Given a century to peacefully slumber in that solitary wood, Sleeping Beauty must have had some legendary dreams.
I wonder if that crafty fairy, who so cleverly used her christening gift to reverse the wicked fairy’s spell of death upon the spindle prick, ever prepared Sleeping Beauty for the effects of such a long sleep on her overworked subconscious?
Just imagine the epic psychological endurance required for a hundred years of dreaming, or worse, nightmaring! That charming prince Hamlet, nearly a hundred years before Sleeping Beauty was even born, worriedly wrestled with what it might be like “to sleep, perchance to Dream. Ay, there’s the rub,” he said, “For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come”.
Snow White, for example, no doubt had terrible dreams after eating that poisoned apple. Like Sleeping Beauty, she too fell into a long comatose state, only to be serendipitously awakened by the kiss of a remarkably similar Prince (aka Opportunistic Travelling Womaniser or OTW).
Of course, food poisoning can have some pretty nasty side-effects on your dreams. Milton tells us that Adam and Eve, after eating one bad apple (and having lustful sex), had absolutely terrible nightmares, only to awaken to the guilt and shame of paradise lost. Now that’s one hell of a morning after night before.
Clearly, such a long sleep had a decisive effect on Sleeping Beauty’s optimism. Sleep on it, we’re told, and complex problems become solvable and judgement improves, for fools rush in where angels fear to tread. But upon first seeing Prince Charming (OTW) hovering expectantly above her lips “‘Are you my prince?'” she says.”‘You’ve kept me waiting a long time’. The Prince charmed by her words… did not know how to express his joy.”
Little did she know at the time that Prince Charming (OTW), clearly in the throes of a mid-life crisis, would later dump her like a hot potato for that “woe is me” Cinderella, but that dear reader, is another happily-ever-after.
With such great expectations that surround the royal classes, I’d like to think that Sleeping Beauty, like the child-like innocent portrayed in Coldplay’s Paradise, would dream of happier times.
Eventually however, all of those fairy tales fall upon that wheel that breaks the butterfly. As life goes on, the wheel, with its “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and its “sea of troubles… the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to” all serve to break the wide-eyed innocence of that beautifully innocent creature.
When she was just a girl, she expected the world. But it flew away from her reach, so she ran away in her sleep. And dreamed of paradise. Away she files.