The story of Sleeping Beauty combines elements of Norse mythology, French literature and German folklore. Disney and more have since sanitized the fairy tale shared by the Grimm brothers in retelling, but the original tales date back to Odin.
Bruunhilde the Valkyrie and the daughter of Odin, angered her father with her disobedience. Upset, the father of the Norse gods cursed her to sleep upon her sofa surrounded by fire until a man brave enough could rescue and marry her. There the young Valkyrie slept, suspended in time until Siegfried dared Odin's domain, crossed the fire and cut the Valkyrie from her armor. The tale was later incorporated into the Cycle of the Ring and into the saga of the Volsunga.
In the 1500s, a French tale was printed about a young princess whose beauty and gaiety offended the spirits until a deity cursed her to sleep. The sweet princess remained in her enchanted slumber for decades until a young prince discovered her. Only this prince did not kiss the princess to wake her, but rather assaulted her and left her with child. She woke with the baby, not the prince.
A century later in Italy, a storyteller shared the tale of Talia, a sweet maiden stricken by the poison of a thorn. She falls into a deep slumber and is raped by a prince. When the prince returns, he discovers that Talia has awoken and given birth to twins. The tale does not end there because the prince's wife orders her cook to kill the children and serve them up in a meal. Infuriated, the prince kills his wife for her actions and is grateful to learn that cook could not slay the children and he marries Talia.
The Tale of Aurora
In the late 1600s, Charles Perrault collected these stories together and added his own touches, including that of mischievous fairies, an ogre and a fair prince. In the 1800s, the Brothers Grimm modified the story once more to tell the tale of Briar Rose who barely survives several attempts on her life before falling prey to the sleeping curse of the dark fairy only to be rescued by her prince.
It is from Perrault and the Brothers Grimm that Disney modified the tale once more, telling the sweet story of the Princess Aurora raised as a peasant Briar Rose until her sixteenth birthday when a curse sends her into a deep sleep that only true love's kiss may wake.