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October 2016

Spinning a Yarn—Sleeping Beauty and Anthrax

Author Affiliations
  • 1Skin Spectrum Medical Services, Como, Western Australia, Australia
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(10):1174. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.6302

The famous tale of Sleeping Beauty is believed to have originated from centuries-old European folklore. The earliest known written version appeared in the French work Le Roman de Perceforest (circa 1330-1344), followed by the Italian rendition Sun, Moon, and Talia by Basile (1634), Perrault’s The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood (1697), and the Grimm brothers’ Little Briar Rose (1812). A common theme of the various versions is that an infant girl is cursed to prick her finger on a wooden spindle (or flax) years later, causing her to become stuporose or to die. This raises the question: could this peculiar scenario be based on an actual medical condition?

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