A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty, The Princess and the Pea and The White Snake

Rev. Bonnie Tarwater, revtarwater@yahoo.comwww.revbonnietarwater.com

This is a rough draft of a new theater project to be done in workshop with giant rod puppets.   

May the reading out loud or silently  to yourself of these fairy tales be a dream incubation for this ecology conference  and beyond as we beckon Sleeping Beauty, the Black Madonna and/or thefeminine divine to awaken within us in love.


Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a place deep in the dark forest, a princess was born named Aurora. Everyone in the fairy tale kingdom including the King and Queen were filled with happiness and delight and they had a magnificent party to celebrate. Her Fairy God Mother’s came to bless her, but one of her Fairy God Mother’s, the Blackest of them all had somehow not been invited. She of course became very angry and decided to come anyway. She flew in on a giant gust of wind and said, “How dare you not include me! You will pay for this. I cast a curse on your baby Aurora. When you turn 16 you will prink your finger on a spinning wheel and you will fall into a deep sleep and not be able to wake up.” After many years this curse was forgotten.   Aurora grew up and was exceptionally beautiful inside and out. Every day she played in the garden and talked to the plants and animals who were her close friends. On Aurora’s 16th birthday, as fate would have it, she pricked herself on a spinning wheel and descended into a deep sleep. Not only did she fall asleep but the King and Queen and everyone in the kingdom fell fast asleep as well.  100 years passed and the castle became grown over with vines and could not be found, although there were many who remembered the lost kingdom.  There were many legends and stories told about the Sleeping Beauty and how she had fallen into a deep sleep. One bright and clear spring day, a young adventuresome brave prince riding on his white horse from a far off land stumbled upon this place of thick vines. He said, “Open sesame!” and suddenly the vines magically opened for him and he could see a castle. He went inside and found Sleeping Beauty lying as if dead but in a deep, deep sleep. He fell in love at first sight and kissed her. She woke up and began kissing him back and they fell instantly in love. True love had broken the spell and Sleeping Beauty was awakened.  Everyone in the fairy take kingdom woke up after Sleeping Beauty woke up and they all lived happily ever after.  The Prince and Sleeping Beauty were married and everyone learned that love is the strongest power in the universe that will reverse a curse and love of course is the secret potion that will awaken any Sleeping Beauty.

Their first born child was a daughter and they named her Sarah. She loved gazing into the stars at night and felt the heavens speaking to her of love and adventure. She could not get enough of sleeping out under the stars and often said, “I wish my eyes were on the top of my head for I long to gaze upon the heavens and all the stars as I wander in the woods.” One night she wandered deep into the forest to go star gazing and soon became lost. Her guardian angels from the heavens however were watching over her and when it began to rain they flew to her and led her down a dark passage she discovered within the huge roots of a large tree. Down, down, down a tunnel she went into the earth. When she got to the bottom of a long passage she found herself in a deep dark cave. She was cold, frightened and exhausted and she huddled with her back to the earth cave walls, closed her eyes and to soothed herself she said prayers to God.  Soon she fell into a deep sleep. She had a dream that she was walking on the sea shore next to the ocean and soon there were huge waves and night came and the storm drenched her. She saw a mighty castle on the cliffs and knew she must climb up to the castle.  Bravely she knocked three times on the huge castle door. The Queen answered the door and Sarah said to the queen, “I am a lost princess, and it is very wet and dark and cold outside. May I please stay with you tonight?”  The Queen said, “Of course my dear, come in out of the wet cold and come sit by the fire.” They talked and cared for her but the Queen was not sure she believed she was a real princess so she placed a pea under her bed and on top she put another 20 mattresses. When Princess Sarah climbed into her high bed the Queen told her a bed time story called The White Snake.

“Once upon a time, a white snake and a green snake had magical powers and lived in the Sacred Mountain.  One day the snakes transformed into two beautiful young ladies, one wearing white, one wearing green. They decided to go into town and on their way they met a poor man who was a humble orphan. The white snake woman fell in love with him at first sight and soon they were married. The white snake lady did not tell him that she really was a snake and told him her name was White Lady and introduced her green snake friend as Green Lady.  He helped her and her friend open an herbal medicine store, for they both were very wise about how to heal the sick. They knew to always stir love into their potent.  Patients unable to pay were given free treatment and the secret ingredient love made all their medicine magically healing and soon the store became well known and popular. The white snake and green snake did not want anyone to know their real snake origins and were undiscovered until one day when White Lady was singing alone in her garden. When she became enraptured in nature and music she often transformed back into her former self without even noticing. One day her husband was out of town and decided to come home early to surprise her. He heard her beautiful voice singing in the garden and has he looked over the garden fence he saw with his own eyes her transforming from her woman’s body into a snake body. When he called out to her she was so frightened to be found out that she slithered quickly away and went into hiding in the desert. White Snake’s husband was heartbroken for he did not care if she had been born a snake. The town loved both her and her friend the green snake for they had offered so much healing love in their medicine and magic potions for their town, so they were greatly missed. He searched and searched but could not find her until one day he got an idea. He made his own magic potent just as he had seen her do, stirring in the love he had for her.  He drank the potion and like magic he suddenly had special powers to get on his white horse and he knew he would be able to find her. He galloped instinctively to the place where she lay cold, despondent and heart sick. When he found his beloved she was in her snake form lyingon a rock. He got on one knee and said to her, ‘I love you as a woman and as a snake, no matter what, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, and I will even love your shame about being a snake into healing.’ With this she magically became her woman’s self again. They kissed sealing their fate of a life of love into eternity. Joyfully she is now able to goes back and forth from her snake form to her woman’s body and is able to give herself the medicine of self-love she had been giving to others and now they lived happily ever after.”

In the morning at breakfast the King, Queen and Prince invited Princess Sarah to join them in their daily breakfast ritual of dream sharing. Princess Sarah says, “Last night, I had an amazing snake dream.” She shared her dream about huge snakes of many different colors in the water and the Queen instantly realized that she was a real princess and her journey to them has been an initiation intoher royalidentity to become a queen.  The smallest seed possible, a small green pea had catapulted her to have dreams and visions, not for herself but for the wellbeing of everyone in the kingdom.  The Prince rejoiced for only a real princess would have the sensitivity to have snake dreams of transformative healing power while sleeping on 20 mattresses.  The young Prince and Princess fell in love and were marred. She made sure the ceilings of the castle could open so everyone was able to sleep communing with the stars at night. Every creature in the fairy kingdom was able to become one with the beings of light in the night sky and the angels rejoiced.  And they all lived happily ever after in happiness and delight……………………………………………………………..May we dream dreams tonight to help save ourselves and all life forms on our beautiful earth.