We are starting our first adventure a bit late into the month, and Emma picked ‘Sleeping Beauty’ as our first fairy tale to explore. Of course, alarm bells rang for me. Not only do roses feature heavily; in a lot of other languages – including my native German – the actual name of the fairy tale translates as ‘Briar Rose’. Soooo…of course, this would be a doddle. Make a rose, photograph it, stick it on the blog, Bob’s your uncle!
The trouble is – I’ve already made a rose. In fact, if I count beads and ring tops, I’ve literally made hundreds! And while I’m sure that roses will feature in future, there was no way I’d go for the obvious first off. We started the blog to challenge ourselves, and while I’m quite intrigued by the idea of making a huge thorny rose thicket, that plan might have to wait a bit.
So…what do I know about Sleeping Beauty? The Grimm Brothers had it in their collection, but it’s actually of French origin – or at least, a version of it is. Did you know that an ogre features in that version? She’s the prince’s mother, and after Sleeping Beauty bears the prince two children, she (the Mother-in-Law) demands to eat both them and Sleeping Beauty. In at least one version, the children were conceived by rape – since, in that version, it was rape, and not a kiss from the prince, that woke Sleeping Beauty from her sleep.
So, I was toying with the idea of making an ogre, which would be fun – but there’s something else in the fairy tale that has always intrigued me – the spindle. A household tool of the time, yet the king bans all spindles from the country. For 15 years. Were people forced to felt, and wear felted clothes during this time? Did businesses go under? What did women do in the long winter months? As a Mum, I can understand the willingness to take all sorts of drastic measures to protect one’s child, but still…
And – how do you prick yourself on a spindle? It’s wood and wool, isn’t it? I’m not a spinner, so maybe somebody will correct me, but a spindle doesn’t strike me as the most – erm – dangerous craft tool. A knitting or sewing needle would make a much more likely candidate.
In a way, the spindle is Sleeping Beauty’s ‘weapon of mass destruction’ – or at least, ‘Weapon of Mass Soporification’, sending to sleep – depending on which version you read – either the entire court, or the entire country. I think it might be fun to make a ‘Weapon of Mass Soporification‘!