Sleeping Beauty, or The Stupidest Story Ever Told

21 Feb

Also known as, ‘Dang, King Stefan, Take a Friggin Breath’.


Sleeping Beauty is a classic tale that has survived centuries of retellings, but seems to be, at least as the story is told in the condensed-book-of-the-film-of-the-book version, a catalogue of the stupidest possible responses to one of the stupidest possible evil plans.

As a monument to this bizarre nonsense I present to you the story page-by-page as it is told in the book, followed by the script as it would be if there were characters with a smidgen of common sense.


Squire: I’ve always wanted to have a pet lion called Aurora.

Kitchen Maid: …

Squire: A roarer? Geddit?

Kitchen Maid: You’re to be the comic relief then, are you?

Squire: OK sorry, I’ll stop that.


Kitchen Maid: Ah, thank you, Fairies; ‘gifts’ that she has already on account of them being basically hereditary. Very generous. Don’t even need to wrap that.

Squire: What an excellent baby-shower gift idea! Aurora, I grant thee the gift of human form!

Kitchen Maid: And I summon all my magical powers to generously give to thee rich parents!


Squire: Look lady, when you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you. That spiky, torn, purple get-up of yours? Not really appropriate to all occasions. The green full-body make-up is also a little bit off-putting. You didn’t crack the nod to my birthday party for those reasons alone.

Kitchen Maid: And seriously? Huge black horns? Naming yourself Malificent? Not high point-scorers when it comes to approachability and not-scaring-children.


Squire: Uh Malificent? If you want to kill the kid, why don’t you just kill her. You could pretty much just poof into this place, kill Aurora, and then poof away. Why the delay? Why the unnecessary convoluted spell? What if she’s out camping on her 16th? You going to lug a spinning wheel out into the wilderness, drag her over to it and make her poke herself on it? That’s pretty much the same as stabbing her to death, but with all this administrative hassle.

Malificent: Silence, Squire! You didn’t invite me to your birthday party, so I have nothing to say to you!

Squire: And as for you fairies, what? Are you only allowed one spell each forever? What difference does it make that you’ve each already cast a spell? Just cast some other ones. Or if you must, wait until you’ve recharged and cast some more spells. Rinse, repeat.

Kitchen Maid: Wow, attempted murder of a member of the royal family? I’m pretty sure that counts as treason. Something death-penalty-worthy at least. It’s not like his royal majesty needs too many excuses for a good old-fashioned beheading. So why is everyone standing around? She’s left the room, that’s not the same as ‘legally exonerated’.

Squire: Exactly! Why don’t we continue with that ‘catch Malificent and make her take back the curse’ suggestion? It seems pretty fruitful. So she got away this time? Send some of the boys over to Malificent’s place to rough her up a bit. She lives in the creepy place over on Maple.


Kitchen Maid: Argh! Idiot! True love has to break the spell? Why didn’t she say ‘a light splashing of water the spell shall break’? ‘A gentle pat on the hand from someone nearby’? Anything else would be better.


Squire: No wait, King Stefan, hold up, buddy! Didn’t you hear what she said? She basically guaranteed that she won’t be an ‘evil threat’ for 16 years. You can rest easy until then. And if she does intend harm in the mean time, why would she use spindles again? If you must burn spinning equipment, let’s do it in 16 years’ time, and let’s just do the prickly part. Burning the whole wheel is all kinds of pointless.

Kitchen Maid: Also, doing this now will mean that the city’s weaving industry entirely collapses, unrevived for 16 years! People will die, clothing will be unaffordable. How does this solve anything? Tell you what, why don’t you just live happily with your daughter for 15 years and 364 days, and then shut her in a really secure room for 24 hours and be done with it?

King Stefan: Are the servants addressing me? How dare they! Besides, I’m too busy taking fear-motivated action to have  conversations with the help!


Kitchen Maid: Oh, trying to think of a better plan are they? A better plan than setting random objects on fire? This is surely going to occupy the top minds of this kingdom for a while.

Squire: Did they just say, ‘Let us abduct your daughter and raise her in squalor away from her parents for 16 years’?

Kitchen Maid: I’m pretty sure they also only volunteered their services for the full extent of time during which the princess is not in danger, so that they could return her on the one day of her life on which we are all sure that she is in danger.

Squire: Look people, if you want to protect her from the witch, just kill the darned witch. It can’t be that hard; there must be a magic sword or something that could do it?


Kitchen Maid: Ah, a disguise is all it takes? Against all the forces of black magic. Awesome.

Squire: Why did they change her name? Who’s she going to tell about it? And wouldn’t Malificent merely assume something is up when three unmarried fairies suddenly acquire a human child?


Squire: OK, so there have been 16 uneventful years. Real events are matching Malificent’s evil plan with chilling precision. It’s a good thing they saved her from happy home life with her parents and making friends.

Kitchen Maid: Wait a minute, can it really be that this is the day on which all the darkness of Malificent’s rotten core hits the fan? This is the one and only day on which Malificent has promised mischief, and… they leave Aurora alone. This is a day on which ‘stranger danger’ might be a valid concern. That guy might be Malificent in disguise for all they know. No concern at all. Nice.

Squire: And assuming this guy is who he appears to be, can it really be that it is an accidental meeting? The fairies came up with a spell that only true love can fix, and they’ve made no attempt whatsoever to get her interested in boys? I would have made finding her a true love a high priority, fairies, but hey, you’re the all-powerful ones.


Kitchen Maid: “Um, dear fairies, you know how I’m Princess Aurora who will sleep forever if I don’t have a true love? Well guess what? Against impossible odds, I’ve found a true love! And in the nick of time! Isn’t that great?” “Oh no, Aurora, that makes us sad, because your dad has organised things so that you can marry not-your-true-love, and not have any way of breaking the curse except by infidelity. So we’re going to do that instead.”


Squire: Oh right. The stranger is actually a prince, and he’s wandering the woods on his wedding day trying to hook up some peasant action. True love written all over that.

Kitchen Maid: And of all people, he happens to bump into — and get the serious hots for — his disguised future wife who’s in hiding. Fate is working double time to overcome all this stupidity. Give up Fate! It’s not worth it.


Kitchen Maid: “Dear Aurora, although this is the day on which a fairy more powerful than all of us put together wants to kill you, you look like you need some time alone. Unsupervised time. Call if you need us, Sweetie! We’ll be too far away to help.”


Squire: Great plan, Malificent. This is what it’s come to? Hope that no one’s thought to guard the princess. Use another spell to fix your previous stupid spell, just to lure her up the stairs, just so that you can not-quite-kill her with a rare spinning wheel that you had to smuggle up into a tower in the palace. Anything would be more effective than this, and most of them would be considerably more stylish.


Kitchen Maid: Having burned every spinning wheel in the land and separated a princess from her parents for her whole life, they only now remember that the curse is a big deal? It’s a surprise now, is it?


Kitchen Maid: “Hahaha! I’m the evilest most unbeatablest person in the world! I wanted to kill the princess and now she’s merely asleep and totally able to get out of it! Success! I’m the greatest!” Foolproof plan, Malificent. Congratulations.


Squire: Absolutely. Something must be done. Now only. And if there’s one thing that desperate circumstances need, it is action-for-action’s-sake. Preferably immediate action without consideration of the consequences. In the face of an inevitable curse, the first time in 16 years that you’ve considered a strategy is after it’s happened?

Merryweather: Stop interrupting me Squire! I’m trying to take action here. We must put everyone to sleep so that no one knows that anything is going on!

Kitchen Maid: But won’t putting people to sleep also put her true love to sleep? How will he break the curse if he’s sleeping forever?

Merryweather: To action, fairies!


Kitchen Maid: Nice that Malificent is able to be adaptable. ‘Sleeps a lot’ was not technically her evil curse, but she’s totally owning it.

Squire: Cool! She’s got a demon army? Why does she only think to use them now? They would be pretty useful most of the time, I reckon. Hey Malificent! You’ve got the only boy that Aurora’s ever met, and the only guy who has the slightest chance of thwarting your plan. So you’re going to kill him, right?

Malificent: Um… no… I’m going to… uh… just put him in a dungeon. Just, you know, leave him there. None of us are that good at making plans on the spot. But now I must go. I have to wander off to think about how well my plan is working somewhere else.

Kitchen Maid: Hey look, it’s the fairies. What ho, fairies?

Fairies: Now that the filthy boy Aurora met in the woods turns out to be Prince Phillip, we can pass him off as a ‘true love’, and King Stefan gets to make that marriage alliance with the neighboring kingdom (it has something to do with urgent need for clothing imports, I believe).

Squire: So the first guy that a sheltered16-year-old girl meets counts as ‘true love’? The spell will be fooled by that?

Merryweather: It’s not a very discriminating spell. So we’ve decided to march into this dungeon, vanquish the demon army, supply Phillip with a magic sword that kills Malificent, and take him over to Aurora’s place to break the spell.

Squire: Seriously? A magic sword?


Kitchen Maid: So now after 16 years of pacifism, everybody wants to kill everybody? And Malificent chooses ‘turning into a huge fleshy target and engaging in combat with a trained fighter with a magic sword’ as her method of trying to do this? How about a spell? Maybe ‘Prince Phillip shall prick his finger on a spindle in five minutes’ time and die’? How about that trance state? Hey even the demon army worked last time.


Squire: I don’t think I’d ever call the occupants of this castle ‘awake’.



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