Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sleeping Beauty and Prince Ralph

When I was teaching French using stories, warped fairy tales or familiar characters from fairy tales made for some fun lessons.  I let the students be actors in the story.  I had a small glass of water ready for this version of Sleeping Beauty.  It was a huge hit every time.  If you teach French and want a written version of this in French, leave me a comment and I will send it to you. This could easily be personalized to your child by making her the princess or making him a different prince that figures out a clever way to wake the princess.  

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess.  She lived far, far away in a grand castle.  She wasn’t tired, but she slept all of the time.  She had been sleeping for years.  She slept so much because of a magic spell.  The people of the kingdom called her Sleeping Beauty.

One day a prince was walking through the forest.  This prince was handsome and strong, but unfortunately, he wasn’t very bright.  In fact, he was pretty vain and stupid.  When he saw the castle, he flung open the door to announce his presence.  “Greetings, I am Prince Ralph.  I have traveled from afar in search of a beautiful princess.”  Nobody responded.  The castle was silent.

Ralph looked around.  “Hello?  Where is everyone?” he shouted.  He marched through the rooms of the castle looking for people.  Finally he came to a room where he saw the beautiful princess sleeping.  He burst into the room.  “Greetings, Princess.  I am Prince Ralph, the handsome prince of your dreams and I am here to take you away to my kingdom.”

Sleeping Beauty didn’t move.  She didn’t respond at all.  She was asleep.  Prince Ralph moved closer.  He noticed she was sleeping.  He wanted her to wake up.  He was annoyed.  He was not used to being ignored.

First he shook her leg, “wake up!” he shouted.  Sleeping Beauty didn’t wake up.  She couldn’t wake up.  Then Prince Ralph squeezed her nose.  “Wake up!  I command you!” he shouted even louder.  Once again, Sleeping Beauty didn’t wake up.  He tried tickling her tummy too, but nothing happened.

The prince thought as hard as he could which wasn’t very hard at all.  He couldn’t think of what to do when he noticed a glass of water next to the princess’s bed.  The water was cold.  He threw the water at the princess getting her all wet.  She woke up immediately.

“What is going on here?  Who are you?  Where am I?  Why am I all wet?”  

“It is your lucky day, Princess.  I am Prince Ralph and I am here for you.”

“You mean you woke me up by throwing water on me?  Don’t you know anything about how this works?  I am supposed to get a kiss.”

Prince Ralph repeated.  “It is your lucky day, Princess.  I am Prince Ralph and I am here for you.”  Prince Ralph was not very intelligent, but Sleeping Beauty was a very quick thinker.  She figured out immediately that Prince Ralph was not for her.  She pushed him out the door and decided to rule her kingdom all by herself.

Notes:  In the version I used with my French students, the princess went back to bed to wait for Prince Charming.  I changed it here.  Both are fun.  As you tell this story, feel free to ask your children to compare what really happened in the traditional tale with this version.  Shaking their legs, squeezing their noses, and tickling their tummies are obvious way to be physically silly with them as you tell the story.  I wouldn’t do the glass of water for bedtime, but I would joke with them that it would be a fun way to be woken up, wake up Daddy, etc.  If you are wondering if I use a word like “vain” with my children, I do.  If I don’t think they understand, I ask them if they understand and then explain (highlights a new word for them).  Or, I will say something like “The prince was vain.  He thought a lot about how he looked and liked to look at himself a lot.”  Then later I might add, “The princess was beautiful, but she was not vain.  She did not think too much about how she looked.”    

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