OF THE BABY NAME TALIA
Talia is centrally featured in a 1634 Italian fairy tale written by Giambattista Basile. What makes this work notable is that it was the inspiration behind Charles Perrault’s 1697 “Sleeping Beauty” (a story which we all know and love). In the first Italian version of the fairytale (translated to “Sun, Moon, and Talia”), Talia is the daughter of a great lord. At Talia’s birth, wise men and clairvoyants are summoned by her father and they announce what’s in store for her future. They say she will be harmed by a splinter of flax, and so the great lord instructs that no flax ever be allowed into the household. When she is older, Talia approaches an old woman spinning flax on her spindle and asks to help. Of course a small splinter of flax gets embedded under her fingernail and she drops unconscious (presumably dead). Her distraught father, unable to bury his lovely daughter, places her in one of his country estates. Later, a king hunting in the woods discovers Talia and, unable to wake her, violates her (yah, we should have warned you, this version is a little more risqué than the Disney version). After he’s done with her, the king leaves. Still in a deep sleep, Talia gives birth to twins (boy-girl). When the baby boy can’t find his mother’s breast for food, he starts to suck on her finger and inadvertently sucks out the splinter. This causes her to immediately wake-up from her perpetual slumber. She names her children Sun and Moon and continues to live in her father’s country estate. In the meantime, the king (now married to another) returns to the wooded estate and discovers Talia awake with his children. Back at home with his wife the Queen, he calls out Talia, Sun and Moon’s names in his sleep which of course piques her interest. Once she extracts the truth from the king’s secretary, she orders the children killed and cooked for dinner. The cook hides the children and cooks two lambs instead. The Queen also orders Talia brought to court and be burned alive. As Talia screams, the king hears her and comes to the rescue. He orders the Queen, Secretary and Cook burned instead (until the Cook presents the unharmed children and is rewarded justly). The king and Talia marry in a fairytale happily-ever-after ending. As with all fairytales, this one’s moral is explained by the very last line: "Lucky people, so 'tis said, He who has luck may go to bed, And bliss will rain upon his head."