Beauty and the Beast
Once upon a time, there was a rich merchant with three daughters. The two older daughters were very conceited and not at all beautiful, while the youngest daughter was called Belle because of her stunning beauty. She was a girl with a pure heart, whose kind nature could melt even the coldest of hearts.
The merchant’s business began to deteriorate little by little, until one day he and his daughters had to leave behind their life of luxury and move to a small cottage. The worst thing about having been accustomed to a finer life is that, if you become poor, you don’t want to adjust to a simpler life. This was the case of the two older daughters of the merchant, who didn’t just continue to buy expensive dresses but also refused to help their padre with housework. Unlike her sisters, Belle was a simpler girl and helped her father as much as she could.
One day, a letter arrived for Belle’s father, offering him work in a faraway city, which made him very happy. So he decided to offer Belle, the only one who had helped him, a beautiful gift. “Belle, what would you like as a gift when I return?”
When Belle was about to answer, her sisters interrupted her very rudely to ask for gifts for themselves. “Father, we want two beautiful dresses”. Belle then answered, “For me, Father, I would like you to bring me the most beautiful rose you see on your trip.”
Once his work was finished and he was returning home, the merchant got lost in the forest, and decided to climb the tallest tree he could see to try to find the path home. He didn’t find the path, but instead saw a grand castle, and decided to go there to ask the owners for help. When he arrived to the castle, the doors were open, and he went right in. He ate dinner and slept in the softest bed in the castle but, strangely, never saw a single person.
The next morning, after waking, he found breakfast was ready and waiting to be eaten. He later decided to take a stroll through the lovely castle garden. It was there that he saw a beautiful rose and remembered the gift for his youngest daughter, and reached down to cut the rose. It was then that a monstrous beast appeared, yelling at him, “Accursed! I have given you food and a place to rest, and you repay me by stealing my roses!” The beast sentenced the merchant to death, but after some reflection, decided to make a deal.
“I forgive you, but only in exchange for sending me the first person who comes to greet you when you return home”. The merchant agreed, thinking that when he arrived home he would send nobody, as the beast didn’t really know where he lived and he could easily save himself.
When he arrived home, the merchant told everything that had happened to Belle, who was the first to come out to greet him. The merchant told her that she shouldn’t go through with it, as the beast didn’t know where they lived, but the girl was so pure of heart that she decided to go to the castle to keep her father’s promise.
She met the beast and at first rejected him, but decided to honor her father’s promise and stay to live by his side. As the days passed, she grew fond of him, since he treated her like a queen, like no one else had ever treated her. But when he spoke of love, she withdrew from him.
Some time later, Belle learned that her father was ill, and she asked the beast if she could go to see him. The beast agreed, giving her a ring with magic powers that would help to make him well again. Her father improved just from having his youngest daughter by his side, and Belle did not return to the castle until several days later, when she realized she really missed the beast.
When she returned to the castle, she found that the beast was dying of sorrow. Belle kissed him and said, “I love you!” and suddenly the beast began to turn into a handsome man. They married and had several children.
Info: This book, written by Madame Le Prince de Beaumont is really lovely as it has an important message: the most pure beauty is that which cannot be seen. This beauty is none other than the beauty of the good hearted.