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Once upon a time, in a far distant kingdom, there lived a beautiful princess. Beautiful princesses live in castles, and Dornröschen, for that was her name, was no exception. Life was good, Dornröschen was not only very pretty, but also a good girl. As in so many far distant lands of the time, a very wicked witch also lived in the kingdom. It is well known that witches were usually extremely envious of pretty young maidens, who also happen to be princesses, and this one ran true to form. She cast a spell on Dornröschen, which made the girl fall into a deep sleep destined to last for a hundred years. Just so that nobody would notice her evil deed - although quite what she hoped to achieve by turning Dornröschen into a sleeping beauty, is anyone's guess - she caused the thick thorn bushes around the castle to grow to enormous heights, much like my hedges, when they haven't been cut for a year.
Time passed, the thorn bushes gradually encroached on the lawns and pleasure gardens, until the long tendrils had almost swallowed up the castle itself. Dornröschen slept the sleep of the just, on and on, blissfully unaware of the world around her. Nobody had set the alarm, lucky girl.
And then, one day, out of the blue, a young man happened upon the thicket of thorn bushes. It was summer and the bushes were covered in the sweetest smelling blossom. He decided to investigate. He was a prince, not only handsome but also courageous - they always were, calling a prince cowardly just wouldn't do, would it ? - so he hacked his way deeper and deeper into the thicket until he came upon the enchanted castle. He made his way inside and found the princess' bedchamber. She had slept so deeply and peacefully, that she had hardly rumpled the sheets, after all this time they still showed the marks where they had been folded after ironing. I wish somebody would do that for my bedlinen.
Dornröschen looked so very pretty and inviting, that the prince just couldn't help himself, he kissed her. He was, of course, meant to do just that, that's how you wake a princess.
Dornröschen stretched and yawned and stretched again. She opened her eyes.
"Hallo there, you've awakened me, who are you? And how did you get in here?"
"I am the handsome prince, come to rescue you from the spell of the wicked witch." He must have had a sudden flash of inspiration, or perhaps he remembered a tale which his old nurse used to tell him; anyway he got it right. (If you, dear reader, are not satisfied with this explanation, you may make up your own.)
"Oh, thank you, thank you so much," Dornröschen cried. She vaguely remembered seeing the witch approach her with a malicious glint in her eye and cackling something unintelligible - we know it must have been the spell - . She remembered nothing after that.
The prince lay down on the bed but, as he had been brought up properly, he tenderly held her head in his hands and kissed her sweet lips. He remembered again the story his old nurse had told him and knew what would happen next. "We shall be married," he said, "we shall be prince and princess together and live happily ever after."
The princess quite fancied him and had no objections to the plan. But one thing bothered her, would he turn out to be a fortune hunter? In spite of her innocence she had seen the way of the world before she fell asleep. Her father - where had He been all this time? - had often enough warned her.
"Before we go any further", she said, " how about getting the lawyers to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement?"