Fairy Tale Friday

On today’s edition of Fairy Tale Friday I’m going to talk about Beauty and the Beast. Everyone knows this story. You’d have to have lived under a rock or something if you don’t know the tale of Beauty and the Beast. Every time it sort of starts the same way, Beauty is a nice girl that asks for her father for a single rose when he returns from his travels (more often than not he’s a merchant). Sometimes she has sisters sometimes she’s an only child. And then her father gets lost on his way home and finds the Beast’s chateau (this is a French fairy tale) and he’s allowed to go anywhere and touch anything except the Beast’s rose garden. But Beauty’s father takes a rose anyway because it’s the only thing his daughter asked for him to bring her (kinda makes you wonder what part of DON’T TOUCH HIS GARDEN didn’t he understand) and the Beast is upset over it. 

And in some stories Beauty’s father is told that he has to give up the first thing he sees when he returns home. He agrees to it because he knows that the first thing that will greet him is his dog…but when he comes back home Beauty is the one to greet him first. PLOT TWIST! 😀

And you all know what happens next. LOL I also LOVED the Disney version as a child. I loved the library. I was going to marry the Beast for that library.

Anyway here’s the version I got from wikipedia, which will probably explain it a lot better than I ever will. 

A wealthy merchant lived in a mansion with his three daughters. They were all very beautiful, but only the youngest, twenty-year-old Belle, was lovely and pure of heart; her sisters, in contrast, were wicked and selfish. The merchant eventually lost all of his wealth in a tempest at sea. As a consequence of this, he and his daughters were forced to live in a small farmhouse and work for their living. After some years of this, the merchant heard that one of the trade ships he had sent off had arrived back in port, having escaped the destruction of its compatriots. He returned to the city to discover whether it contained anything valuable. Before leaving, he asked his daughters if they would like him to bring any gifts back for them. The oldest two asked for jewels and fine dresses, thinking that his wealth had returned. Belle was satisfied with the promise of a rose, as none grew in their part of the country. The merchant, to his dismay, found that his ship’s cargo had been seized to pay his debts, leaving him without money to buy his daughters their presents.

During his return, he became lost in a forest. Seeking shelter, he entered a dazzling palace. He found tables inside laden with food and drink, which seemed to have been left for him by the palace’s invisible owner. The merchant accepted this gift and spent the night there. The next morning as the merchant was about to leave, he saw a rose garden and recalled that Belle had desired a rose. Upon picking the loveliest rose he could find, the merchant was confronted by a hideous ‘Beast’, which told him that for taking his most precious possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The merchant begged to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agreed to let him give the rose to Belle, but only if the merchant would return.

The merchant was upset, but accepted this condition. The Beast sent him on his way, with jewels and fine clothes for his daughters, and stressed that Belle must never know about his deal. The merchant, upon arriving home, tried to hide the secret from Belle, but she pried it from him and willingly went to the Beast’s castle. The Beast received her graciously and informed her that she was mistress of the castle, and he was her servant. He gave her lavish clothing and food and carried on lengthy conversations with her. Every night, the Beast asked Belle to marry him, only to be refused each time. After each refusal, Belle dreamed of a handsome prince who pleaded with her to answer why she kept refusing him, and she replied that she cannot marry the Beast because she loved him only as a friend. Belle did not make the connection between the handsome prince and the Beast and became convinced that the Beast was holding the prince captive somewhere in the castle. She searched and discovered multiple enchanted rooms, but never the prince from her dreams.

Beauty and the Beast, illustration byWarwick Goble

For several months, Belle lived a life of luxury at the Beast’s palace, having every whim catered to by servants, with no end of riches to amuse her and an endless supply of exquisite finery to wear. Eventually she became homesick and begged the Beast to allow her to go to see her family. He allowed it on the condition that she would return exactly a week later. Belle agreed to this and set off for home with an enchanted mirror and ring. The mirror allowed her to see what was going on back at the Beast’s castle, and the ring allowed her to return to the castle in an instant when turned three times around her finger. Her older sisters were surprised to find her well fed and dressed in finery. They were envious when they heard of her happy life at the castle, and, hearing that she must return to the Beast on a certain day, begged her to stay another day, even putting onion in their eyes to make it appear as though they were weeping. They hoped that the Beast would be angry with Belle for breaking her promise and would eat her alive. Belle’s heart was moved by her sisters’ false show of love, and she agreed to stay.

Belle began to feel guilty about breaking her promise to the Beast and used the mirror to see him back at the castle. She was horrified to discover that the Beast was lying half-dead from heartbreak near the rose bushes her father had stolen from and she immediately used the ring to return to the Beast.

Upon returning, Belle found the Beast almost dead, and she wept over him, saying that she loved him. When her tears struck him, the Beast was transformed into the handsome prince from Belle’s dreams. The Prince informed her that long ago a fairy turned him into a hideous beast after he refused to let her in from the rain, and that only by finding true love, despite his ugliness, could the curse be broken. He and Belle were married and they lived happily ever after together.

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