Sleeping Beauty

La Belle au Boix Dormante, or Sleeping Beauty, is one of the most popular fairy tales. The version of the story most commonly told is Charles Perrault's, as his is the version that appears in children's books.

In Perrault's version, an uninvited fairy shows up at the christening celebration of a princess, and she curses the princess to die by a spindle wound because of this insult. To soften such a horrible future, another fairy is able to modify the wish from killing the princess to merely putting her to sleep for one hundred years. When the princess falls into her one hundred year sleep, the rest of the castle also enters a magical sleep while around the castle a hedge grows. At the end of a hundred years, a prince breaks through the hedge and rescues the princess with a kiss.

Gustave Doré
La Belle au Bois Dormant engraving by Gustave Doré; image from Gallica

Getting Technical

The Aarne-Thompson tale type index is a convenient way to categorize fairy tales so that similar stories can be linked together --- for example, a fairy tale told somewhere in Africa with similar elements as a tale told somewhere in Europe will be variations of a story in the same category. Some of the categories include marchen (fairy tales), animal tales, and religious tales.

Sleeping Beauty makes up the Type 410 fairy tale in the Aarne-Thompson tale type index. In this indexing system, the 400s all involve enchanted wives, while enchanted husband tales make up the 500s. So by swapping the roles we're actually also getting out of category, but the story in Rhapsody more closely resembles Sleeping Beauty than any of the tales in the 500s.

Parallels & Reversal

While the roles are certainly reversed for Rhapsody, there are a lot of parallels between the game story and the fairy tale. Marjoly the witch shows up uninvited to the prince's birthday celebration (similarly to the original story, where a fairy shows up uninvited to the christening celebration of a princess). Due to the intentions of the characters (ie Marjoly being romantically interested in the prince, whereas the fairy in the original was responding to being slighted by the royal family when she cast her magic), the means are a bit different (instead of telling a prophecy, Marjoly curses the prince immediately --- however accidentally), but the ends are very similar (the prince is turned to stone, while the original princess falls into an enchanted sleep).

Now, instead of a prince waking the princess with a kiss after a long journey to reach her, we follow Cornet's journey until she can awaken the prince with a kiss.


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