What to read: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (for a new take on an old classic); TheSleeping Beauty by Trina Schart Hyman (for a gorgeously illustrated bedtime story), Anne Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (for erotic and weird), or La Belle au bois dormant by Charles Perault or Little Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm (for the straight up classics)
What to drink: a Stinger
Disney has done it again and is releasing yet another live action fairy tale adaptation – and this one looks like as much CGI porn as the Alice in Wonderland ridiculousness of 2010.
The tale is old – elements date back to 1528, with Perault’s version being published in 1697. Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is an ultimate classic, scored with the lovely Tchaikovsky ballet of the same name, and their princess is the ultimate modern princess icon. Based on the previews, I just can’t see twisting the story to the bad fairy’s point of view being an improvement on their classic.
Fun fact: in the 1959 classic, the names Disney used for the iconic blue and pink swathed priness were both a nodd to Perault (L’Aurore was the princess’s daughter in his version) and the Grimms brothers (Briar Rose).
Sleeping Beauty, by whatever name it goes by, is ancient and familiar. The princess, asleep and innocent in her tower, cursed by an angry fairy. The castle, hidden away by a briar of roses, daring brave souls to try and break the curse. And of course, the handsome prince who finally has the courage and strength to cross the barrier and save the princess.
I read the Trina Schart Hyman version hundreds of times when I was young. Her illustrations are ethereal and luxurious and kindled my love of fantasy and folklore. I especially love the way she draws hair.
I recently picked up Neil Gaiman’s short story The Sleeper and the Spindle as a CA Bookstore Day exclusive. As only Gaiman can spin it, the story is wonderfully eerie and mysterious, and ever so gently changes the story, without losing the original fairy tale feeling. Neil Gaiman writes, for lack of a better word, old. His stories feel like a handed down heirloom, a tale from an ageless,weary traveler, or a lost history of magic. This short story feels just as natural as the original.
And to comfort you, as you peruse these old sleepy, stories, what better than a classic nightcap? I find the stinger to be uncannily perfect for this one. The cocktail is cognac and white crème de menthe – I know that sounds a little ick, but it’s mostly just got that cozy, warming sensation. Besides the name, which calls to mind that classic spindle prick, the drink warms all the way down, so you sink down into a drowsy, dreamy state. Like a certain princess, perhaps.
Just uh, go easy on them. Like waking from a 100 year slumber, too many nightcaps is a recipe for a rough morning. Or some killer morning breath.
Man, I hope the prince didn’t go for tongue.