Boy image by Midori Foo
Thank you to Xenia for finding this wonderful art
“Brier Rose” by Hermes Trismeg For the best listening quality, please click on the link below to download the mp3
Brier Rose (9.9 MiB)
A king and queen had no children, although they wanted one very much. Then one day while the queen was sitting in her bath, a crab crept out of the water onto the ground and said, “Your wish will soon be fulfilled, and you will bring a son into the world.” And that is what happened.
The king was so happy about the birth of the boy that he held a great celebration. He also invited the fairies who lived in his kingdom, but because he had only twelve golden plates, one had to be left out, for there were thirteen of them.
The fairies came to the celebration, and as it was ending they presented the child with gifts. The one promised him virtue, the second one gave beauty, and so on, each one offering something desirable and magnificent. The eleventh fairy had just presented her gift when the thirteenth fairy walked in. She was very angry that she had not been invited and cried out, “Because you did not invite me, I tell you that in his thirteenth year, your son will prick himself with a spindle and fall over dead.”
The parents were horrified, but the twelfth fairy, who had not yet offered her wish, said, “It shall not be his death. He will only fall into a hundred-year sleep.” The king, hoping to rescue his dear child, issued an order that all spindles in the entire kingdom should be destroyed.
The boy grew and became a miracle of beauty. One day, when he had just reached his thirteenth year, the king and queen went away, leaving him all alone in the castle. He walked from room to room, following his heart’s desire. Finally he came to an old tower. A narrow stairway led up to it. Being curious, he climbed up until he came to a small door. There was a small yellow key in the door. He turned it, and the door sprang open. He found himself in a small room where an old woman sat spinning flax. He was attracted to the old woman, and joked with her, and said that he too would like to try his hand at spinning. He picked up the spindle, but no sooner did he touch it, than he pricked himself with it and then fell down into a deep sleep.
At that same moment the king and his attendants returned, and everyone began to fall asleep: the horses in the stalls, the pigeons on the roof, the dogs in the courtyard, the flies on the walls. Even the fire on the hearth flickered, stopped moving, and fell asleep. The roast stopped sizzling. The cook let go of the kitchen boy, whose hair he was about to pull. The maid dropped the chicken that she was plucking. They all slept. And a thorn hedge grew up around the entire castle, growing higher and higher, until nothing at all could be seen of it.
Princes, who had heard about the beautiful Brier Rose, came and tried to free him, but they could not penetrate the hedge. It was as if the thorns were firmly attached to hands. The princes became stuck in them, and they died miserably. And thus it continued for many long years.
Then one day a prince was traveling through the land. An old man told him about the belief that there was a castle behind the thorn hedge, with a wonderfully beautiful prince asleep inside with all of his attendants. His grandfather had told him that many princes had tried to penetrate the hedge, but that they had gotten stuck in the thorns and had been pricked to death.
“I’m not afraid of that,” said the prince. “I shall penetrate the hedge and free the beautiful Brier Rose.”
He went forth, but when he came to the thorn hedge, it turned into flowers. They separated, and he walked through, but after he passed, they turned back into thorns. He went into the castle. Horses and colorful hunting dogs were asleep in the courtyard. Pigeons, with their little heads stuck under they wings, were sitting on the roof. As he walked inside, the flies on the wall, the fire in the kitchen, the cook and the maid were all asleep. He walked further. All the attendants were asleep; and still further, the king and the queen. It was so quiet that he could hear his own breath.
Finally he came to the old tower where Brier Rose was lying asleep. The prince was so amazed at his beauty that he bent over and kissed him. At that moment he awoke, and with him the king and the queen, and all the attendants, and the horses and the dogs, and the pigeons on the roof, and the flies on the walls. The fire stood up and flickered, and then finished cooking the food. The roast sizzled away. The cook boxed the kitchen boy’s ears. And the maid finished plucking the chicken. Then the prince and Brier Rose got married, and they lived happily ever after.
Adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale