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Sun, Moon, and Talia (Italian: Sole, Luna, e Talia) is an Italian literary fairy tale written by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 work, the Pentamerone. Charles Perrault retold this fairy tale in 1697 as The Sleeping Beauty and also the Brothers Grimm in 1812 as Little Briar Rose.

It is Aarne-Thompson type 410; other tales of this type include The Glass Coffin and The Young Slave.[1]


After the birth of a great lord's daughter Talia, wise men and astrologers cast the child's horoscope and predicted that Talia would be endangered by a splinter of flax. To protect his daughter, the father commands that no flax would ever be brought into his house. Years later, Talia sees an old woman spinning flax on a spindle. She asks the woman if she can stretch the flax herself, but as soon as she begins to spin, a splinter of flax goes under her fingernail, and she drops to the ground, apparently dead. Unable to stand the thought of burying his child, Talia's father puts his daughter in one of his country estates.

Some time later, a king who is out hunting in the nearby woods, follows his falcon[2] into the house. He finds Talia; overcome by her beauty, he tries unsuccessfully to wake her, and then "Crying aloud, he beheld her charms and felt his blood course hotly through his veins. He lifted her in his arms, and carried her to a bed, where he gathered the first fruits of love." [3] Afterwards, he leaves the girl on the bed and returns to his own city. Still deep in sleep, Talia gives birth to twins (a boy and a girl). One day, the girl cannot find her mother's breast; instead she begins to suck on Talia's finger and draws the flax splinter out. Talia awakens immediately. She names her children "Sun" and "Moon" and lives with them in the house.

The king returns and finds Talia is awake – and a mother of twins. However, he is already married. He calls out the names of Talia, Sun and Moon in his sleep, and his wife, the queen, hears him. She forces the king's secretary to tell her everything, and then, using a forged message, has Talia's children brought to court. She orders the cook to kill the children and serve them to the king. But the cook hides them, and cooks two lambs instead. The queen taunts the king while he eats.

Then the queen has Talia brought to court. She commands that a huge fire be lit in the courtyard, and that Talia be thrown into the flames. Talia asks to take off her fine garments first. The queen agrees. Talia undresses and utters screams of grief with each piece of clothing. The king hears Talia's screams. His wife tells him that Talia would be burned and that he had unknowingly eaten his own children. The king commands that his wife, his secretary, and the cook be thrown into the fire instead. The cook explains how he had saved Sun and Moon. Talia and the king marry, and the cook is rewarded with the title of royal chamberlain.

The last line of the fairy tale – its moral – is as follows: "He who has luck may go to bed, And bliss will rain upon his head." [4]


  1. ^ Heidi Anne Heiner, "Tales Similar to Sleeping Beauty"
  2. ^ falcon symbolic meaning
  3. ^ "Sleeping Beauty".
  4. ^ The Pentamerone, translated from the Neapolitan by John Edward Taylor

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