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Briar Rose

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A long time ago in a kingdom of peace and prosperity, there lived the noble King Peter and his fair-hearted Queen Jacqueline. Many years they had lived happily as they ruled the Kingdom of Vitex with a wise and benevolent hand, leading their people into a golden age where all were safe and cared for. They loved one another greatly and all would have been perfect save for one thing. The Queen could not bear a child.

For fifteen years they had prayed for a baby but none would come. The people, sorrowful for their royal couple, and concerned for the future of their kingdom, gathered together on the eve of the Queen’s 35th birthday and lit thousands of candles in the courtyard of the palace, sending up a silent prayer to the heavens to grant their land an heir. And their prayers were heard.

Ten months later a baby girl was born and all the Kingdom rejoiced. They celebrated for a full week, writing songs and poems in honor of their infant princess. None were more delighted than the King and Queen, and to show their appreciation for the prayers of their people, they threw open the doors of the castle and invited all to come forth and meet the sweet child who was given the name Arkytior.

But there was one who was not happy with the turn of events. An evil fairy who lived in the barren mountains to the north and had held a grudge against the King since before his birth, grew angry at the news of the baby, vowing to hurt His Majesty, as she had once been hurt.

A week past the princess’ birth seven good fairies arrived at the castle to bring their gifts to the child.

They granted her the gifts of beauty, wit, grace, song, joy and courage, but before the seventh gift could be bestowed the hall erupted into flames and the evil fairy arrived in their midst. She cast upon the child a curse, that before the moon rose on her sixteenth birthday she would prick her finger on a spindle and die. Triumphant in her revenge the evil fairy vanished, leaving the court distraught as to the fate of their princess.

Through the distress that filled the room the seventh fairy spoke,

“Into her gifts the girl will grow,

As with the curse that was bestowed.

But into death she will not fall.

Rather a sleep, for she and all.

Until love’s kiss will the curse break,

And all the kingdom once more awake.”

Though grateful for the interference of the seventh fairy, the King and Queen were still fearful for their child, and so, with heavy hearts, they tasked the seven fairies with protecting the young princess.

Three of the fairies secreted the girl away in the dead of night, while the remaining four spread out across the kingdom to destroy every spindle in hopes of averting the curse.

And so the years passed.