Everyone knows the story of Sleeping Beauty, but do you know the creepy real story behind the famous fairy tale? It is based on an old Italian folktale recorded by Giambattista Basile called “Sun, Moon and Talia” which features children being cooked and eaten, people being burned alive, some bad language and some inappropriate references to rape.
In Giambattista Basile’s version of Sleeping Beauty, the girl is named Talia. When she is young, a fortune teller predicts her future and warns that Talia will be in grave danger from a splinter of flax.
Talia grows into a beautiful young woman, but one day, she pricks her finger on a splinter of flax and falls down dead. Her father is devastated and he can’t bring himself to bury her. So he lays her body out in her finest clothes and abandons the house forever.
Some time later, a king is walking in the forest and he stumbles on the abandoned house. Inside, he finds Talia’s body and she looks like she is sleeping. The king thinks she is beautiful and tries to wake her up. When she doesn’t wake, the king gets really creepy and decides to take advantage of the sleeping girl.
As he looked at her, and tried to wake her, she seemed so incredibly lovely to him that he could not help desiring her, and he began to grow hot with lust. He gathered her in his arms and carried her to a bed, where he made love to her.
Afterwards, the king just goes home and doesn’t think any more about poor Talia or what he has done to her.
However, months later, the unconscious Talia gives birth to twins — a boy and a girl. The hungry babies try to breastfeed, but one of them sucks on her finger instead and ends up sucking out the splinter. Talia wakes up and is shocked to discover that she is now a mother of two. She has no idea where the babies came from, but she names them “Sun” and “Moon”.
One day, the king starts thinking about Talia and decides to go back and see her again. Arriving at the palace, he finds her awake and taking care of his children. Putting two and two together, he realizes that the children are his. He leaves, but promises Talia that he will come back and take her to his kingdom.
He goes home, but his wife hears him taking in his sleep and learns that he has been cheating on her. She writes a letter to Talia, pretending to be the king and asks her to send the twins to the kingdom because he wants to see them.
When the queen gets her hands on the twins, she plans to have them killed, cook them and feed them to her husband.
The queen, hating the children even more when she saw how beautiful they were, took them to the kitchen and told the cook to kill them, and to prepare them as tasty dishes for the king’s supper.
The horrified cook brings the twins to his wife and hides them. Instead, he kills and cooks two lambs and serves them for dinner. The king tucks into the meal and keeps remarking on how tasty it is. His wife eagerly watches him eat and keeps saying:
“You are eating what is your own.”
The queen writes another letter to Talia, pretending to be the king, and invites her to visit the kingdom. The queen is secretly planning to burn her alive in the palace courtyard. When Talia arrives, the queen says:
“Are you the whore who has been enjoying my husband? Get ready to be welcomed in hell, because you will soon be going there.”
The queen forces Talia to strip naked and Talia begins screaming and crying. When the king finds out what’s going on, he says:
“How could I have eaten my own sweet babes? Why didn’t my very veins cry out in recognition? You venomous, evil woman! How could you have done such a dreadful thing?”
Then, he has his wife thrown into the fire and burns her alive, along with all the servants who helped her. However, when he finds out that his children are still alive, he spares the cook’s life and the story ends with the king marrying Talia and living happily ever after.