sleeping beloved

Tchaikovsky’s Aurora

Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet debuted in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1890.  The storyline follows the Brothers’ Grimm version of the tale (although Tchaikovsky gives a nod to Perrault by including characters from Perrault’s other stories).  There are only two “significant” contributions the ballet adds to the Sleeping Beloved saga: the music and the name of the heroine, both of which are used in Disney’s 1959 animated feature.

By and large, the ballet is not considered a “major” rendition.  It is, however, of major importance to me… 

sleeping beloved

The Loss and Gain of Identity

In previous versions, our Sleeping Beloved was held three consistent identities: princess, wife, and mother.  Despite the magical forces, Sleeping Beauty always emerges as a “typical” woman (that is, wife and mother).  She embodies the transition between girlhood and adulthood, helping women through her example.  The lesson she teaches is that awakening one’s heart to love is always, always worth it.

Beginning in 1812, however, Sleeping Beauty’s story is cut short.  Rather than the central crisis coming after her awakening, her chief trial is her slumbering state…

sleeping beloved

The Nameless Beauty

Our next Sleeping Beloved shows up in France only 50 years after Basile’s story.  Although some scholars point to Basile’s “Sun, Moon, and Talia” as the inspiration (which is certainly possible),[1] it’s also possible that it came from a variant called “Sun, Pearl, and Anna,” which cleans up the story a great deal (i.e. the prince takes the spindle out of Anna’s hand, she awakes, then they have children who are almost killed by Anna’s mother-in-law, the evil queen).[2]  

Anyway, part of a compilation of eight short stories, The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood was written by Charles Perrault in 1697 for King Louis XIV’s niece.[3]  It is one of my favorite versions.  Hands down, I will read it to my children.  It has beautiful imagery (the good fairy has a chariot pulled by dragons!), and has all the delightful qualities of a “fairy tale”…

sleeping beloved

Awakening Hearts: From Zellandine to Talia

The only love that can truly awaken your heart is the love of Christ, to which the Sleeping Beloved saga is an allegory.  Each of our versions covers an aspect of the awakening heart.  Zellandine’s story tenderly depicts the emotional journey of a survivor of violence.  We saw how nothing – no terror, no pain, no abuse – could ever separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-379), and that His love is able to redeem all things (Isaiah 61:1-3). 

Because Zellandine’s story deals with the emotional journey of a survivor, it is timeless.  Our next heroine, Talia, is far more at home in the Medieval and Renaissance periods.  She speaks for a culture quite alien to us, a culture where women didn’t have a say and had to find contentment without love.  We saw this to a certain extent in Zellandine’s story; it is more pronounced in Talia’s…

sleeping beloved

Following the Spindle’s Thread

It’s time to meet our “Sleeping Beauties”!  The following versions are the ones most clearly showing a turn in the thread of the story.  There are, of course, hundreds of stories tracing their lineage back to the ones listed here.  

The tale we know today as “Sleeping Beauty” has its roots in the Norse and Germanic myths of Brunhild and Sigurd…

sleeping beloved

The First ‘Sleeping Beauty’

You have just read the original Sleeping Beauty tale.  Yes, that’s right.  The first Sleeping Beloved is the first human ever created: the man, Adam.  This story is special, as it occurs before the Fall of mankind.  It shows the ideal Sleeping Beloved, where there are no curses, only blessings.  What is taken is done in love, without pain, and is immediately returned seven-fold…

sleeping beloved

The Sleeping Beloved

“Sleeping Beauty” was my favorite story growing up.  Perhaps it was Aurora’s lovely blonde locks, or perhaps it was how much Prince Philip loved her and fought for her.  Probably both.  Either way, I was convinced I would be just like Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”, fairy friends and all. 

And then I grew up – and made a mess of everything.  I fell into my own “death-like sleep,” only to be re-awakened by Christ’s inexplicable love…


Christ in our Stories

In the antediluvian world, the Truth of God quickly diverged into myriads of myths and legends.  Our stories spoke of great heroes, usually the sons of gods, who were given virtually impossible tasks to overcome. These stories did not seek God, but seem to spit in His face with their unbelief. 

But He is not far from each one of us, no matter the state of our heart.  God determined and appointed these stories so we might seek Him.  Israel knew what to look for in the Messiah, as God had chosen them as His Own.  The gentiles, however, had chosen to “exchange the truth for a lie.”  In His mercy, God allowed their stories to presage His Son so that when He came, they would recognize Him…


The Nature of our Stories

I have a rather fanciful view of how stories come to us. I imagine the stories roaming the earth on the wind, seeking a heart with ears to hear their whisper.  When they find that heart, they break their silence, and pour out the story they’ve kept hidden for centuries.  Sometimes they speak a song or symphony, other times a poem or novel.  The storyteller has but to listen, and he or she will be swept away into the tale’s river-like flow.

That is the work of the Spirit of God – for do you really think He left once the Word came forth?  Of course not.  His mission is to go before and behind the Word – Jesus Christ – and bring everything back to God…