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The Gospel According to Sleeping Beauty

In last week’s post, I discussed the profound and eternal truths that can be found in works of fiction. In this week’s post, I’d like to examine the deep truths contained in fairy tales by analyzing “Sleeping Beauty.”

There are some variations in the French and German versions of this story, but the major plot points are basically the same. Both stories open with the birth of a beloved and much anticipated baby girl. At her christening, the princess is cursed by an embittered fairy: she will prick her finger and she will die. The curse of death hangs upon her.

The last fairy at the christening steps in and changes the curse. The princess will not die. She shall only sleep. The young girl can say like Paul, O death where is thy sting? For Christians death is only a sleep.

Her father tries to protect his daughter by having all the spindles in the kingdom destroyed, but despite his efforts the princess finds a spindle and pricks her hand and invokes the curse. The failure of the king to protect his daughter demonstrates the futility of works-righteousness. We cannot escape the curse of death by our own power.

After the princess falls asleep, the whole of her kingdom sleeps as well and a hedge of thorns covers the palace. Many men attempt to rescue the sleeping princess but they cannot penetrate the hedge; they get stuck in the thorns and are pricked to death.

Then the prince goes forth into the hedge, the thorns turn into flowers and separate as the prince walks through. There is only one prince who can conquer the sting of death and redeem the princess.

The prince finds sleeping beauty and awakens her with a kiss, which is a picture of the Resurrection when Christians will indeed be called out of sleep by their prince, Jesus Christ.

When sleeping beauty awakens, her entire kingdom awakes as well: her attendants, the horses and dogs, even the flies on the wall. Likewise, when Christ calls for His bride, the whole of Creation will be redeemed as well.

The fairy tale ends with a wedding, which is the end of the story of the Gospel as well. At the end, Christ will be united with His bride, the Church, in the marriage supper of the Lamb. And like, sleeping beauty and her prince, Christians will live happily ever after.

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