In a kingdom far away a king and queen had been trying for years to have a baby but with no success. Still they persevered. They did not give up and the day finally arrived when the queen gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter. The royal couple were delighted. They wanted to share their pleasure with the entire kingdom. To this end they sent out their couriers far and wide to invite every person who ever lived in their lands to a celebration of the birth of their baby.
Everyone was to be invited, from the lowly to the high. Everyone. The party was held in the great hall and those who came all brought some offering, however small, for the baby. When it came time for the fairies to offer their gifts each took it in turn. The First Fairy waved her wand and wished the baby the gift of beauty; the second wished her intelligence; the third creativity and so it went on. Each fairy wished the baby some attribute to live a good and fulfilled life. But when the Twelfth Fairy stood to offer her gift there was a whoosh of wind. The sky grew dark overhead and the Thirteenth Fairy appeared out of nowhere. She was in a rage.
‘I wish this baby dead.’ She waved her wand and disappeared.
The people were aghast, mouths open, hearts beating. The queen rushed to the cradle and looked down onto her sleeping baby fearful that the Thirteenth’s Fairy’s power had already taken effect. But the baby slept on. Her cheeks moved in rhythm with each breath.
‘I cannot undo the power of the Thirteenth Fairy,’ the Twelfth Fairy said. ‘My power is not so great, but I can soften it.’
And so the story continues, the familiar story, the one you already know. ‘The child will live a good life until she is sixteen years old and then she will prick her finger on a spindle and sleep for one hundred years, only to be awakened by a kiss.’
What a cow that Thirteenth Fairy. She was angry you know because she had not been invited to the party. She had felt left out and excluded. But she was not invited because no one could find her. The couriers knew of her existence. They knew she lived in some dank cave somewhere on the other side of the mountain but they could not be sure in which dark cave she lived, because she moved caves regularly in order to avoid detection.
They would have invited her. The king and queen told their couriers as much. They were so full of the spirit of good will with the birth of their baby they had invited the local drunk, the street urchins, the paupers, the prostitutes, even the ones with leprosy, but the Thirteenth Fairy hid away, bitter and resentful.
Typical, she thought. They didn’t include me. I’ll show them.