You climb your way up the winding staircase, eager to escape the sinister arguing voices. The stairs seem to twine around and around in an endless spiral, but eventually they come to a stop before a plain wooden door.

After knocking, you hesitantly push the door open, to find...




A bed. Quite possibly the largest, most luxurious bed you have ever seen, with the requisite four posters and gauzy silken canopy trailing from ceiling to floor. When you gently push aside the canopy, you discover that there is a lovely young lady slumbering in the midst of a multitudes of happy, purring, sleepy cats.

A grey, black, and white tabby cat lazily opens an eye, and clearly says:
"At this point in the ceremony, it is customary to kiss the princess."

"... Pardon?" you ask with polite incredulity, but the cat rolls over and goes back to sleep.

Feeling somewhat self-conscious, you decide to take the tabby-cat's advice, and gently kiss the sleeping beauty on her lips.

Slowly, hesitantly, her eyes flutter open.

"Oh my," she whispers. "The spell must be broken... and you must be my handsome prince."

"'Tis a terrible responsibility," you modestly say, "but I confess that it is mine."

"Stop me if you've already heard this one," the young lady begins, "but I am no ordinary sleeping beauty. Long ago, an evil sorceror cast a spell upon me, so that upon my 18th birthday I would prick my finger on a needle and fall into a deep sleep. The only way of breaking the spell was to kiss me upon the lips, as you have just done."

She blushes.

"To ensure that none of my subjects could help break the spell, the evil sorceror turned them into..."

"Cats," you surmise.

The princess looks somewhat embarassed. "Actually, they were cats to begin with. But the evil sorceror turned them into extremely sleepy, lethargic cats who wanted to spend all their time napping on my bed."

She looks deep into your eyes.

"Thank you, my sweet prince. Now that the spell is broken, and now that you are here, I can truly live Happily Ever After."