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Skip Sleeping Beauty

Tell it to a bouncy girl instead.

By Stephanie Van OrmanPublished 11 months ago 4 min read
Skip Sleeping Beauty
Photo by Max de Groot on Unsplash

As a novelist, I'm always thinking of the best medium for a story to be told. Epic fantasy should be in video game format so that you can kill the monsters yourself. That would be far more satisfying than watching someone else do it. Mysteries should be in movie format because a cozy mystery should never take more than one night to complete. It's even better if you can cuddle with someone on the couch. Opera should not be played on the radio in the car. You should only listen to opera in an opera house. Outside its context, it's hollow and strange. I can understand the presentation of fairy tales in different formats, but Sleeping Beauty should be used in only one way. Let me take you there.

Imagine you're a mother, and you have a three-year-old daughter who needs to go to bed. You are exhausted. You take the child to the bathroom and make sure she pees and brushes her teeth. You let her sip water from the bathroom cup as you brush her hair and braid it down her back. You help her meditate for a moment as she says what she's grateful for with her hands in a steeple and then you tuck her into bed.

She's bouncing. She's humming. She's jumping on the bed and your head is about to crack open from the fatigue headache you're nursing. So, you tuck her back in and begin to tell her the story of Sleeping Beauty. The action at the beginning of the story is just to confuse her. It's not about sleeping at first, so it seems safe to a child who does not want to think about sleep. You use your sleepy time voice and start the tale. There's a beautiful princess who everyone loves but she's cursed by an evil fairy (reminding our little girl that even though she is super precious, she'll still have problems). The princess touches the one thing she's not supposed to touch and she falls asleep (accidentally teaching the little girl obedience).

You're in the chair and you're saying things like, "Then the princess fell fast asleep."

"What did the people around her do?" the little girl asks.

"Oh, well..." Pause to yawn. "They didn't want to be awake while the little princess was asleep, so everyone went to sleep too." (This helps our little girl get over her FOMO (fear of missing out) because nothing is going to happen while she is asleep if everyone else is also asleep).

"Did the King go to sleep?"

"Yes, the King went to sleep."

"Did the maid go to sleep?"

"Yes, the maid went to sleep."

"Did the cow go to sleep?"

"Yes, the cow went to sleep." (Notice the strong repetition of the word 'sleep'. I don't know it if helps, but someone thought it would or the story wouldn't be written like that. I'd also say every animal in the world and every person I could think of. She'd learn what apothecaries were at the age of three because I wouldn't stop).

The next part of the story is when the vines grow around the castle to protect the people who are sleeping (reminds our little girl that she is safe, but it is also a good opportunity to drag it out).

"The vines grew up the stairs, up the outside of the tower, over the windowsills on the first floor, the second floor, the third floor... and everyone was asleep while the vines slowly grew around them."

"What about the prince?" she asks. By this part in the story, her bed has been warmed up by her body heat, making it far more comfortable.

"The princess has to sleep for a long time before the prince can come rescue her. She has to sleep for a hundred years before she can be rescued. Shall we count the years?" ((I don't know if you can actually get away with all that counting, but if the child is four, I'd give it a try) The prince is a symbol that there is something to look forward to, but also a reminder that he's not coming yet, so she might as well sleep).

The point is, this story is one that can be dragged on for a hundred years and it can be the longest, most tiresome story ever told. That's its purpose. The little girl goes to sleep faster than with another story. You are a good mom and you get to go take the rest of the evening off.

Sleeping Beauty should never have been made into a film. It even feels safe to say that it is one of the worst Disney princess movies ever made. Aurora and Philip only talk in two scenes each. The rest of the time we're hanging out with drinking dads or bumbling fairies that aren't even drawn in a cute style. Just as a thought, little girls don't want to hang out with their dads while they are drinking in real life. Why would they want that in a cartoon designed to please them? When I was a little girl and watching Sleeping Beauty, I would watch the opening credits with all the different medieval knights on parade and then turn off the movie and go play pretend instead.

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About the Creator

Stephanie Van Orman

I write novels like I am part-printer, part book factory, and a little girl running away with a balloon. I'm here as an experiment and I'm unsure if this is a place where I can fit in. We'll see.

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Comments (2)

  • Antoinette L Brey11 months ago

    I never had kids, but it seems like a good bedtime story

  • L.C. Schäfer11 months ago

    This is genius, like hypnotism 😁 As for the Disney version, I liked Maleficent. She was my favourite part of the movie. I pretty much tuned out until she was on the screen.

Stephanie Van OrmanWritten by Stephanie Van Orman

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