The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Sleeping Beauty, The

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SLEEPING BEAUTY, The, a fairy tale, probably founded on nature's long sleep in winter. The Earth-goddess falls into a deep sleep, from which she is aroused by the prince, the Sun. We may compare Demeter's search for her lost daughter, Proserpine, in the Greek myth; and the sleep of Brynhild, stung to her sleep by the sleep-thorn. ‘The Two Brothers,’ found in an Egyptian papyrus of the 19th Dynasty — the time of Seti II — contains similar incidents. The spindle whose prick causes the long slumber is a counterpart of the arrow that wounds Achilles, the thorn that pricks Sigurd and the mistletoe fatal to Baldur. In ‘Surya Bai’ (from ‘Old Deccan Days’) the mischief is done by the poisoned nail of a demon. In the Greek myth of Orpheus, Eurydice is stung by the serpent. In a Transylvania variant a maiden spins her golden hair in a cavern, from which she is rescued by a man who undergoes an hour of torture for three nights. The awakening by a kiss corresponds to Sigurd's rousing Brynhild by his magic sword.