Retelling of "Sleeping Beauty." My poem.


He stopped within sight of the castle. It was dark and oppressive; he could feel the rain coming. The vines had nearly swallowed the castle whole, it seemed. Prince Darius could see the skeletons entwined with the vines, some of them still holding their swords. He had lost his, way back, days ago.

Along with his retinue and horse. The poor beast. His stallion would have come on with him, even to this evil place. Darius could not break him like that. It was too cruel. But his servants and squire... they had abandoned him, the traitors. If he made it out of this place alive, Darius swore that he would punish them.

His armor sparkled in the fading sunlight, as the sun reached the far west. Darius looked up, knowing the night would make the vines into something far worse than they already were. His armor wasn't as shiny as it could have been; his boots were near worn through. He had new scars, from the thorns on the vines, and bruises all over his body. His muscles ached, and he wanted to go home.

But he had come this far, and he would not back out now. He wanted—no, he needed—the recognition. He needed his name to be remembered forever.

He had heard the tale before, of course. Everyone had. The royals who wanted a child, the birth, the forgotten fairy, the curse—something about a spindle, one hundred years, and a noble man with a kiss.

Whoever awoke, or rescued, depending on the tale, the princess would get her hand in marriage, her kingdom, and enough glory to fill two life-times.

Darius already had a kingdom and a bride. He wanted glory. But he was starting to feel a bit of fear, the closer he got to the castle.

The survivors of this place, the knights and princes and peasants who wanted a better a life, the ones who fled before the vines claimed them, said that they had heard a female voice, high and full and beautiful, singing a sad song, accompanied by a harp. They could only make out a few words; they were too far away to hear clearly.

They said it was like a siren, luring them to their doom. One knight, the man nearly driven mad by the cruel vines, said that his fellows who heard the voice threw themselves on the thorns, so fierce their determination to reach the singer was.

Darius heard that voice now.

-

Do not speak to me of love and fine horses

Do not speak to me of roses

And castles that gleam at sunset

And flags that wave in the breeze welcoming you home

-

It was beautiful, but not something to get worked up over. He looked down at the ground, and stepped over a skeleton that had vines growing out of its eyes. He picked his way carefully, and the girl continued to sing.

-

Do not whisper amorous words in hope of passion kindled

Do not try to make me laugh or smile

I have no joy left no glimmer of what you see

It is a fruitless quest you journey on boy

And you shall never find the end

-

Very well, perhaps she wasn't that bad. Darius saw the doorway, merely steps away. Vines covered it completely, their thorns thrusting out, blocking it. He muttered a curse. How could he finish this?

On the ground he saw a glint. He knelt, and picked up a key. He turned it over in his hand, and glanced at the door.

Just barely through the vines, he saw a lock.

-

Return to your family and your stallions

Return to your swords and bows

-

He stood and walked to the door. He reached through the vines and inserted the key. It fit. He turned it, and the vines moved. One reached for him, and he just kept himself from leaping away.

He trembled as the vine touched his cheek, appraising him, and one of the thorns drew blood.

He remembered Rochel, his betrothed back home. Why had he left her? For glory? Riches?

Why?

-

Return gallant young man

-

More vines moved toward him, and a few tears poured down his cheeks. He remembered his mother and father, his sister and brothers. He remembered his home and pack of dogs, his beautiful kingdom. Why had he left it all?

He yanked open the door.

-

Before you are taken by the glory that has ruined so many others

-

The vines tightened around him. "Rochel..." he whispered. He closed his eyes.

-

Or is it already too late?

-

By the window in the tower, a golden haired young woman set aside her harp. She stood gracefully, and glided across the room. At the desk by the door, she grabbed a piece of paper and a quill. She dipped the quill in ink, and looked toward the window. "Why do you keep coming here?" she asked. "What is it all of you seek?" On the paper she made a mark.

She returned to the window, and started to strum the harp. Opening her mouth, she sang.

-

Do not speak to me of love and fine horses

Do not mention glory attained

I need not what you can give

A handsome man's kiss

I want more

Do not speak to me of love and fine horses