Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sleeping Cutie, By Hugh Neeld

Note: What do I have to say about this story? Just this: It is very, very good!
And fun!

The king and queen of the small country of Gotitmade had pretty much everything a couple could want; A three story beach front mansion (some said it looked more like a castle), a swimming pool, bowling alley, tennis courts, putting green and stables, big screen TVs, and a large staff. Yes, they had everything—everything, that is, except a child.

One day the queen was on her balcony getting her daily Swedish massage, when a seagull landed on the railing in front of her.

“What the heck,” the queen said, startled. The unflappable masseuse continued to twist and knead. The queen addressed the gull. “Where did you come from?”

“A long story, queen,” the gull replied. “Let’s just say that we were told about you and your husband wanting a child, and have been authorized by an anonymous source to tell you your wish will be granted.” And with that, the gull flapped away toward the sea.

Sure enough, after the usual amount of time it takes, a daughter was delivered. The king and queen were ecstatic. Nothing would do but to have a knock ‘em dead banquet to celebrate the event. In addition to the usual crowd invited to these major affairs, a special invitation was issued to the DGR (Daughters of the Gotitmade Revolution), one of the most respected and prestigious organizations in the country; reputed to have magical powers beyond the norm The DGR only had twelve members. The thirteenth member had been expunged a few years ago for conduct unbecoming a DGR member. It’s too long a story to go into here; suffice to say she was expunged.

Before the celebration ended, the DGR members, each in turn, presented their gifts to the newborn princess. One bestowed virtue, one beauty, one riches, and so on. Then, just before the last gift could be presented, the member that had been expunged, came barreling into the room, obviously well oiled, and seeking revenge.

“OK, girls,” she said. “Here’s my present for the little darling. When the princess turns sixteen, she’s going to have an unfortunate accident while surfing the web and die. So there!” With that, she left. As celebrations go, this one had turned into a bummer.

Fortunately, the gift of the last legitimate member of the DGR had not been bestowed, so although she couldn’t cancel the surfing wish of the ousted member, she could defuse it a little—and she did.

“The princess won’t die,” she said, “but she will fall into a deep sleep for a hundred years.”

The first thing the king did, of course, was to rid the kingdom of computers. That went over like the proverbial fly in the punch bowl, but the citizens understood the reason and complied. No more surfing no twitter, no face book. You can imagine what that was like.

Time passed, as it always does, and the young princess finally reached sixteen. One day, while her mother and dad were visiting friends in Monaco, the princess was wandering around exploring parts of the mansion she was not familiar with. In the basement, which was mostly store rooms, she opened the door of a room in which a wrinkled old lady sat at a computer.

After a few pleasantries, the princess said, “That’s a computer, isn’t it? I’ve seen pictures in some of the history books.”

“That’s what it is, dear. Come sit and I’ll show you how it works”.

The princess sat in front of the computer and the old woman instructed her in how to use the mouse. Excited to learn something new, the princess pointed to the picture on the screen and clicked. Oops! Not a good decision. She felt the prick of a pin hidden in the mouse, then fell into the deep sleep that had been predicted.

Not only did the princess fall asleep, but everyone in the mansion, too, including her mom and dad when they returned from their trip.

More time passed. Trees and thorny vines, with no groundskeeper to tend them, grew wild and after awhile hid the mansion from view. Word spread throughout neighboring countries and the sons of many kings, some in their private yachts or jets, came to Gotitmade and tried to force their way into the mansion. No dice.

As often happens in fairy tales, one day a king’s son heard an old man tell about the mansion surrounded by poison ivy and trees and the princess who had slept for a hundred years. Nothing would do but that he go and give it a try himself. And he did.

Now that the hundred years was up, the poison ivy had changed to honeysuckle vines and the prince found easy entrance to the mansion. Wow, he thought. Looks like everybody’s sound asleep; the servants, the kitchen staff, the king and queen, even the masseuse—they’re all out of it. Floor by floor he searched, until he finally worked his way to the basement and opened the door where the princess slept in front of the computer.

The princess, like most you’ve heard about in this kind of story, was a looker. The prince couldn’t resist. He leaned over and kissed her on the lips. That’s when she awakened. “No tongue,” she chided him gently, for she had been properly raised.

Hand in hand they made their way through the mansion, greeting the newly awakened staff and the king and queen. Everybody picked up where they’d left off as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It was like a dream some said.

Within the week, the caterer had been contacted, the wedding gown purchased and the guests invited. Once again the banquet hall was the scene of a splendid celebration, this time the wedding of the princess and her prince. Best of all was the gifts the bride and groom exchanged—brand new matching Dell computers with all the bells and whistles.


  1. It is safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this re-write a lot because of the casual yet quirky and imaginative way in which this story was written in. Unlike the many older re-tellings and countless revisions, this particular tale stood out to me because it took place in a well-established foreign country during modern times rather than in a cold, poverty-stricked kingdom in the distant past. The way in which the danger threatening the young princess in the tale is altered (a computer mouse in the place of the spinning wheel)is clever and entertaining. To me, this simply represents the ways in which dangers present in real-life have evolved along with society. It has become clear to me that this particular re-write is certainly thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time. -Hollace G.