Prince Oliver and his Briar Rose: The Story of Sleeping Beauty (Read Intro for Details and Info!!!)
My old creative writing teacher at my old school challenged us a long time ago to rewrite our favorite story and make it even better! I did that with my Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I doubt it even comes close to the original. At the end of last year, her last prompt to us was to try to rewrite a story we didn't like as a child and turn it into one we would've liked. I never really liked Disney's Cinderella, and I was never fond of any form of Sleeping Beauty, so I tried to rewrite both!
Briar Rose's Pov
I’ve never even left the kingdom let alone gone into the village! The farthest I’ve gone from our cottage is further into the forest, and by doing so, gone even further from the rest of the kingdom. The only people I’ve ever met besides my aunties were people they invited into the cottage, and I haven’t even read a book that one of them haven’t picked out for me. I’ve never been left in the cottage on my own. I’m only allowed to leave the cottage without accompaniment to pick flowers and berries. The icing on the cake of over-protectiveness is this: all six of my godmothers have engrained into my mind that I am not to talk to strangers, under any circumstances.
“Briar Rose!” Auntie Marigold calls up to my room in the attic.
“Yes, Godmother?” I call down in response.
“Rosie dear, we need you to go out into the forest and bring back a basket full of fox’s leaf! Can you do that before lunch?” She yells back up.
I mark my page in my book, “Yes, Auntie Marigold!”
Once I have my book set down on my bedside table, I sit up on my bed and slip on my black slippers then smooth my dark brown curls. Once I come downstairs, out of the jumbled mess that is my bedroom, I find all six godmothers cleaning up breakfast. The cottage is always spotless, it’s not at all welcoming or humble if you ask me. I find our intense cleanliness off-putting. Not to mention, I’ve always found it kind of odd how each auntie always wears the same color every day. I asked about it once, but Auntie Sapphire barked not to ask rude questions like that. Once I grab the basket by the door and go to leave, Auntie Ruby stops me by pulling on the strings of my tattered, white and lacey apron.
“Just a moment, Briar Rose,” She says suspiciously.
I turn to her, oblivious, “Yes, Auntie Ruby?”
Her eyes shift to the hem of my dress, which is mid-calf length, “You had another growth spurt. Your dresses are all on the short side now. Remind me to sew more before your birthday in two weeks.”
“I’ll try to remember,” I reply insecurely, peering down at the six of them, who are all shorter than me considerably.
“Oh Briar Rose,” Auntie Florina worries, “We’re not concerned with your height, not the slightest bit! We just don’t want you seeming immodest.”
I sigh, “I understand.”
“Have a good time in the forest!” Auntie Violeta says cheerfully as I finally leave our cottage.
As I make my way toward the pond, hidden behind evergreens and flowery shrubs, I start to sing as usual. Because I know a limited amount of music, only what my godmothers have taught me, I’ve begun to make up my own songs. Today I’m singing one of my favorites, it’s about the warm, welcoming sunrise that slowly eases through my bedroom window and brings a smile to my freckled face.
Not long after I start the song, the chipmunks, squirrels, robins, deer, even the owls and lizards are all answering to my call. I suppose it’s normal for the woodland creatures to come when called, no one’s ever told me otherwise, but I can’t help feel like we have a special connection. I care for them when I see that one of them is hurt, I sometimes bring treats like breadcrumbs and nuts for them to snack on, and I even sometimes knit little blankets to line their nests burrows with! One time, Auntie Florina asked why I was making handkerchiefs out of the softest fabric in the cottage, and she just laughed when I told her it was to keep the chipmunk’s burrow from getting cold in the autumn and winter! Apparently my kindness for everyone and everything is a bit much sometimes, but I say it’s better to be too kind than not kind at all.
“Good morning, darlings,” I say excitedly to my animal friends, “Today we’re in search of fox’s leaf! Can I ask you guys to help me find a basket full?”
The lizard with the green speckles down his back, Windsor, sticks out his little tongue at me and races off towards the bushes down the stream. The owl, Mr. Sylvester, hoots excitedly and leads the pack of robins towards a bush across the stream. The deer, chipmunks, and squirrels all split off except for the youngest of the chipmunks, Remi, who curls up in my lap and lets me pet him gently. He was born only a few weeks ago and has gotten so big! I have a stronger connection to him and all the other animals than I do to anyone else; they’re my only real friends.
After a few minutes, the deer runs back with a few leaves in his mouth. I hold out my basket and he deposits them in the basket. Mr. Sylvester, Windsor, and the other little critters soon follow and my basket is full. I give them each a little kiss and let them snuggle with me, all of us enjoying the sound of the stream running into the pond and the breeze rustling through the early May blossoms.
Eventually, I sit up and stroll over to the edge of the pond, taking a good look at my reflection. I’m not completely happy with what I see. I love my almost black curls that reach far past my waist, I love my rose-red lips and cheeks, and I even love my perfectly curved figure! I’m fond of my long and dark lashes, but I’ve never been too fond of my emerald eyes and freckles all over my body. I once overheard Auntie Esmeralda and Auntie Marigold going at each other, Auntie Marigold was saying something about how they are flaw that usually can’t be overlooked, but Auntie Esmeralda brushed her off, saying that not everyone sees green eyes as flaws, some people see them as emeralds of beauty. Freckles, she said, were something uniquely Briar Rose, and if I ever lost them I’d lose what made me the maid that I am.
I know it’s rude to eavesdrop, but I can’t help it! When they think I’m asleep, I’m actually listening to what they’re saying. I’ve heard things about my appearance, how I behave, who I should meet and when… It makes me wonder what they say when I’m out of the cottage! What is with all the secrecy? What is it about myself that I can’t know? What could possibly be so bad, that I can’t even have a single friend?
My 16th birthday is only 15 days away now that today is the first of May. Most maidens are married off by their 16th birthday. Most maidens are considered women by that age. Maybe my aunties will finally grant me the freedom I’ve been longing for once I blow out the 16 candles atop the cake! Maybe they’ll finally tell me all the secrets they’ve been keeping! Maybe, they’ll actually let me make a friend! Someone they haven’t chosen for me! Is it too much to ask to have that be my one and only 16th birthday present?