“Those whom fortune favors find good luck even in their sleep”
These are the last lines of Giambattista Basile’s story Sun, Moon, and Talia, also the original tale of what we know today as Sleeping Beauty. As if being raped and impregnated or being made to believe that your children had been cannibalized was fortunate. These elements, as well as murder and infidelity are present in this story from 17th century. The story goes about like this; Prophecy of a king’s daughter, Talia, falling asleep forever after getting a splinter comes true, so he abandons her body in one of his country mansions. Another king while out hunting finds her, rapes her and leaves. Months later, she has twins, who suck the splinter out and awaken her. That king returns and explains what happened and she fals in love with him somehow, then he happily invites her to his castle, but his queen is upset (Gee, I wonder why) and so attempts to have the twin children cooked into meals for the king and trick him into eating it, which was foiled by the kind-hearted cook, but then she also tries to burn Talia alive, which upsets the king and he burns his queen instead.
Amazing, right? This original story can be considered captivating purely because it is with astonishing disbelief that we would read how Talia accepts her rapist as her true love, let alone how she did not wake up after, presumably, hours of labor for twins, how a man will burn his wife alive when she becomes jealous of his cheating on her and no one stops to consider her validity, or how Talia’s father simply gives up all hope and leaves her body to decompose, accessible to the world’s creatures, and never returns or tries to find an actual solution. The way the author glosses over these events, as if we’re going to simply accept them as normal occurrences, is fascinating. It really shows how the culture at that time regarded the actions of men of authority; their choices were never argued or given a second thought, and the women would accept any love they received. Compared to today’s society, these events seem phenomenal!