For mange, mange år siden levede der en konge og dronning, og de sagde hver dag: "Bare vi dog havde et barn," men de fik ingen. En dag, da dronningen var i bad, kom der en frø krybende hen til hende og sagde: "Dit ønske skal blive opfyldt. Inden et år skal du føde en datter." Det gik, som frøen havde sagt. Dronningen fødte en datter, der var så smuk, at kongen blev ude af sig selv af glæde og besluttede at fejre en stor fest. Han indbød ikke blot sine venner og slægtninge, men også de vise feer, for at de skulle holde deres hånd over barnet. Der var tretten, men da han kun havde tolv guldtallerkener, måtte den ene blive hjemme. Festen blev fejret med stor pragt, og feerne gav barnet vuggegaver. Den ene gav hende dyd, den anden skønhed, den tredie rigdom og de andre alle mulige andre gode egenskaber. Da de elleve havde givet deres gaver, trådte pludselig den trettende ind i salen. Hun ville hævne sig, fordi hun ikke var indbudt, og uden at se til højre eller venstre gik hun lige hen til vuggen og sagde: "Når kongedatteren er blevet femten år, vil hun stikke sig på en ten og dø." Derpå vendte hun sig om og gik. Alle var grebet af rædsel, men da trådte den tolvte fe frem. Ophæve den onde spådom kunne hun ikke, men hun sagde: "Kongedatteren skal ikke dø. Hun falder blot i en dyb søvn, og den vil vare i hundrede år."
Kongen, der gerne ville frelse sit barn, lod bekendtgøre, at alle rokke i hele landet skulle brændes. Pigen voksede imidlertid til og blev smuk og god og klog, som de vise feer havde sagt, og alle, der så hende, kom til at holde af hende. Den dag, hun fyldte femten år, var kongen og dronningen tilfældigvis ikke hjemme. Hun gik da ganske alene rundt i slottet og så sig om, og kom til sidst op i et gammelt tårn. Hun gik op ad den snævre vindeltrappe, og helt oppe fandt hun en lille dør med en rusten nøgle. Hun drejede den om og kom ind i en lille stue, hvor der sad en ældgammel kone og spandt. "Goddag, morlil," sagde pigen, "hvad er det dog du bestiller?" - "Jeg spinder," svarede den gamle og rokkede med hovedet. "Det ser morsomt ud," sagde pigen, tog tenen og ville også spinde. Men straks gik spådommen i opfyldelse og hun stak sig i fingeren.
I samme nu sank hun om på en seng, der stod ved siden af hende, og faldt i dyb søvn. Søvnen bredte sig over hele slottet. Kongen og dronningen, som lige var kommet hjem, og hele hoffet sov øjeblikkeligt. Hestene i stalden, hundene i gården, duerne på taget, fluerne på væggen, ja selv ilden, der brændte på skorstenen, blev ganske stille og sov ind. Kokken, der netop havde taget fat på kokkedrengen for at give ham en ørefigen, slap ham, og faldt i søvn. Vinden lagde sig også, og der var ikke et blad, der rørte sig.
Rundt om slottet begyndte en tjørnehæk at skyde op, og for hvert år, der gik, blev den større og større. Til sidst blev den så høj, at man slet ikke kunne se noget af slottet, ikke engang fanen, der vejede fra tårnet. Men ude i landet gik sagnet om den smukke, sovende Tornerose fra mund til mund. Fra tid til anden kom der kongesønner og prøvede på at trænge igennem hækken, men tornene greb fat i dem, så de ikke kunne komme løs igen. Mange, mange år efter kom en kongesøn fra et fremmed land rejsende dertil, og en gammel mand fortalte ham om den fortryllede prinsesse, der sov bag tornehækken med sin far og mor og hele hoffet. Den gamle havde hørt af sin bedstefar, at allerede mange havde søgt at trænge gennem hækken, men havde sat livet til derved. Kongesønnen brød sig ikke derom. "Jeg vil ind til den dejlige Tornerose," sagde han.
Denne dag var netop de hundrede år forbi, og da kongesønnen kom til hækken, var der ingen torne, men store duftende blomster, der bøjede sig til side for ham og atter lukkede sig bagved ham. I gården lå hestene og hundene og sov, og oppe på taget sad duerne med hovedet under vingen. Inde i huset sad fluerne på væggen og sov, kokken stod med opløftet hånd for at give drengen en ørefigen, og pigen sad med en sort høne for at plukke fjerene af den. I den store sal sad kongen og dronningen med hele hoffet, men alle sov de, og der var så stille, at han kunne høre sit eget åndedræt. Til sidst kom han op i tårnet, hvor Tornerose lå og sov. Hun var så dejlig, at han måtte bøje sig ned og kysse hende, og i samme nu slog hun øjnene op. De tog nu hinanden i hånden og gik ned i salen. Da vågnede kongen og dronningen og hele hoffet, gned øjnene og så sig forundret om. Hestene i gården vrinskede, hundene gøede, duerne stak hovedet frem og fløj af sted, fluerne krøb videre på væggen, ilden flammede op igen, stegen på panden begyndte at syde, kokken gav drengen en ørefigen, så han skreg, og pigen plukkede hønen færdig. Og kongesønnens og Torneroses bryllup blev fejret med stor pragt, og de levede lykkeligt sammen til deres død.
In times past there lived a king and queen, who said to each other every day of their lives, "Would that we had a child!" and yet they had none. But it happened once that when the queen was bathing, there came a frog out of the water, and he squatted on the ground, and said to her: "Thy wish shall be fulfilled; before a year has gone by, thou shalt bring a daughter into the world."
And as the frog foretold, so it happened; and the queen bore a daughter so beautiful that the king could not contain himself for joy, and he ordained a great feast. Not only did he bid to it his relations, friends, and acquaintances, but also the wise women, that they might be kind and favourable to the child. There were thirteen of them in his kingdom, but as he had only provided twelve golden plates for them to eat from, one of them had to be left out.
However, the feast was celebrated with all splendour; and as it drew to an end, the wise women stood forward to present to the child their wonderful gifts: one bestowed virtue, one beauty, a third riches, and so on, whatever there is in the world to wish for. And when eleven of them had said their say, in came the uninvited thirteenth, burning to revenge herself, and without greeting or respect, she cried with a loud voice: "In the fifteenth year of her age the princess shall prick herself with a spindle and shall fall down dead." And without speaking one more word she turned away and left the hall. Every one was terrified at her saying, when the twelfth came forward, for she had not yet bestowed her gift, and though she could not do away with the evil prophecy, yet she could soften it, so she said: "The princess shall not die, but fall into a deep sleep for a hundred years."
Now the king, being desirous of saving his child even from this misfortune, gave commandment that all the spindles in his kingdom should be burnt up. The maiden grew up, adorned with all the gifts of the wise women; and she was so lovely, modest, sweet, and kind and clever, that no one who saw her could help loving her. It happened one day, she being already fifteen years old, that the king and queen rode abroad, and the maiden was left behind alone in the castle. She wandered about into all the nooks and corners, and into all the chambers and parlours, as the fancy took her, till at last she came to an old tower. She climbed the narrow winding stair which led to a little door, with a rusty key sticking out of the lock; she turned the key, and the door opened, and there in the little room sat an old woman with a spindle, diligently spinning her flax.
"Good day, mother," said the princess, "what are you doing?" - "I am spinning," answered the old woman, nodding her head. "What thing is that that twists round so briskly?" asked the maiden, and taking the spindle into her hand she began to spin; but no sooner had she touched it than the evil prophecy was fulfilled, and she pricked her finger with it. In that very moment she fell back upon the bed that stood there, and lay in a deep sleep.
And this sleep fell upon the whole castle; the king and queen, who had returned and were in the great hall, fell fast asleep, and with them the whole court. The horses in their stalls, the dogs in the yard, the pigeons on the roof, the flies on the wall, the very fire that flickered on the hearth, became still, and slept like the rest; and the meat on the spit ceased roasting, and the cook, who was going to pull the scullion's hair for some mistake he had made, let him go, and went to sleep. And the wind ceased, and not a leaf fell from the trees about the castle. Then round about that place there grew a hedge of thorns thicker every year, until at last the whole castle was hidden from view, and nothing of it could be seen but the vane on the roof.
And a rumour went abroad in all that country of the beautiful sleeping Rosamond, for so was the princess called; and from time to time many kings' sons came and tried to force their way through the hedge; but it was impossible for them to do so, for the thorns held fast together like strong hands, and the young men were caught by them, and not being able to get free, there died a lamentable death.
Many a long year afterwards there came a king's son into that country, and heard an old man tell how there should be a castle standing behind the hedge of thorns, and that there a beautiful enchanted princess named Rosamond had slept for a hundred years, and with her the king and queen, and the whole court. The old man had been told by his grandfather that many king's sons had sought to pass the thorn-hedge, but had been caught and pierced by the thorns, and had died a miserable death. Then said the young man: "Nevertheless, I do not fear to try; I shall win through and see the lovely Rosamond." The good old man tried to dissuade him, but he would not listen to his words. For now the hundred years were at an end, and the day had come when Rosamond should be awakened. When the prince drew near the hedge of thorns, it was changed into a hedge of beautiful large flowers, which parted and bent aside to let him pass, and then closed behind him in a thick hedge. When he reached the castle-yard, he saw the horses and brindled hunting-dogs lying asleep, and on the roof the pigeons were sitting with their heads under their wings. And when he came indoors, the flies on the wall were asleep, the cook in the kitchen had his hand uplifted to strike the scullion, and the kitchen-maid had the black fowl on her lap ready to pluck.
Then he mounted higher, and saw in the hall the whole court lying asleep, and above them, on their thrones, slept the king and the queen. And still he went farther, and all was so quiet that he could hear his own breathing; and at last he came to the tower, and went up the winding stair, and opened the door of the little room where Rosamond lay. And when he saw her looking so lovely in her sleep, he could not turn away his eyes; and presently he stooped and kissed her.
And she awaked, and opened her eyes, and looked very kindly on him. And she rose, and they went forth together, and the king and the queen and whole court waked up, and gazed on each other with great eyes of wonderment. And the horses in the yard got up and shook themselves, the hounds sprang up and wagged their tails, the pigeons on the roof drew their heads from under their wings, looked round, and flew into the field, the flies on the wall crept on a little farther, the kitchen fire leapt up and blazed, and cooked the meat, the joint on the spit began to roast, the cook gave the scullion such a box on the ear that he roared out, and the maid went on plucking the fowl.
Then the wedding of the Prince and Rosamond was held with all splendour, and they lived very happily together until their lives' end.