Briar Rose

Has anyone ever wondered what would happen if Briar Rose (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty, Aurora, etc.) was actually a boy? It was a random thought as I looked at my Grimm's Fairy tales book. Here's my take on it if it was told by Merlin, did you know many claimed he was a Bard?

Gather round and hear tell of long ago in a place where I once dwelled. You thought you knew the tail of Briar Rose? Think again! Let's go back to that fateful day when young Briar was led astray...

"Briar? Briar! Now where has that boy gotten off to?" His mother stood in the doorway of their modest hut, looking around wildly for her youngest child.

"Here I am mother." From the prickers emerged a small boy of eleven, holding a lonely red rose in his hand out to his mother, "Look! I grew this just for you!"

"Oh, thank you for my rose Briar! It's beautiful! Now come along now, it's time for supper." Little known to the boy and his mother, a figure cloaked in shadow was watching the boy intensly. The rose had sparked a painful jelously in the stranger, how you ask? Why, it's simple. The stranger had no gift of such beauty given to her or had the green-thumb necessary to growing beauty from the rich soil. So, naturally, she resolved to steal the child away into the night to be the new gardener at her castle.

When the town was asleep, the Queen snuck into the boy's room and, with surprising strength and speed, carried him away to the lonely castle that overlooked the small village. Only when they were safely locked inside the tallest tower did the boy stir.

As Briar opened his eyes the Queen's daughter came into the room, "Mother, what is this, this... commoner doing here?" Her beautiful face was wrinkled in distain at the dirty boy in front of her.

"Hush Aurora, don't be rude to our newest servant." The queen turned her back on her child as the boy sat up and blinked, his bright green eyes confused as he looked around the dark room.

"Where am I? This isn't my home, where's my mother and the rest of them?"

"Hush now, you are going to work for me for the rest of your life. Isn't it wonderful? Forget about your family, they are worthless! You, my boy, are now in the Queen's service and shall grow me all the flowers of my heart's desire!" Turning to her daughter, a frown settled onto her face as she studied the girl. "As for you, off to bed now before Nanny discovers that you're gone."

It was common knowledge in the village that the Queen's word was law and to go up against her was punishable by death. Bowing his head meakly he replied, "Yes your Majesty."

The years went by in a blur, Briar rose with the sun and retired to his cabin on the grounds well after it set. He watched sadly the life of the villagers and wished everyday to be back among them. The once lively boy became quiet and distant, but always kind, as the princess grew up. Her beauty was famed far and wide for her golden hair the color of the sun and eyes as blue as the sky, but she was a cold and bitter person who treated her slaves with little respect... Least of all Briar.

"Gardener! Gar-den-er!" The Princess stomped her foot in emphasis of each syllable she screeched out as she scanned the garden furiously.

"Yes, Your Highness?"

"What are these dreadful flowers doing in my room? They wreck havoc on my complexion!" In a dramatic gesture, she laid the back of her hand to her forhead while holding the boquet away from her as if it were the plaugue.

"They're roses ma'am, from a suitor."

Aurora's face lit up as she held the flowers up to her face, "Oh! Well why didn't you say so? Jenkins! Bring these up to my room imediately while I go inform mother of this good news."

"Well... Isn't she the delightful?" Briar whirled around and came face to face with a ghost from days past.

"Rose! What are you doing here?" He dropped his rake to give his friend a bear hug.

"I heard from your mother that you were stolen by the Queen to be her new gardener and I had to see if it was true myself."

"How is she?"

"Fine, concidering the circumstances. Everyone else is doing fine as well. And you? How are they treating you?"

He shrugged, looking down on his friend. "I can't complain much really. I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach." He winced as the shrill screech of the princess reached his ears and smiled appologetically. "Will you send them my love and tell them that I'm doing well?"

She nodded, "Of course!" She started to go when he stopped and picked a red rose, similar to the one that had gotten him into theis mess, and handed it to Rose. "Thank you Briar." She smiled at him in gratitude before she hurried down to the village where her work was just getting started.

"Gar-den-er!" He groaned as he turned to see the princess racing at him. "Who was that beautiful woman and what did you give her!" She demanded as she stamped her foot.

"That was Rose, my best friend from when I lived in the village." Beautiful? He frowned, It had never occured to him before. He looked up just in time to see Aurora pull at her hair in a piercing shriek before stomping off to the palace.

That was the last time he saw, or heard for that matter, the princess for several weeks. Instead Rose visited him everyday and everyday she brought a flower back home with her, generally roses.

No one suspected that, enraged by the fact that Briar had never looked at her the way he looked at Rose, she would strike a bargain with Yana, the evil sorceress in order to put Briar under a spell for one hundred years. If Aurora couldn't have him, no one else could either. It didn't matter that he was a commoner that she had no interest in, it matter that he didn't show interest in her. She vowed that he would pay for it, dearly.

The spell came suddenly, in an everyday occurence that had never been so deadly before. Briar had pricked his finger on the stem of a rose that he was picking for, well... Rose. As soon as the thorn drew blood, his green eyes rolled back into his head as he collapsed to the ground.

Rose knelt by him for a few moments before looking up at the sound of footsteps. "Awww, the poor dear! He pricked his finger on a rose for Rose! Why don't you kiss him and make it better?" She cackled aa if she had told a particularly nasty joke.

"Why... Why you overgrown brat! What did you do to him?"

"That's for me to know and you never to find out." She flicked her head as she stode away, her deed done to her satisfaction.

The Queen saw all that happened and came hurrying toward the garden, weeping. "I'm so sorry, if only I had never taken him when he was young! Go, bring him to your home and see if you can nurse him back to health. He is free to make his own choices now... If he ever wakes up, please tell him that he has a place here." She turned her head as the dam of tears broke and she ran back into the castle.

"What good will that do him now?" She muttered as she shook her head at the royal folk, "They're a bunch of lunatics. Now I see why they don't mix with us regular folk." She draped his arm over her should and proceeded to half drag, half carry him to her home where she nursed him back to health. And they lived happily ever after. The end.

Wasn't that a grand ending? No? Then we are of one mind, why would people be content with just that? Wouldn't they want to hear how Aurora went pre-maturely bald at just seventeen? See, you're paying attention now, aren't you? Good. Now I can end the story without a guilty concious while you're all scratching your heads wondering how that makes sense. I'll pat myself on the back now and bid you all farewell... For now...

Suddenly, Merlin heard a screech coming from behind him as he rose from his seat by the fire. "My hair! My beautiful hair! Theif! Scoundrel! I'm going to get you for this Merlin! It's all your fault!"

Merlin sighed, "Wish me luck!"