path to happiness is obstructed by the king's existing marriage. His wife, the queen, driven by jealousy and vengeance, orchestrates a plan to eliminate Aurora and her children.

She sends servants to retrieve the twins, intending to have them cooked as a meal for the king. However, the cook, taking pity on the children, hides them away and substitutes two lambs in their place. The queen, believing her plot successful, then invites Aurora to the court, intending to burn her at the stake as a witch.

The king, upon discovering his wife's wicked intentions, rescues Aurora and exposes the queen's treachery. The queen, as punishment for her evil deeds, is condemned to death by burning. With the obstacles removed, Aurora and the king finally unite, embarking on a life of happiness and prosperity.

The cook, having protected the twins, is rewarded for his kindness. The original "Sleeping Beauty" tale, while carrying moralistic lessons, serves as a reminder of the darker side of human nature.