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“Each of us the child may bless, with a single gift no more, no less.”
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather (known collectively as the Three Good Fairies) are major characters of Disney's 1959 animated feature film, Sleeping Beauty. They are a trio of elderly fairies, whom supply magic for King Stefan’s court. When trouble arises, the fairies band together to protect Stefan and Queen Leah’s daughter, Princess Aurora, from the wrath of their villainous counterpart, Maleficent.
The Three Good Fairies dress in medieval-styled dresses with a particular, predominating color. Their dresses are also complemented with matching capes and pointy hats secured to their heads with colored veils. Whenever they shrink in size and fly in the air, they would appear to the intent observer as tiny balls of light.
Fauna's color is green - her dress is a dark green with accents in a lighter shade of green, and she is second-in-command. Despite her tendency towards absentmindedness and obliviousness, she is the quietest and most introspective of the three, and often acted as a peacemaker between Flora and Merryweather.
Fauna was voiced by Barbara Jo Allen in Sleeping Beauty, and by Russi Taylor from 2002 until her death in 2019.
Merryweather's color is blue (her favorite color), and is distinguished from the others by her diminutive stature. Though she tends to be feisty, pessimistic, and often challenges Flora's leadership, she is also pragmatic and resourceful.
Merryweather was voiced by Barbara Luddy in Sleeping Beauty and has been voiced by Tress MacNeille since 2005.
The three fairies dress very much alike in long medieval-style dresses and pointy hats reminiscent of the traditional witches' hat. Flora's signature color is red, but her favorite color is pink. Fauna's and Merryweather's favorite and signature colors are green and blue respectively. They each have a different shape cloak buckle ― Flora's a square, Fauna's a triangle, and Merryweather's a circle.
Both Flora's and Fauna's eyes are brown, while Merryweather's eyes are blue. Also, Flora's hair is gray, Fauna's a brownish-gray, and they both wore it swept back and up into a pompadour and bun. Merryweather's hair is black (which implies that she is younger than both Flora and Fauna), but her veil, which covers the entire back of the head, makes it difficult to determine how her hair is styled.
The three fairies vary in height with Flora the tallest, Fauna slightly shorter, and Merryweather about a full head shorter than the both of them. Fauna is also the slimmest of the fairies, with both Flora and Merryweather slightly larger.
Powers and abilities
As members of the Fair Folk, the three fairies function as forces of good and use their magic in its service. They possess numerous magical abilities that seem to be channeled solely through their wands, and hence they were practically powerless without them. Besides this, they claimed that they could only do good things with their magic, and their magic was also stated to be inferior to Maleficent's in raw power.
Despite these limitations, their magic was revealed to be still an exceedingly powerful force, especially during times of utter crisis (such as their need to rescue Phillip and escort him to Aurora) where they had no qualms in using it to its fullest extent. They could also use their powers not only for their convenience and personal desires (such as their preparations of gifts for Aurora's 16th birthday party), but also in morally ambiguous ways - Flora gifted a sword and shield to Phillip, while Merryweather turned Diablo to stone.
Examples of powers the three fairies derived from their magic are:
Flight: Through their wings, the fairies are able to defy gravity and fly, and they were shown to maneuver adroitly through the air.
Blessing: The fairies possessed the ability to produce benevolent effects through enchantment. In fact, their first notable acts of magic were the blessings they gave to the baby Princess Aurora - Flora gave the child the Gift of Beauty, Fauna gave the child the Gift of Song, and Merryweather altered Maleficent's curse by replacing the tragic death intended for Aurora with a deep sleep that could be woken by True Love's Kiss. Later on, during the final battle between Phillip and Maleficent, they blessed the former's Sword of Truth so that it could kill the latter with one well-aimed blow. Hence, it could be said that this ability of blessing was one of the strongest magical powers that the fairies were able to access, for it enabled them to negate potent curses and even help to destroy the most powerful of evil supernatural forces (such as Maleficent).
Enchanting/Animation: As demonstrated during their preparations for Aurora's 16th birthday, the fairies had the ability to bring inanimate objects to life to do their bidding.
Telekinesis: As demonstrated also during their preparations for Aurora's 16th birthday, and later while guiding Phillip through the forest of thorns, the fairies had the ability to move objects with their mind.
Color-Manipulation: As demonstrated again during their preparations for Aurora's 16th birthday, the fairies had the ability to manipulate colors - Flora and Merryweather changed Aurora's birthday gown from pink to blue and back again.
Conjuration: The fairies were shown to possess the ability to materialize imaginary objects at will. They conjured a crown out of thin air for Aurora to wear as a Princess, holy weapons (the Shield of Virtue and Sword of Truth) for Phillip to use in his battle against Maleficent, and a rainbow to act as a bridge for Phillip to escape from Maleficent's castle. Given how Phillip used the shield and ultimately the sword to vanquish Maleficent, it could be said that this ability of conjuration was also one of the strongest magical powers that the fairies were able to access, for it enabled them to provide one with formidable weapons of righteousness that could triumph over the most powerful of evil supernatural forces.
Disappearing/Vanishing: The fairies possessed the ability to make objects disappear or vanish into thin air. When they disguised themselves as humans by dressing as peasants, they concealed their wings through this ability. Later on, Flora made a wall disappear so she, Fauna, and Merryweather could search for Aurora.
Photokinesis: The fairies possessed the ability to create and manipulate light, as demonstrated by their lighting the tips of their wands.
Sleep Induction: The fairies possessed the ability to put beings to sleep at will. After Aurora pricked her finger and fell into the enchanted sleep, they cast a spell to put the entire kingdom into a similar sleep that will only end when she awoke.
Pyrokinesis (Advanced): The fairies possessed the ability to create and manipulate fire at will, but at a highly advanced level - they used their wands as cutting torches to free Phillip of his shackles and open the locked door of his cell through this ability. Their torches manifested as beams of highly concentrated torch-like fires of pink (Flora), green (Fauna), and blue (Merryweather) respectively.
Transformation: The fairies possessed the ability to manipulate reality to transform any object or being into something else. While brainstorming ideas to keep the Princess safe, Flora initially considered transforming Aurora into a flower (since flowers have no fingers, Aurora could not prick hers on a spinning wheel or anything else), but Merryweather derailed that course of action by pointing out that it would work fine until Maleficent sends a frost. Later on, while helping Phillip to escape from Maleficent's castle, they utilized this ability to spectacular effect - transforming boulders into bubbles, arrows into flowers, and burning oil into a rainbow.
Petrification: The fairies were revealed to possess the ability to turn other beings into stone, as Merryweather did so to Diablo in an effort to prevent the raven from alerting Maleficent.
Size-Manipulation: The fairies possess the ability to change their sizes while preserving body proportion. This is their most commonly-used ability throughout the film - they first use it to conduct a secret meeting of brainstorming ideas, later to cast a secret sleeping spell over the entire kingdom, to navigate undetected around Maleficent's castle in their search for Phillip, and finally to guide Phillip to Aurora.
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather first appear as the invited guests of King Stefan at Aurora's christening, announced by the royal herald. Each fairy intends to give a gift to Princess Aurora. Flora grants her the gift of beauty, while Fauna grants her the gift of song. But before Merryweather can give her gift, Maleficent appears. Insulted by her lack of invitation from the kingdom, Maleficent curses the baby, Aurora, to die by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel's spindle before the sun sets on the princess's 16th birthday. After Maleficent leaves, the fairies realize that Merryweather still hasn't given her gift. The little fairy got inspired by Maleficent's invasion to give a special gift. Although Merryweather is unable to undo the curse, as Maleficent's magic is far too powerful, she can soften it so Aurora would not die but just enter an enchanted sleep and be awakened when True Love's Kiss breaks the curse.
King Stefan, still fearful, orders that every spinning wheel in the kingdom be burned. Knowing that Maleficent will not be deterred by anything to see her curse fulfilled, least of all a "bonfire" as Merryweather puts it, they decide to raise Aurora themselves in secret. An agreement with Aurora's parents is finally reached: the fairies will raise Aurora for 16 years until the curse is no longer a threat, and then return her to the palace. They change the princess's name to Briar Rose and hide her in a cottage in the nearby woods. The fairies then decide to hide as mortals, as their magic will raise attention, and disguise themselves as Briar Rose's aunts.
Sixteen years later, the fairies prepare a party for Briar Rose on her birthday. After failing in their attempts to bake a cake (Fauna has never cooked before) and sew a dress normally (with Flora, by using Merryweather as the mannequin), they decide to use magic after closing off (almost) every crack except the chimney. While Flora uses her magic to sew the dress and Fauna uses her magic to bake the cake (and later decorate it), Merryweather uses her magic to clean up the room until she is distracted by seeing the dress is pink.
After she starts an argument over the color of the dress by turning it blue, they try changing the dress and each other's clothes to the opposite colors, and the magic blasts fly up the chimney and attract the attention of Maleficent's raven, Diablo, who immediately flies back to Maleficent with the news of Aurora's discovery. The argument ends when both rays hit the dress at the same time, making it a mixture of pink and blue and Flora was outraged at Merryweather for messing the dress up. As Briar Rose is returning from berry picking, Flora quickly turns it to pure pink and hides. Then Merryweather turns it to blue before hiding herself. After Flora points out that the mop is still running, Merryweather uses her magic to make it stop. Briar Rose, who has returned home from berry picking, is surprised. When she tells her "aunts" about the man she met in the woods, they forbid her from seeing him again. The fairies also reveal her true identity as Princess Aurora, as well as the fact that she's already betrothed in an arranged marriage with Prince Phillip and that they intend to return her with her father that same night.
The fairies take Aurora back to the castle and take her to a room. They use their magic to create a tiara for Aurora, to help her realize her true royal identity. However, they soon decide to leave her alone for a time as Aurora is still heartbroken of never again seeing the young man she has fallen in love with.
The fairies begin to talk about the boy, with Merryweather expressing her opinion that it's unfair for Aurora to be forced into an arranged marriage. When Fauna suggests they reveal the news to King Stefan, they hear a faint sound from the room and realize that it's Maleficent enchanting Aurora. Realizing that Aurora is in trouble, they frantically try to stop the princess, who keeps following Maleficent (as a will-o-the-wisp) up the tower. They warn her not to touch anything, but Maleficent orders Aurora to touch the spindle to invoke the curse. Unfortunately for them, the fairies arrive too late as they run into Maleficent, who briefly mocks three of her arch enemies for their efforts of defeating her. She then reveals the now sleeping Aurora, who has pricked her finger on the spindle, much to the fairies’ horror, and she disappears, while cackling maniacally.
The fairies feel extremely heartbroken as they discovered Aurora had fallen into a deep sleep after pricking her finger on the spindle. After putting Aurora in bed, Merryweather and Fauna wonder how they will explain everything to the king and queen, Flora insists that they put everyone in the castle to sleep until Aurora awakens. However, while putting everyone in the kingdom to sleep, including King Stefan, Queen Leah, and King Hubert, Flora learned from Hubert that the man Aurora met in the woods was actually her betrothed fiancé, Prince Phillip. Phillip has previously intended to go to the cottage to meet Aurora, so the fairies race back to the cottage. Upon arrival, they arrive too late and are horrified to discover that Phillip's hat is left behind on the floor in the midst of the wreckage. Deducing that the prince has been captured by Maleficent and her Goons, the fairies decided to go to Maleficent's domain, the Forbidden Mountain, to rescue him.
The fairies sneak into the Forbidden Mountain and witness a group of Maleficent’s Goons celebrating the prince's capture by partying around the bonfire. The fairies follow Maleficent, who has been watching the celebration, to the dungeon, where Phillip is chained to the walls. They wait until Maleficent leaves the dungeon to go sleep in her tower. Then, they free Phillip and melt the dungeon lock. They arm him with the magical Sword of Truth and enchanted Shield of Virtue, both weapons of righteousness that will triumph over evil. As Phillip and the fairies exit the dungeon, they are confronted by Diablo, who calls the Goons.
The Goons do everything in their power to stop the heroes, from dropping giant rocks, to shooting arrows and pouring hot oil, but Flora uses her magic to turn them into bubbles, flowers, and a rainbow, respectively. Seeing the Goons fail to stop Philip and the fairies, Diablo goes to warn his mistress. Fed up with Diablo and his attempt to stop them, Merryweather pursues him and just as he reaches Maleficent's tower, she turns him to stone as he lands on one of the parapets, letting off a smug, angry scowl at having taught the raven a lesson before returning to Philip, Flora, and Fauna. However, all the commotion has aroused Maleficent, who is enraged to discover the escape. After escaping the Forbidden Mountain, the fairies aid Phillip by protecting him from various obstacles as they make their way to Stefan's castle that is conjured by Maleficent as she tries to stop her enemies. Eventually, Phillip is forced into fighting Maleficent, who transformed herself into a dragon. The fairies assist Phillip in retreating, but he is cornered at the cliff and loses his shield. Under Flora's direction, the fairies greatly empower his sword, allowing Phillip to throw it straight into the Maleficent's heart, finally killing her.
With Maleficent gone for good, Phillip and the fairies enter Stefan's castle and go up the tower where Aurora sleeps. The fairies watch as Phillip gives Aurora Love's First Kiss that breaks the curse and awakens her. One by one, everyone else in the kingdom awaken from their slumber as well, including Stefan, Leah, and Hubert. Lastly, the three fairies go to the throne room, where they watch happily as Phillip and Aurora descend the stairs, reunite with their respective parents, and share a dance. But then, Flora finally notices that Aurora's dress is blue and uses her magic to turn it pink. This upsets Merryweather, who turns the dress blue, leading to another argument. The argument continues, with the dress continuously alternating colors (pink and blue) as the storybook closes.
The three fairies reappear in the first Sleeping Beauty story since the original. Since the death of Maleficent, the fairies have become almost desperate to help Aurora out with anything. While King Stefan, King Hubert, Prince Phillip, and Queen Leah are away to a royal conference, Aurora is left in charge of the kingdom, aided by the majordomo, Lord Duke. Hubert accidentally forgets his speech at Stefan's castle, so the fairies finally help Aurora by going to return it.
While Flora and Fauna leave, Merryweather stays for a few moments to give Aurora her wand in case things become too difficult. After giving Hubert his speech, Flora and Fauna learn the secret Merryweather has been hiding about the wand. While they were gone, the wand's power began to get out of hand but eventually due to Aurora's calm attitude; things were settled down. The fairies returned along with Stefan, Hubert, Leah, Phillip, and Duke (who witnessed the magic incident of giant chickens, green pigs and cows). Merryweather regains her wand and the fairies gather for a banquet put together by Aurora without the use of magic, including Prince Phillip, King Stefan, King Hubert, Queen Leah, and Lord Duke.
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather appear in the Disney Junior series as the supporting sidekick characters to the titular character Sofia. They are the magical tutors of the young princess and teaches her the ways of the royal highness she will one day become. It is shown in several episodes that Flora and Merryweather have yet to settle the blue-pink debate.
Their largest role in the series to date is in the episode "Make Way for Miss Nettle" where the fairies' former apprentice, Miss Nettle visits the academy to (supposedly) teach an after school gardening class to Sofia and friends. However, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather soon discover Nettle's actually after their spellbook, in an attempt to become more powerful than the three fairies combine, betraying them. Fortunately, due to the efforts of Sofia and friends, the fairies are rescued and peace is restored.
The Three Fairies make several cameos in the television series House of Mouse. In the episode "Humphrey in the House", they performed on stage unsuccessfully attempting to bake a cake without magic like in the original film. It is in that episode that they are "revealed" to be sisters. In "Jiminy Cricket", they gave Aurora a sewing machine so she wouldn't have to use a spinning wheel.
In The Lion King 1½, the Three Fairies make a brief silhouette cameo at the end of the movie.
The Three Fairies appear in the 2014 live-action film under different names and are referred to as The Flower Pixies. Knotgrass (Flora) was played by Imelda Staunton, Thistlewit (Fauna) by Juno Temple, and Flittle (Merryweather) by Lesley Manville. Though not outright vilifying them like King Stefan, this film portrays the characters in a rather unpleasant light compared to the clearly good original versions.
They grant the infant Aurora with magical gifts but when Maleficent places a curse on the young princess, they take her into hiding and raise her as their niece. They claim they are very good with children but it turns out they are incapable of looking after a child so while they struggle living like humans, Maleficent secretly cares for the princess from a distance and through Diaval while at the same time, pranks the trio just to kill her boredom.
The Three Fairies cheer with excitement as Prince Phillip proposes to Aurora. Later, they and all the residents of the Moors are invited to the wedding. They get trapped in the chapel and are attacked with red metal dust released by Gerda that strips the creatures of their magic and sentience. Flittle sacrifices herself by going inside the organ and stopping the flow of dust, and Knotgrass and Thistlewit avenge her by making Gerda fall to her presumed death when she tries to get the organ working again.
At the wedding, Knotgrass and Thistlewit argue over the color of Aurora's wedding dress and keep changing it between pink and green. When the dress turns blue, they turn to a regenerating Flittle telling her how they like the color.
Once Upon A Dream (A Twisted Tale)
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather appear in Liz Braswell's second novel in the Twisted Tales series, where Prince Phillip never manages to wake Aurora up and Maleficent takes them both to a dream world in which she rules. Whilst Maleficent poses as the Queen of King Stefan's castle, which is supposedly the last stronghold in the world, and secretly begins collecting the blood of the inhabitants there to sustain herself, the Good Fairies are left in the real world to care for the sleeping people who live there, but find their magic ineffective against Maleficent's killings. Flashbacks also show the fairies living with Aurora in the cottage in the woods. The fairies send a part of their souls into the dream world to help guide Aurora in her final battle with Maleficent, creating three avatars that highlight their most prominent attributes (Flora's bravery, Fauna's kindness and Merryweather's wit). Flora also manages to guide King Hubert to the castle. The fairies' avatars perish in battle with Maleficent but their real counterparts reunite with Aurora.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, the three fairies appear during Ventus's visit after Maleficent took Aurora's heart using Terra's darkness. Together, they descend into Maleficent's castle to retrieve her heart. After her heart is released, Ventus meets Maleficent in a battle and before Aqua arrives. With Ventus gone, the three fairies find Aqua in a cell, where they meet Prince Phillip, the only true love who can break the curse laid upon Princess Aurora. The three fairies help Aqua and Prince Phillip to the castle and defeat Maleficent in dragon form. At the end of the story, Prince Phillip kisses Aurora and breaks the spell.
During the ending credits, the three fairies observe the couple as they dance. But when Flora sees the blue color on Aurora's dress, she changes it to pink and Merryweather changes it back to blue. This continues until the video fades out on the couple.
They are mentioned again in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- as the ones who created the cloaks for Riku and Mickey to use while traveling through the Realm of Darkness to protect them from the darkness in their mission to rescue Aqua and in Kingdom Hearts III they are mentioned as the ones who made Sora's new outfit, where it took extra time to make as like with the last outfit it also has special powers.
The trio is featured in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at the Magic Kingdom. Maleficent returns from the dead via Hades and steals a crystal shard in order to rule Fantasy Land. Upon finding out about Maleficent's revival, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather head over to the Forbidden Mountain to find out what Maleficent plans to do. Unfortunately, one of Maleficent's Goons captured Flora and Fauna, but Merryweather managed to escape. Merryweather and the guests travel into Maleficent's castle to free them. Beating one of Maleficent's Goons and breaking through a door with the Sorcerer's Crest, Flora and Fauna are freed and with help from the park guest, they defeat Maleficent. Merryweather also has her own spell card called "Merryweather's Stone Spell".
Because the fairies have more screen time than Phillip and Aurora and because the fairies do most of the work (including the battles), some fans considered them to be the real protagonists of the film.
In the original fairy tale, two of the twelve good fairies like Flora and Fauna give the gifts of beauty and abilities of song and music.
In the original French story, it is only the last seventh good fairy who puts the castle to sleep, but in the film, all three fairies cast the sleep spell over the castle.
The ballet has six, instead of seven good fairies, with the wicked one being the seventh.
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather's color schemes of red, green and blue are the primary colors of light (even though Flora's favorite color is pink). This is fitting in that they are the most powerful of the good fairies.
In the scene where the fairies are crying in the tower, Fauna's eyes are incorrectly depicted as blue.
In Kingdom Hearts II, when the three fairies remember Maleficent and went to inform Yen Sid, there were two different versions. In the Japanese version, the fairies simply disappeared; in the English version, they turned into a ball of light much like in the original Disney film.
In early drafts of the story, the three good fairies would have had connections to the various aspects of nature. As their names suggested, Flora would have been in charge of the plants and vegetation, Fauna would have held dominion over the animal kingdom and Merryweather would have controlled the weather. This initial concept was dropped being seen as too complicated, yet the names stuck.
Earlier concepts also had the names of the fairies as Fernadell, Merryweather, and Tranquility, each connected to certain aspects. Fernadell represented the forest, Merryweather the elements and weather, and Tranquility dreams.
Although, in the end, Merryweather was the only name retained from the original concept.
In the Latin American dub, Merryweather's name is changed to "Primavera" which is the spanish name for "Spring".