Friday, 1 October 2010

Friday is for Fairytales: Rose Briar Meets Sleeping Beauty

Friday is for Fairytales is a meme hosted by Irena (me) at This Miss loves to Read. Every Friday, you can choose a fairytale you love, or simply find interesting or haunting, and review it or simply say why you like it so much, or why it has captured your attention. Instead of a fairytale, you can choose a favourite fairytale character and describe him/her and tell us why you like them, or you can simply share an experience connected to a fairytale. Fairytales can be old and modern, written by a known author or anonymous, written down or passed on orally, short or in novel form (like re-writings of fairytales), international or typical for your country alone. In this case, present your country’s fairytale and we can all become acquainted with a new fairytale. So, make a post every Friday that is connected to the world of fairytales, be it a review, a character description or your own fairytale experience. Let’s celebrate fairytales and share our love for them.

MY POST TODAY IS ABOUT: Rose Briar meets Sleeping Beaty

I have blogged about Sleeping Beauty already, but I had a lot of fun comparing two version of the same story the previous week (I compared Cinderella by Perrault and the Brothers Grimm) that I decided to do this once more with one of my favourite fairy-tales – Sleeping Beauty. I have to point out that the brothers Grimm titled their story Briar Rose (Dornröschen in German), while Perrault’s title is the one we know best: Sleeping Beauty (La Belle au bois dormant in French).

Let’s begin!

The child’s conception: In both stories, the royal couple cannot have children, but eventually a daughter is born to them. In Perrault’s version, the conception of the child is religious, as the couple prays to God for a long time and finally, their prayers are heard. In the Grimms’ version, the queen saves a fish that had thrown itself out of the water by putting it back and as a thank-you, the fish ensures the queen becomes pregnant. Perrault’s version is more realistic, really, but I like magic in fairy-tales, so I prefer the Grimms’ version in this respect.

The daughter is born with a curse: In both stories, the royal couple prepares a feast that is attended by supernatural beings that gift the child with good personal qualities. In Perrault’s version, seven angels descend from Heaven on their own and the eighth angel, for no real reason (other than mischief, apparently) puts a curse on the girl: she will die by pricking her hand on a spindle. One angel alleviates the gravity of the curse by ensuring that in the case of pricking her hand on the spindle, the princess will sleep for a hundred years.

In the Grimms’ version, the royal couple invites twelve fairies to the feast, leaving out the thirteenth, because they only have twelve plates. (side note: lame excuse for not inviting someone, considering they have money to buy another plate) The thirteenth fairy arrives in anger and curses the princess in the same way the eighth angel in Perrault’s story did, and one fairy alleviates the curse the same way: the princess will sleep for a hundred years.

I prefer the Grimms’ version because although I love angels, fairies are the magical creatures of fairy-tales and the thirteenth fairy (nice fairy-tale number) has every reason to be angry and put the princess under the curse, whereas the eighth angel’s curse was somewhat random.

Predicted age of the princess’s misfortune/the absence of parents on that day: In Perrault’s version, she can prick her finger at any time, whereas in the version of the brothers Grimm the evil fairy says it will happen on her fifteenth birthday. Now, in Perrault’s version, the parents went for a trip and it was then that the princess pricked herself on the spindle. They couldn’t know and they couldn’t be with her all the time. In the Grimms’ version, the parents go somewhere on their daughter’s fifteenth birthday. If you know this is the day the curse upon your child might come true, you don’t leave the child, do you? The Grimms didn’t think this one through well, so Perrault wins.

The prince comes to save and claim his princess:
In both fairy-tales, the angel and the fairy make sure everyone in and around the castle will sleep for a hundred years together with the princess. After one hundred years, a prince who heard about the sleeping princess enters the castle and finds her. In Perrault’s version, the princess wakes up and recognizes the prince as her saviour. Enchanted with each other, they talk for four hours until they leave her room and find everyone else. Soon, they marry.

In the Grimms’ version, the princess wakes up after the prince kissed her and he determines they must marry post-haste.

Kisses of princes waking up princesses are so very romantic, but Perrault wins. Although logic should not be often taken into account with fairy-tales, I like it that in Perrault’s version, the princess and the prince give each other a chance to get to know one another before marrying, whereas in the Grimms’ version, they just marry.

After the wedding of the prince and his princess:
In the Grimms’ version, they live happily ever after. So do they in Pearrault’s version, but Perrault adds a sort of prologue, explaining they had two children, a daughter they named Aurora (Dawn in English) and a son they named Day, and they were all very happy. I like prologues, as opposed to hasty endings, so Perrault wins.

The name of the sleeping princess: Perrault never names her. The Grimms do and she is called Briar Rose. Not a very pretty name for a girl, if you ask me, but she has a name, so the Grimms win.

Rhymes and verses: Perrault’s version uses quotations from the Bible corresponding to the story – sort of embellishments. The Grimms, although using lovely rhymes in Cinderella, refrained from them in this fairy-tale. Perrault wins because I love rhymes and such in fairy-tales.

According to the number of pros and cons I named, Perrault wins in general, but the Grimms definitely win in terms of the use of magical elements in their story. Both versions are very lovely to read for different reasons.

Which version do you prefer?


Blodeuedd said...

Perarult seems way to religious to me so I totally like the Grimm version more.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I am more familiar with an early French version of Sleeping Beauty where the prince basically rapes her while she sleeps and she gives birth to two children who eventually suck out the part of the spindle or whatever that's in her hand. Then the prince turns out to have an evil ogre stepmother who tries to kill the princess and the kids. I'm not sure I've ever read the Perrault version as that doesn't sound at all familiar.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

@Bookworm: Oh my God! That's terrible, but I have to read it.:) But it's terrible. The prince impregnates her and she gives birth to two kids, all while she's sleeping? Ugh... But interesting. Imagination really has no limits.

Jan von Harz said...

It's funny that you posted about Sleeping Beauty this week, as I was looking for a Grimm's version last week and only found the Glass Coffin, which is so very different than Perrault's version. I like the Grimm's version better to that you are describing and will look for this as I am having my students read the original version of Sleeping Beauty to compare and contrast it with Flinn's version A Kiss in Time.

On a side note have you ever read Briar Rose by Jane Yolen? This is a retelling of sorts of the Sleeping Beauty that with a political theme about the Holocaust. Thought if you had never read this you would be interested in it.