|A Child's Book of Stories|
|by Penrhyn W. Coussens|
|A choice collection of favorite fairy tales, to delight children of all ages. The 86 stories selected for this collection include folk tales from England, Norway, and India, as well as the best fairy tales from Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault. The volume also contains a handful of fables from Aesop and several tales from the Arabian Nights. Ages 5-9 |
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
NCE upon a time, in a very far-off country, there lived a
merchant who had been so fortunate in all his
undertakings that he was enormously rich. As he has,
however, six sons and six daughters, he found that his
money was not too much to let them all have everything
they fancied, as they were accustomed to do.
But one day a most unexpected misfortune befell them.
Their house caught fire and was speedily burned to the
ground, with all the splendid furniture, the books,
pictures, gold, silver, and precious goods it
contained; and this was only the beginning of their
troubles. Their father, who had until this moment
prospered in all ways, suddenly lost every ship he had
upon the sea, either through pirates, shipwreck, or
fire. Then he heard that his clerks in distant
countries, whom he trusted entirely, had proved
unfaithful, and at last from great wealth he fell into
the direst poverty.
All that he had left was a little house in a desolate
place at least a hundred leagues from the town in which
he had lived, and to this he was forced to retreat with
his children, who were in despair at the idea of
leading such a different life. Indeed, the daughters
at first hoped that their friends, who had been so
numerous while they were rich, would insist on their
staying in their houses now they no longer possessed
one. But they soon found that they were left alone,
and that their former friends even attributed their
misfortunes to their own extravagance, and showed no
intention of offering them any help. So
 nothing was left for them but to take their departure
to the cottage, which stood in the midst of a dark
forest, and seemed to be the most dismal place upon the
face of the earth.
As they were too poor to have any servants, the girls
had to work hard, like peasants, and the sons, for
their part, cultivated the fields to earn their living.
Roughly clothed, and living in the simplest way, the
girls regretted unceasingly the luxuries and amusements
of their former life; only the youngest tried to be
brave and cheerful. She had been as sad as any one
when misfortune first overtook her father, but, soon
recovering her natural gayety, she set to work to make
the best of things, to amuse her father and brothers as
well as she could, and to try to persuade her sisters
to join her in dancing and singing. But they would do
nothing of the sort, and because she was not as doleful
as themselves they declared that this miserable life
was all she was fit for. But she was really far
prettier and cleverer than they were; indeed, she was
so lovely that she was always called Beauty. After two
years, when they were all beginning to get used to
their new life, something happened to disturb their
tranquility. Their father received the news that one
of his ships, which he had believed to be lost, had
come safely into port with a rich cargo.
All the sons and daughters at once thought that their
poverty was at an end and wanted to set our directly
for the town, but their father, who was more prudent,
begged them to wait a little, and though it was
harvest-time and he could ill be spared, determined to
go himself first to make inquiries. Only the youngest
daughter had any doubt but that they would soon again
be as rich as they were before, or at least rich enough
to live comfortably in some town where they would find
amusement and gay companions once more. So they all
loaded their father with commissions for jewels and
dresses which it would have taken a fortune to buy;
only Beauty, feeling sure that it was
 of no use, did not ask for anything. Her father,
noticing her silence, said: "And what shall I bring for
"The only thing I wish for is to see you come home
safely," she answered.
But this reply vexed her sisters, who fancied she was
blaming them for having asked for such costly things.
Her father was pleased, but as he thought that at her
age she certainly ought to like pretty presents, he
told her to choose something.
"Well, dear father," she said, "as you insist upon it,
I beg that you will bring me a rose. I have not seen
one since we came here, and I love them so much."
So the merchant set out and reached the town as quickly
as possible, but only to find that his former
companions, believing him to be dead, had divided
between them the goods which the ship had brought; and
after six months of trouble and expense he found
himself as poor as when he started, having been able to
recover only just enough to pay the cost of his
journey. To make matters worse, he was obliged to
leave the town in the most terrible weather, so that by
the time he was within a few leagues of his home he was
almost exhausted with cold and fatigue. Though he knew
it would take some hours to get through the forest, he
was so anxious to be at his journey's end that he
resolved to go on; but night overtook him, and the deep
snow and bitter frost made it impossible for his horse
to carry him any further. Not a house was to be seen.
The only shelter he could get was the hollow trunk of a
great tree, and there he crouched all the night, which
seemed to him the longest he had ever known. In spite
of his weariness the howling of the wolves kept him
awake, and even when at last the day broke he was not
much better off, for the falling snow had covered up
every path and he did not know which way to turn.
At length he made out some sort of track, and though at
the beginning it was so rough and slippery that he fell
 than once, it presently became easier and led him into
an avenue of trees which ended in a splendid castle.
It seemed to the merchant very strange that no snow had
fallen in the avenue, which was entirely composed of
orange-trees, covered with flowers and fruit. When he
reached the first court of the castle he saw before him
a flight of agate steps, and went up them and passed
through several splendidly furnished rooms. The
pleasant warmth of the air revived him and he felt very
hungry; but there seemed to be nobody in all this vast
and splendid palace whom he could ask to give him
something to eat. Deep silence reigned everywhere, and
at last, tired of roaming through empty rooms and
galleries, he stopped in a room smaller than the rest,
where a clear first was burning and a couch was drawn
up cozily close to it. Thinking that this must be
prepared for some one who was expected, he sat down to
wait till he should come, and very soon fell into a
When his extreme hunger wakened him after several hours
he was still alone, but a little table, upon which was
a good dinner, had been drawn up close to him, and as
he had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours he lost no
time in beginning his meal, hoping that he might soon
have an opportunity of thanking his considerate
entertainer, whoever it might be. But no one appeared,
and even after another long sleep, from which he awoke
completely refreshed, there was no sign of anybody,
though a fresh meal of dainty cakes and fruit was
prepared upon a little table at his elbow. Being
naturally timid, the silence began to terrify him, and
he resolved to search once more through all the rooms;
but it was of no use. Not even a servant was to be
seen; there was no sign of life in the palace! He
began to wonder what he should do, and to amuse himself
by pretending that all the treasures he saw were his
own, and considering how he would divide them among his
children. Then he went down into the garden, and
though it was winter
every-  where else, here the sun shone, and the birds sang, and
the flowers bloomed, and the air was soft and sweet.
The merchant, in ecstasies with all he saw and heard,
said to himself:
"All this must be meant for me. I will go this minute
and bring my children to share all these delights."
In spite of being so cold and weary when he reached the
castle, he had taken his horse to the stable and fed
it. Now he thought he would saddle it for his homeward
journey, and he turned down the path which led to the
stable. This path had a hedge of roses on each side of
it, and the merchant thought he had never seen or
smelled such exquisite flowers. They reminded him of
his promise to Beauty, and he stopped and had just
gathered one to take to her when he was startled by a
strange noise behind him. Turning round he saw a
frightful beast, which seemed to be very angry and said
in a terrible voice:
"Who told you that you might gather my roses? Was it
not enough that I allowed you to be in my palace and
was kind to you? This is the way you show your
gratitude, by stealing my flowers! But your insolence
shall not go unpunished." The merchant, terrified by
these furious words, dropped the fatal rose, and
throwing himself on his knees cried: "Pardon me, noble
sir. I am truly grateful to you for your hospitality,
which was so magnificent that I could not imagine that
you would e offended by my taking such a little thing
as a rose." But the beast's anger was not lessened by
"You are very ready with excuses and flattery," he
cried; "but that will not save you from the death you
"Alas!" thought the merchant, "if my daughter Beauty
could only know what danger her rose has brought me
And in despair he began to tell the beast all his
misfortunes and the reason of his journey, not
forgetting to mention Beauty's request.
 "A king's ransom would hardly have procured all that my
other daughters asked," he said, "but I thought that I
might at least take Beauty her rose. I beg you to
forgive me, for you see I meant no harm."
The beast considered for a moment, and then he said in
a less furious tone:
"I will forgive you on one condition—that is,
that you will give me one of your daughters."
"Ah!" cried the merchant, "if I were cruel enough to
buy my own life at the expense of one of my children's,
what excuse could I invent to bring her here?"
"No excuse would be necessary," answered the beast.
"If she comes at all she must come willingly. On no
other condition will I have her. See if any one of
them is courageous enough and loves you well enough to
come and save your life. You seem to be an honest man,
so I will trust you to go home. I give you a month to
see if either of your daughters will come back with you
and stay here, to let you go free. If neither of them
is willing you must come alone, after bidding them
good-by forever, for then you will belong to me. And
do not imagine that you can hide from me, for if you
fail to keep y9our word I will come and fetch you!"
added the beast grimly.
The merchant accepted this proposal, though he did not
really think any of his daughters would be persuaded to
come. He promised to return at the time appointed, and
then, anxious to escape from the presence of the beast,
he asked permission to set off at once. But the beast
answered that he could not go until the next day.
"Then you will find a horse ready for you," he said.
"Now go and eat your supper and await my orders."
The poor merchant, more dead than alive, went back to
his room, where the most delicious supper was already
served on the little table which was drawn up before a
blazing fire. But
 he was too terrified to eat, and only tasted a few of
the dishes, for fear the beast should be angry if he
did not obey his orders. When he had finished he heard
a great noise in the next room, which he knew meant
that the beast was coming. As he could do nothing to
escape his visit, the only thing that remained was to
seem as little afraid as possible; so when the beast
appeared and asked roughly if he had supped well, the
merchant answered humbly that he had, thanks to his
host's kindness. Then the beast warned him to remember
their agreement to prepare his daughter exactly for
what she had to expect.
"Do not get up to-morrow," he added, "until you see the
sun and hear a golden bell ring. Then you will find
your breakfast waiting for you here, and the horse you
are to ride will be ready in the court-yard. He will
also bring you back again when you come with your
daughter a month hence. Farewell. Take a rose to
Beauty, and remember your promise."
The merchant was only too glad when the beast went
away, and though he could not sleep for sadness, he lay
down until the sun rose. Then, after a hasty
breakfast, he went to gather Beauty's rose and mounted
his horse, which carried him off so swiftly that in an
instant he had lose sight of the palace, and he was
still wrapped in gloomy thoughts when it stopped before
the door of the cottage.
His sons and daughters, who had been very uneasy at his
long absence, rushed to meet him, eager to know the
result of his journey, which, seeing him mounted upon a
splendid horse and wrapped in a rich mantle, they
supposed to be favorable. But he hid the truth from
them at first, only saying sadly to Beauty as he gave
her the rose:
"Here is what you asked me to bring you. You little
know what it has cost."
But this excited their curiosity so greatly that
presently he told them his adventures from beginning to
end, and then they
 were all very unhappy. The girls lamented loudly over
their lost hopes, and the sons declared that their
father should not return to this terrible castle, and
began to make plans for killing the beast if it should
come to fetch him. But he reminded them that he had
promised to go back. Then the girls were very angry
with Beauty and said it was all her fault, and that if
she had asked for something sensible this would never
have happened, and complained bitterly that they should
have to suffer for her folly.
Poor Beauty, much distressed, said to them:
"I have indeed caused this misfortune, but I assure you
I did it innocently. Who could have guessed that to
ask for a rose in the middle of summer would cause so
much misery? But as I did the mischief it is only just
that I should suffer for it. I will therefore go back
with my father to keep his promise."
At first nobody would hear of this arrangement, and her
father and brothers, who loved her dearly, declared
that nothing should make them let her go; but Beauty
was firm. As the time drew near she divided all her
little possessions between her sisters and said good-by
to every thing she loved, and when the fatal day came
she encouraged and cheered her father as they mounted
together the horse which had brought him back. It
seemed to fly rather than gallop, but so smoothly that
Beauty was not frightened; indeed, she would have
enjoyed the journey if she had not feared what might
happen to her at the end of it. Her father still tried
to persuade her to go back, but in vain. While they
were talking the night fell, and then, to their great
surprise, wonderful colored lights began to shine in
all directions, and splendid fireworks blazed out
before them. All the forest was illuminated by them,
and even felt pleasantly warm, though it had been
bitterly cold before. This lasted until they reached
the avenue of orange-trees, where were statues holding
flaming torches, and when they got nearer to the palace
they saw that
 it was illuminated from the roof to the ground, and
music sounded softly from the court-yard. "The beast
must be very hungry," said Beauty, trying to laugh, "if
he makes all this rejoicing over the arrival of his
But in spite of the her anxiety she could not help
admiring all the wonderful things she saw.
The horse stopped at the foot of the flight of steps
leading to the terrace, and when they had dismounted
her father led her to the little room he had been in
before, where they found a splendid fire burning and
the table daintily spread with a delicious supper.
The merchant knew that this was meant for them, and
Beauty, who was rather less frightened now that she had
passed through so many rooms and seen nothing of the
beast was quite willing to begin, for her long ride had
made her very hungry. But they had hardly finished
their meal when the noise of the beast's footsteps was
heard approaching, and Beauty clung to her father in
terror, which became all the greater when she saw how
frightened he was. But when the beast really appeared,
though she trembled at the sight of him, she made a
great effort to hide her horror and saluted him
This evidently pleased the beast. After looking at her
he said, in a tone that might have struck terror into
the boldest heart, though he did not seem to be angry:
"Good-evening, old man. Good-evening, Beauty."
The merchant was too terrified to reply, but Beauty
"Have you come willingly?" asked the beast. "Will you
be content to stay here when your father goes away?"
Beauty answered bravely that she was quite prepared to
"I am pleased with you," said the beast. "As you have
 of your own accord, you may stay. As for you, old
man," he added, turning to the merchant, "at sunrise
to-morrow you will take your departure. When the bell
rings get up quickly and eat your breakfast, and you
will find the same horse waiting to take you home; but
remember that you must never expect to see my palace
Then turning to Beauty he said:
"Take your father into the next room and help him to
choose everything you think your brothers and sisters
would like to have. You will find two traveling-trunks
there; fill them as full as you can. It is only just
that you should send them something very precious as a
remembrance of yourself."
Then he went away after saying "Good-bye, Beauty;
good-bye, old man"; and though Beauty was beginning to
think with great dismay of her father's departure, she
was afraid to disobey the beast's orders, and they went
into the next room, which had shelves and cupboards all
round it. They were greatly surprised at the riches it
contained. There were splendid dresses fit for a
queen, with all the ornaments that were to be worn with
them; and when Beauty opened the cupboards she was
quite dazzled by the gorgeous jewels that lay in heaps
upon every shelf. After choosing a vast quantity,
which she divided between her sisters—for she had
made a heap of the wonderful dresses for each of
them—she opened the last chest, which was full of
"I think, father," she said, "that as the gold will be
more useful to you we had better take out the other
things again and fill the trunks with it." So they did
this; but the more they put in the more room there
seemed to be, and at last they put back all the jewels
and dresses they had taken out, and Beauty even added
as many more of the jewels as she could carry at once;
and then the trunks were not too full, but they were so
heavy that an elephant could not have carried them!
"The beast was mocking us," cried the merchant. "He
 have pretended to give us all these things, knowing
that I could not carry them away."
"Let us wait and see," answered Beauty. "I cannot
believe that he meant to deceive us. All we can do is
to fasten them up and leave them ready."
So they did this and returned to the little room,
where, to their astonishment, they found breakfast
ready. The merchant ate his with a good appetite, as
the beast's generosity made him believe that he might
perhaps venture to come back soon and see Beauty. But
she felt sure that her father was leaving her forever,
so she was very sad when the bell range sharply for the
second time and warned them that the time was come for
them to part. They went down into the court-yard,
where two horses were waiting, one loaded with the two
trunks, the other for him to ride. They were pawing
the ground in their impatience to start, and the
merchant was forced to bid Beauty a hasty farewell; and
as soon as he was mounted he went off at such a pace
that she lost sight of him in an instant.
The Beauty began to cry and wandered sadly back to her
own room. But she soon found that she was very sleepy,
and as she has nothing better to do she lay down and
instantly fell asleep. And then she dreamed that she
was walking by a brook bordered with trees and
lamenting her sad fate, when a young prince, handsomer
than any one she had ever seen, and with a voice that
went straight to her heart, came and said to her: "Ah,
Beauty! you are not so unfortunate as you suppose.
Here you will be rewarded for all you have suffered
elsewhere. Your every wish shall be gratified. Only
try to find me out, no matter how I may be disguised,
as I love you dearly, and in making me happy you will
find your own happiness. Be as true-hearted as you are
beautiful, and we shall have nothing left to wish for."
"What can I do, prince, to make you happy?" said
 "Only be grateful," he answered, "and do not trust too
much to your eyes. And above all, do not desert me
until you have saved me from my cruel misery."
After this she thought she found herself in a room with
a stately and beautiful lady, who said to her:
"Dear Beauty, try not to regret all you have left
behind you, for you are destined to a better fate.
Only do not let yourself be deceived by appearances."
Beauty found her dream so interesting that she was in
no hurry to awake, but presently the clock roused her
by calling her name softly twelve times, and then she
got up and found her dressing-table set out with
everything she could possibly want; and when her toilet
was finished she found dinner was waiting in the room
next to hers. But dinner does not take very long when
you are all by yourself, and very soon she sat down
cozily in the corner of a sofa and began to think about
the charming prince she had seen in her dream.
"He said I could make him happy," said Beauty to
herself. "It seems, then, that this horrible beast
keeps him a prisoner. How can I set him free? I
wonder why they both told me not to trust to
appearances? I don't understand it. But after all, it
was only a dream, so why should I trouble myself about
it? I had better go and find something to do to amuse
So she got up and began to explore some of the many
rooms of the palace.
The first she entered was lined with mirrors, and
Beauty saw herself reflected on every side, and thought
she had never seen such a charming room. Then a
bracelet which was hanging from a chandelier caught her
eye, and on taking it down she was greatly surprised to
find that it held a portrait of her unknown admirer,
just as she has seen him in her dream. With great
delight she slipped the bracelet on her arm and went on
into a gallery of pictures, where she soon found a
portrait of the same
 handsome prince, as large as life and so well painted
that as she studied it her seemed to smile kindly at
Tearing herself away from the portrait at last, she
passed through into a room which contained every
musical instrument under the sun, and here she amused
herself for a long while in trying some of them and
singing until she was tired. The next room was a
library, and she saw everything she had ever wanted to
read, as well as everything she had read, and it seemed
to her that a whole lifetime would not be enough even
to read the names of the books, there were so many. By
this time it was growing dusk, and wax candles in
diamond and ruby candlesticks were beginning to light
themselves in every room.
Beauty found her supper served just at the time she
preferred to have it, but she did not see any one or
hear a sound, and though her father had warned her that
she would be alone, she began to find it rather dull.
But presently she heard the beast coming, and wondered
tremblingly if he meant to eat her up now.
However, as he did not seem at all ferocious, and only
said gruffly, "Good-evening, Beauty," she answered
cheerfully and managed to conceal her terror. Then the
beast asked her how she had been amusing herself, and
she told him all the rooms she had seen.
Then he asked if she thought she could be happy in his
palace, and Beauty answered that everything was so
beautiful that she would be very hard to please if she
could not be happy. And after about an hour's talk
Beauty began to think that the beast was not nearly so
terrible as she has supposed at first. Then he got up
to leave her and said in his gruff voice:
"Do you love me, Beauty? Will you marry me?"
"Oh! what shall I say?" cried Beauty, for she was
afraid to make the beast angry by refusing.
"Say 'yes' or 'no' without fear," he replied.
 "Oh! no, Beast," said Beauty hastily.
"Since you will not, good-night, Beauty," he said. And
she answered, "Good-night, Beast," very glad to find
that her refusal had not provoked him. And after he
was gone she was very soon in bed and asleep and
dreaming of her unknown prince. She thought he came
and said to her:
"Ah, Beauty! why are you so unkind to me? I fear I am
fated to be unhappy for many a long day still."
And then her dreams changed, but the charming prince
figured in them all; and when morning came her first
thought was to look at the portrait and see if it was
really like him, and she found that it certainly was.
This morning she decided to amuse herself in the
garden, for the sun shone and all the fountains were
playing; but she was astonished to find that every
place was familiar to her, and presently she came to
the brook where the myrtle trees were growing where she
had first met the prince in her dream, and that made
her think more than ever that he must be kept a
prisoner by the beast. When she was tired she went
back to the palace, and found a new room full of
materials for every kind of work—ribbons to make
into bows and silks to work into flowers. Then there
was an aviary full of rare birds, which were so tame
that they flew to Beauty as soon as they saw her and
perched upon her shoulders and head.
"Pretty little creatures," she said, "how I wish that
your cage was nearer to my room, that I might often
hear you sing!"
So saying she opened a door and found to her delight
that it led into her own room though she had thought it
was quite the other side of the palace.
There were more birds in a room further on, parrots and
cockatoos that could talk, and they greeted Beauty by
name. Indeed, she found them so entertaining that she
took one or two back to her room, and they talked to
her while she was at supper;
 after which the beast paid her his usual visit and
asked the same questions as before, and then with a
gruff "good-night" he took his departure, and Beauty
went to bed to dream of her mysterious prince. The
days passed swiftly in different amusements, and after
a while Beauty found out another strange thing in the
palace, which often pleased her when she was tired of
being alone. There was one room which she had not
noticed particularly. It was empty, except that under
each of the windows stood a very comfortable chair, and
the first time she had looked out of the window it had
seemed to her that a black curtain prevented her from
seeing anything outside. But the second time she went
into the room, happening to be tired, she sat down in
one of the chairs, when instantly the curtain was
rolled aside and a most amusing pantomime was acted
before her. There were dances, and colored lights, and
music, and pretty dresses, and it was all so gay that
Beauty was in ecstasies. After that she tried the
other seven windows in turn, and there was some new and
surprising entertainment to be seen from each of them,
so that Beauty never could feel lonely any more. Every
evening after supper the beast came to see her, and
always before saying good-night asked her in his
"Beauty, will you marry me?"
And it seemed to Beauty, now she understood him better,
that when she said, "No, Beast," he went away quite
sad. But her happy dreams of the handsome young prince
soon made her forget the poor beast, and the only thing
that at all disturbed her was to be constantly told to
distrust appearances, to let her heart guide her, and
not her eyes, and many other equally perplexing things,
which, consider as she would, she could not understand.
So everything went on for a long time, until at last,
happy as she was, Beauty began to long for the sight of
her father and her brothers and sisters; and one night,
seeing her look very sad,
 the beast asked her what was the matter. Beauty had
quite ceased to be afraid of him now she knew that he
was really gentle in spite of his ferocious looks and
his dreadful voice. So she answered that she was
longing to see her home once more. Upon hearing this
the beast seemed sadly distressed and cried miserably:
"Ah! Beauty, have you the heart to desert an unhappy
beast like this? What more do you want to make you
happy? Is it because you hate me that you want to
"No, dear Beast," answered Beauty softly, "I do not
hate you, and I should be very sorry never to see you
any more, but I long to see my father again. Only let
me go for two months, and I promise to come back to you
and stay for the rest of my life."
The beast, who had been sighing dolefully while she
spoke, now replied:
"I cannot refuse you anything you ask, even though it
should cost me my life. Take the four boxes you will
find in the room next to your own and fill them with
every thing you wish to take with you. But remember
your promise and come back when the two months are
over, or you may have cause to repent it, for if you do
not come in good time you will find your faithful beast
dead. You will not need any chariot to bring you back.
Only say good-bye to all your brothers and sisters the
night before you come away, and when you have gone to
bed turn this ring round upon your finger and say
firmly: 'I wish to go back to my palace and see my
beast again.' Good-night, Beauty. Fear nothing, sleep
peacefully, and before long you shall see your father
As soon as Beauty was alone she hastened to fill the
boxes with all the rare and precious things she saw
about her, and only when she was tired of heaping
things into them did they seem to be full.
 Then she went to bed, but could hardly sleep for joy.
And when at last she did begin to dream of her beloved
prince she was grieved to see him stretched upon a
grassy bank, sad and weary and hardly like himself.
"What is the matter?" she cried.
But he looked at her reproachfully and said:
"How can you ask me, cruel one? Are you not leaving me
to my death perhaps?"
"Ah! don't be so sorrowful," cried Beauty. "I am only
going to assure my father that I am safe and happy. I
have promised the beast faithfully that I will come
back, and he would die of grief if I did not keep my
"What would that matter to you?" said the prince.
"Surely you would not care?"
"Indeed I should be ungrateful if I did not care for
such a kind beast," cried Beauty indignantly. "I would
die to save him from pain. I assure you it is not his
fault that he is so ugly."
Just then a strange sound woke her—some one was
speaking not very far away; and opening her eyes she
found herself in a room she had never seen before,
which was certainly not nearly so splendid as those she
was used to in the beast's palace. Where could she be?
She got up and dressed hastily, and then saw that the
boxes she had packed the night before were all in the
room. While she was wondering by what magic the beast
had transported them and herself to this strange place
she suddenly heard her father's voice, and rushed out
and greeted him joyfully. Her brothers and sisters
were all astonished at her appearance, as they had
never expected to see her again, and there was no end
to the questions they asked her. She had also much to
hear about what had happened to them while she was away
and of her father's journey home. But when they heard
that she had only come to be with them for a short
 then must go back to the beast's palace forever, they
lamented loudly. Then Beauty asked her father what he
thought could be the meaning of her strange dreams, and
why the prince constantly begged her not to trust to
appearances. After much consideration he answered:
"You tell me yourself that the beast, frightful as he
is, loves you dearly and deserves your love and
gratitude for his gentleness and kindness. I think the
prince must mean you to understand that you ought to
reward him by doing as he wishes you to, in spite of
Beauty could not help seeing that this seemed very
probable. Still, when she thought of her dear prince
who was so handsome, she did not feel at all inclined
to marry the beast. At any rate, for two months she
need not decide, but could enjoy herself with her
sisters. But though they were rich now and lived in a
town again and had plenty of acquaintances, Beauty
found that nothing amused her very much; and she often
thought of the palace where she was so happy,
especially as at home she never once dreamed of her
dear prince, and she felt quite sad without him.
Then her sisters seemed to have got quite used to being
without her, and even found her rather in the way, so
she would not have been sorry when the two months were
over but for her father and brothers, who begged her to
stay and seemed so grieved at the thought of her
departure that she had not the courage to say good-bye
to them. Every day when she got up she meant to say it
at night, and when night came she put it off again,
until at last she had a dismal dream which helped her
to make up her mind. She thought she was wandering in
a lonely path in the palace gardens, when she heard
groans which seemed to come from some bushes hiding the
entrance of a cave, and running quickly to see what
could be the matter, she found the beast stretched out
upon his side, apparently dying.
 He reproached her faintly with being the cause of his
distress, and at the same moment a stately lady
appeared and said very gravely:
"Ah! Beauty, you are only just in time to save his
life. See what happens when people do not keep their
promises! If you had delayed one day more you would
have found him dead."
Beauty was so terrified by this dream that the next
morning she announced her intention of going back at
once, and that very night she said good-bye to her
father and all her brothers and sisters, and as soon as
she was in bed she turned her ring round upon her
finger and said firmly, "I wish to go back to my palace
and see my beast again," as she has been told to do.
Then she fell asleep instantly, and only woke up to
hear the clock saying "Beauty, Beauty," twelve times in
its musical voice, which told her at once that she was
really in the palace once more. Everything was just as
before, and her birds were so glad to see her; but
Beauty thought she had never known such a long day, for
she was so anxious to see the beast again that she felt
as if supper-time would never come.
But when it did come and no beast appeared she was
really frightened; so after listening and waiting for a
long time she ran down into the garden to search for
him. Up and down the paths and avenues ran poor
Beauty, calling him in vain, for no one answered and
not a trace of him could she find, until at last, quite
tired, she stopped for a minute's rest and saw that she
was standing opposite the shady path she had seen in
her dream. She rushed down it, and, sure enough, there
was the cave, and in it lay the beast—asleep, as
Beauty thought. Quite glad to have found him, she ran
up and stroked his head, but to her horror he did not
move or open his eyes.
"Oh! he is dead, and it is all my fault," said Beauty,
 But then, looking at him again, she fancied he still
breathed, and hastily fetching some water from the
nearest fountain, she sprinkled it over his face, and
to her great delight he began to revive.
"Oh, Beast, how you frightened me!" she cried, "I never
knew how much I loved you until just now, when I feared
I was too late to save your life."
"Can you really love such an ugly creature as I am?"
said the beast faintly. "Ah! Beauty, you only came
just in time. I was dying because I thought you had
forgotten your promise. But go back now and rest. I
shall see you again by and by."
Beauty, who had half-expected that he would be angry
with her, was reassured by his gentle voice and went
back to the palace, where supper was awaiting her; and
afterward the beast came in as usual and talked about
the time she had spent with her father, asking if she
enjoyed herself and if they had all been very glad to
Beauty answered politely, and quite enjoyed telling him
all that had happened to her. And when at last the
time came for him to go, and he asked, as he has so
often asked before, "Beauty, will you marry me?" she
answered softly: "Yes, dear beast."
As she spoke a blaze of light sprang up before the
windows of the palace; fireworks crackled and guns
banged, and across the avenue of orange-trees, in
letters all made of fireflies, was written: "Long live
the prince and his bride."
Turning to ask the beast what it could all mean, Beauty
found that he had disappeared, and in his place stood
her long-loved prince! At the same moment the wheels
of a chariot were heard upon the terrace and two ladies
entered the room. One of them Beauty recognized as the
stately lady she had seen in her dreams; the other was
also so grand and queenly that Beauty hardly knew which
to greet first.
 But the one she already knew said to her companion:
"Well, queen, this is Beauty, who has had the courage
to rescue your son from the terrible enchantment. They
love one another, and only your consent to their
marriage is wanting to make them perfectly happy."
"I consent with all my heart," cried the queen. "How
can I ever thank you enough, charming girl, for having
restored my dear son to his natural form?"
And then she tenderly embraced Beauty and the prince,
who had meanwhile been greeting the fairy and receiving
"Now," said the fairy to Beauty, "I suppose you would
like me to send for all your brothers and sisters to
dance at your wedding?"
And so she did, and the marriage was celebrated the
very next day with the utmost splendor, and Beauty and
the prince lived happily ever after.
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