The Spinning Wheel

The Spinning Wheel

Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel...and die!
~ Maleficent uttering her curse upon Princess Aurora (involving the Spinning Wheel) in Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
Touch the spindle! Touch it, I say!
~ Maleficent, commanding Princess Aurora to touch the spindle of the Spinning Wheel.
Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel, and she will fall into a sleep-like death! A sleep from which she will never awaken!
~ Maleficent uttering her curse upon Princess Aurora (involving the Spinning Wheel) in Maleficent.

The Spinning Wheel is an enchanted object which, when touched the spindle, will send its victim (in this case Princess Aurora) into eternal sleep, originally death which was cast by the wicked fairy godmother (in this case Maleficent). The victim of the eternal sleep can only be revived by the kiss of true love. The Spinning Wheel plays a important role in the classical fairy tale Sleeping Beauty (also known as La Belle au bois dormant ("The Beauty sleeping in the Wood" in French) by Charles Perrault and Little Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm).

Sleeping Beauty

The Spinning Wheel plays a major role in the classic 1959 animated Disney film Sleeping Beauty, because it is used by Maleficent to cause her curse on Princess Aurora to be completed. Since Maleficent was never invited to the baby's christening, she casted an evil spell upon Aurora that, before the sun sets on her 16th birthday, she would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. This briefly caused lots of grief and sorrow on the kingdom, but Merryweather softened the curse into a deep sleep. Still fearing for his daughter's life, King Stefan orders that all spinning wheels be burned within the center of the castle's grounds from all over the kingdom. Sixteen years later, Maleficent, in the form of a will o' wisp-like apparition via the magic of her staff, hypnotizes Aurora and she transforms herself into the Spinning Wheel. Aurora touches the spindle and falls into deep sleep. Maleficent then captures Prince Phillip with the aid of her pet and her goblin goons so he can never break the curse, but the Three Good Fairies manage to rescue him from her castle lair at the Forbidden Mountain. Moments later he battles Maleficent and kisses Aurora which revives her and freed the entire kingdom including her beloved parents and Prince Philip's father King Hubert from their enchanted slumber that is no more upon Aurora's awakening.


The Spinning Wheel, while staying true to its purpose, made an appearance in the 2014 Disney fantasy live-action movie Maleficent which paints the titular main villainess' point of view and tells her origins of her as once a benevolent fairy before the loss of her wings and her descent into madness.

In the film, the spinning wheel was among the royal presents and other gifts to Princess Aurora during her christening. Maleficent saw it and took that concept as part of her frightening "gift" upon the young infant for revenge against King Stefan, her once best friend who stole her very own feathered wings and earned her bitter hatred. Stefan ordered his royal guards to recover every spinning wheel in the castle and burn them all within the deepest dungeons below. He then placed his only child in the care of the Three Good Pixies until the day and hour of her 16th birthday has passed. From the safety of his castle walls, King Stefan commanded all of his soldiers to hunt down Maleficent, who made giant walls of her own made of thorns surrounding the magical forest kingdom of the Moors so that the land will never again suffer the touch of a human.

On her 16th birthday, distraught and shocked by the truth about her Fairy Godmother who is the same familiar evil fairy who cursed her when she was a baby, Princess Aurora ran to her old castle and to her father King Stefan. The curse than became activated when Aurora hears the whispering disembodied voice of Maleficent whose magic failed to revoke her own curse the night before her doomed 16th birthday. As Maleficent along with her pet Diaval and an unconscious Prince Philip race to King Stefan's castle to save Aurora, the young princess followed the voice from her royal bedroom all the way to her castle's forgotten, deepest dungeons that are full of burnt and broken spinning wheels. There, a familiar spinning wheel from her past was fully restored via Maleficent's sorcery and now its spindle was glowing and brimming with dark magic. Princess Aurora touched the spindle. Her pricked finger drips blood and she falls into a deep sleep. Although Maleficent was too late, she went into the castle and safely passed through King Stefan's trap within the hallway, walled thorn-like spikes made of iron which burns fairies like Maleficent. Once made it to Princess Aurora's bedroom, Maleficent telekinetically drops the awakened Prince Philip of Olsted on the floor and watches from the shadows with Diaval. She witnessed Prince Philip kissing Princess Aurora, but yet, the boy failed to free the girl from the fearful enchantment. The Three Good Pixies were saddened by this and had no choice but to escort the prince out immediately. Maleficent, broken and guilty, swore to her human goddaughter that no harm will come to her as long as she lives. She then kissed her on the cheek. Princess Aurora then woke up smiling and said "Hello Godmother." due to her curse being lifted. And a happy Maleficent replied "Hello Beasty". This was a proof that true love does exist and is stronger then any spell.


  • In a variation of the original fairy tale, instead of turning herself into a spinning wheel, the Wicked Fairy Godmother disguises herself as a kindly old lady who offers to teach the princess how to spin thread, which is the way she trick her into cutting herself on the spinning wheel. The concept of fooling the heroine through disguise, however, was seen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • Numerous variations of the tale exist (the Brothers Grimm had one in their collection entitled Little Briar Rose), and in only some of them is the spindle actually attached to/associated with a spinning wheel. Walt Disney included the wheel in their animated film version of the Perrault tale, whereas only a spindle is used in Tchaikovsky's famous ballet which is also titled The Sleeping Beauty.
  • In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, the spinning wheel is not mentioned in the game. An Unversed monster, the Wheel Master, is possibly modeled from the wheel. But whether the wheel became an unversed or not is questionable.
  • In the movie, when Maleficent shows Flora, Fauna and Merryweather Aurora lying on the ground, after she pricked her finger, it looks like that her neck was broken.
  • The spinning wheel is never mentioned or seen ever again, since it was Maleficent, who was the spinning wheel all along.

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