Before you read this, there’s some things I want you to know. I’ve always loved Sleeping Beauty. But one thing that I never understood about the Disney version was why she just instantly fell in love with a stranger in the woods. Why would they want to sell that to little kids? Also, the part where she was dancing with the animals and a cloak really confused me for some reason. Also, this is just childhood fulfillment, because I love the story, and I also had to do this for Creative Writing. Also, I feel like I wrote the word decree too many times.
And so, it was decreed, that Rose would lay her dainty finger on a spindle, prick herself with a spindle, and die. But that was a long time ago, and most didn’t even remember why spindles were outlawed in the first place. The only spindle allowed was on a spinning wheel in a high tower that I was obligated to guard her from. The prophecy made it clear that her fifteenth year would be the year that she would fall victim to a mostly stationary object, and her fifteenth year was almost over, and I could tell that she was drawn to danger, somehow.
Her father and my father created a pact. If I would guard his daughter and protect her with my life, then my father would be rewarded with an annual shipment of various things my homekingdom needed. Such as silver, gold, and wool, which was spun and brought back to Rose’s kingdom.
“Oh, come on, Philip, I’ve seen the tower. I bet you could see the entire kingdom from up there!” she exclaimed, lying on her back and looking up at the clouds. I did my best to ignore her, because of the gifts she was given as newborn babe, any argument she started, she would win.
“No, it’s rickety, and dangerous,” I mumbled half-heartedly, being that any attempt to lie to her was like driving a stake through my chest.
The tower was actually strong and stood powerful against the wind but there was no way that I was going to allow her to go inside. I tried distracting myself by carving a statuette from a piece of wood, but it was almost as if Rose was right, and the tower actually had appeal to it, and whittling was no longer entertaining. I tossed the half-sculpted person I was making into the woods.
“I’ll be careful. Please,” she said sweetly, and I made the mistake of looking her in her violet blue eyes.
“Well…” I wavered trying to think of a good enough excuse, and death just wasn’t coming to mind for some reason.
“You’ll let me do it!”
“No, no, that’s not what I—”
“You said it! I can go!” she leapt up, running off; away from the shady tree I was under.
I chased after her, but she disappeared into the trees, and for a moment, I thought she became a tree in the forest herself. But I found her, she was in a clearing and seemed lost.
“You can’t go to the tower!” I shouted.
“Why not?” she asked, “I am a princess,” she said, as if she wasn’t speaking to a prince herself.
“I can’t tell you why, but trust me, you can’t go.”
“Tell me, and I won’t go,” she held her chin up, being incredibly stubborn as always.
But I couldn’t tell her. Just the same as it was decreed that Rose would die from a spindle (then later decreed that she would only fall into a deep sleep), so also was it decreed that she could never know that she would die from a spindle, otherwise it would make the draw stronger.
“Just trust me, as you always have,” I said, then realized that she didn’t always trust me. In fact, protecting her was a chore. From the time that she was six and I was ten, I was chosen to be her friend and keep her out of harm’s way, but she always seemed to pull me to adventure and danger.
“But I can hear the tower call to me. It’s telling me that I need to come near, or I should surely die.”
“But Rose, if you go, you will die!”
“No, I won’t! I’m not child anymore and you aren’t my father!” she hissed, unlike herself, and stormed off. Ever since she was fifteen, she wasn’t herself. Maybe she was right and the tower with the single spindle in all the kingdom, was beckoning to her and because of that, she was going mad.
I stood, watching her run in bare feet, wondering why she refused to wear shoes. I hated that everything she did, no matter how trivial, was dazzling and marvelous. She had no enemies, only the closest of friends. She had hair the color of honey, lips as red as roses, and eyes as blue as sapphires. I hated that childhood blessings gifted to her by wise women, affected me the way it did. Affected everyone the way it did.
Realizing that she had made progress, already almost out of view again, I snapped out of my trance brought on by her mystical beauty and ran after her, calling out her name for her to stop but to no avail.
I tripped and fell over a tree root, scraping the skin from my knee, then cradled my leg, eventually standing up again. But I couldn’t find her anywhere after that. And time seemed to slow down exponentially, almost seeming to stop entirely. The wind stopped blowing. The birds stopped their insistent cawing. And everything was still. And there was a sinking feeling in my heart, like I really did have a stake driven through my chest.
I walked onward to the tower, hoping I might catch up to her before she reached it, but a certain hopelessness washed over me as the sun was drowned out by a greenish darkness. Thorny hedges surrounded me, and before I reached the tower, I had mastered the way of stepping on the thorns so that they were pushed aside, rather than directly on me.
I stood in horror while sharper, swordlike thorns climbed their way up to the top of the tower, clinging to the sides and then falling inside through windows. Picking up a nearby rock, I smashed the thorns away from the door so I could open it and enter. I ran up the steps, stomping on the stemming out thorns, until I found her unconscious under a spinning wheel; an old maiden was beside her, also unconscious.
I picked up her limp body and cried, “My beautiful Rose, what’ve I done?” There was nothing more that I could do. I carried her to a windowless room in the tower, safe from the thorns, and made her a comfortable bed for her while she slept in her deep sleep.
I pulled the blanket over her, the silence of everything except for the monstrous plant looking for cracks in the strong, unbreakable tower started to sound normal now.
“Goodnight, Rose,” I bent down to kiss her cold forehead, more tears escaping my eyes. Even near death, she was still beautiful.
I looked up, seeing her face had color in it again, rosier this time, somehow. “Rose!”
“Where am I?” she asked and I wiped my face of all moisture, and she smiled, erasing all pain.
“It doesn’t matter anymore. Let’s get you out of here.”
We ran down the steps of the tower, all traces of thorns now gone and as we exited the building, the sun was shining overhead again. The wind lightly blew the birds’ songs to us, and it was as if nothing ever happened.