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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
HERE was once a wealthy merchant who had six children,
three sons and three daughters; and he loved his
children more than he loved his riches and was always
trying to make them happy. The three daughters were
very handsome, but the youngest was the most attractive
of all. While she was little she was called Beauty, and
when she grew up she still kept the same name—and she
was as good as she was beautiful. She spent much of her
time studying, and when not engaged with her books she
was busy doing all she could to make her home pleasant
for her father. The older sisters were not like Beauty.
They were proud of their riches and cared little for
study, and they were constantly driving in the parks or
attending balls, operas, and plays.
Thus things went along until misfortunes began to
overtake the merchant in his business, and one evening
he came home and told his family that storms at sea had
destroyed his ships, and fire had burned his
warehouses. "My riches are gone,"
 said he, "and I
have nothing I can call my own but a little farm far
off in the country. To that little farm we must all go,
now, and earn our daily living with our hands."
The daughters wept at the idea of leading such a
different life, and the older ones said they would not
go, for they had plenty of friends who would invite
them to stay in the town. But they were mistaken. Their
friends, who were numerous when the family was rich,
now kept away and said one to the other, "We are sorry
for the merchant and his family, of course. However, we
have cares of our own, and we couldn't be expected to
help them; and, really, if those two older girls are
having their pride humbled it is no more than they
deserve. Let them go and give themselves quality airs
milking the cows and minding their dairy and see how
they like it."
So the family went to live on the little farm in the
country, and the merchant and his sons ploughed and
sowed the fields, and Beauty rose at four o'clock every
morning to get breakfast for them. After the breakfast
things were out of the way she busied herself about the
other housework, and when there was nothing else to do
she would sit at her spinning-wheel, singing as she
spun, or perhaps would take a little time for reading.
The work was hard at first,
 yet when she became
used to it she enjoyed it, and her eyes were brighter
and her cheeks more rosy than ever before.
Her two sisters did not change their habits so easily,
and they were wretched. They were always thinking of
the wealth they had lost, and they did not get up till
ten o'clock and did very little work after they were
up, but spent most of the time sauntering about and
A year passed and then the merchant received news that
one of his ships which he had believed to be lost had
come safely into port with a rich cargo. This news
nearly turned the heads of the two eldest daughters,
who thought that now they could soon leave the little
farm and return to the gay city. As soon as their
father made ready to go to the port to attend to the
unlading and sale of the ship's cargo they begged him
to buy them new gowns and hats and all manner of
Then the merchant said, "And what shall I bring you,
"The only thing I wish for is to see you come home
safely," she answered.
Her father was pleased, but he thought she ought to
tell him of something he might bring her from the town.
"Well, dear father," said she,
 "as you insist, I
would like to have you bring me a rose, for I have not
seen one since we came here."
The good man now set out on his journey, but when he
reached the port he found that a former partner had
taken charge of the ship's goods and disposed of them.
The man would not turn over the money he had received
to the merchant, and the merchant was obliged to sue
for it in the courts. But what he recovered barely paid
the costs, and at the end of six months of trouble and
expense he started for his little farm as poor as when
He travelled day after day until he was within thirty
miles of home, and he was thinking of the pleasure he
would have in seeing his children again when he lost
his way in a great forest through which he had to pass.
Night came on cold and rainy, and the poor man grew
faint with hunger. But presently he saw bright lights
some way off shining through the trees, and he turned
his horse toward them and soon came into a long avenue
of great oaks. This led to a splendid palace that was
lit from top to bottom. Yet when the merchant entered
the courtyard no one met him, and when he halooed he
received no answer. His horse kept
 on toward an
open stable door, and he dismounted and led the
creature inside and hitched it to a manger that was
full of hay and oats.
The merchant now sought the castle and went into a
large hall where he found a good fire, and a table
plentifully set with food, but not a soul did he see.
While he stood by the fire drying himself he said, "How
fortunate I am to find such shelter, for I should have
perished this stormy night out in the forest. But I
can't imagine where the people of this house can be,
and I hope its master will excuse the liberty I have
He waited for some time and the clock struck eleven. No
one came, and then, weak for want of food, he sat down
at the table and ate heartily; yet all the while he was
fearful that he was trespassing and might be severely
dealt with for his presumption. After he had finished
eating he felt less timid and he concluded he would
look for a chamber. So he left the hall and passed
through several splendid rooms till he came to one in
which was a comfortable bed, and there he spent the
On awaking the following morning he was surprised to
find a new suit of clothes laid out for him on a chair
by the bedside, marked with his name, and with ten gold
pieces in every pocket. His own
 clothes, which
were much the worse for wear and had been wet through
by the storm, had disappeared.
"Surely," said he, "this palace belongs to some kind
fairy who has seen and pitied my distresses."
In the hall where he had supped the night before he
found the table prepared for his breakfast, and after
he had eaten he went out into a great garden full of
beautiful flowers and shrubbery. As he walked along he
passed under a bower of roses. "Ah," said he stopping,
" I had no money when I left the town to buy the gifts
my older daughters wanted, and my mind has been so full
of my troubles that I have not thought of the rose for
which Beauty asked, until this moment. She shall have
one of these," and he reached up and plucked one.
No sooner had he done this than a great beast came
suddenly forth from a side path where he had been
hidden by a high hedge and stood before the merchant.
"This place is mine," said the beast in his deep, gruff
voice. "Why do you pick my flowers?"
"Forgive me, my lord," begged the merchant, throwing
himself on his knees before the beast. "I did not know
I was giving offence. I only wanted to carry a rose to
one of my daughters."
"You have daughters, have you?" said the beast.
 "Now, listen! This palace is lonely and I want
one of your daughters to come here and live."
"Oh, sir!" cried the merchant, "do not ask that."
"Nothing else will appease me," the beast responded. "I
promise no harm will be done her. So take the rose you
have picked and go at once and
 tell your
daughters what I have said; and in case not one of them
will come you must return yourself and be prisoned for
the rest of your days in the palace dungeon."
"My lord," replied the merchant, "I shall not
let a child of mine suffer for me, and you may
as well lock me up in your dungeon now as later."
"No," the beast said, "you go home and consult with
your daughters first."
"I am in your power," said the merchant, "and I can
only obey you."
Then he went to the stable and mounted his horse and by
night he reached home. His children ran out to greet
him, but instead of receiving their caresses with
pleasure the tears rolled down his cheeks, and he
handed the rose to Beauty, saying, "Little do you think
how dear that will cost your poor father;" and he
related all the sad adventures that had befallen him."
To-morrow," said the merchant in closing, "I shall
return to the beast."
"I can't let you do that, dear father," said Beauty. "I
am going in your stead."
"Not so, sister," cried her three brothers, "we will
seek out the monster and either kill him or die
"You could accomplish nothing," declared the
 merchant, "for he lives in an enchanted palace and has
invisible helpers with whom you could not hope to
"How unfortunate it all is!" said the older girls.
"What a pity. Beauty, that you did not do as we did and
ask for something sensible."
"Well," said Beauty, "who could have guessed that to
ask for a rose would cause so much misery? However, the
fault is plainly mine, and I shall have to suffer the
Her father tried to dissuade her from her purpose, but
she insisted, and the next morning he mounted his horse
and, with Beauty sitting behind him, he started for the
beast's palace. They arrived late in the afternoon and
rode down the long avenue of oaks and into the silent
courtyard to the door of the stable where the horse had
been kept before. Then they dismounted, and after the
merchant had led the horse into the stable and seen it
comfortably housed for the night they went into the
A cheerful fire was blazing in the big hall and the
table was daintily spread with most delicious food.
They sat down to this repast, but were too sad to eat
much and were soon through. Just then the beast came in
and addressed the merchant. "Honest man," said he," I
am glad that you could be trusted.
 I was rude and threatening toward you yesterday,
but it seemed necessary. However, in the end, I think
you will have nothing to regret. Spend the night here
and to-morrow go your way."
"This is my daughter, Beauty," said the merchant.
The beast bowed and said, "My lady, I am very grateful
to you for coming, and I beg you to remember that I am
not what you think me. But I cannot tell you what I
really am, for I am under a spell. This spell I hope
you will be able to remove."
So saying, the beast withdrew and left the merchant and
his daughter sitting by the fire. "What the beast
means," said the merchant, "I do not know; but he talks
Then they sat long in silence, but at last arose; and
they each hunted up a chamber and retired to try to
On the morrow they found breakfast prepared for them in
the hall, and after they had eaten, the merchant bade
his daughter an affectionate farewell. He went to the
stable for his horse. It was all ready for him to
mount, and to his surprise the saddlebags were full of
gold. "Ah, well!" said he, "here is wealth once more,
but it cannot make up for the loss of my dear
 Beauty watched him ride away. As soon as he was
gone she threw herself down on a cushioned window-seat
and cried till she fell asleep; and while she slept she
dreamed she was walking by a brook bordered with trees
and lamenting her sad fate, when a young prince,
handsomer than any man she had ever seen, came to her
and said, "Ah, Beauty, you are not so unfortunate as
you suppose. You will have your reward."
She awoke late in the day a good deal refreshed and
comforted, and after a little she decided she would
walk about and see something of the palace in which she
was to live. She found much to admire and presently
came to a door on which was written
She opened the door and entered a splendidly furnished
apartment where were a multitude of books and pictures,
a harpsichord and many comfortable chairs and couches.
She picked up a book that lay on a table, and on the
fly-leaf she found written in golden letters these
"Your wishes and commands shall be obeyed. You are here
the queen over everything."
"Alas!" she thought, "my chief wish just at this moment
is to see what my poor father is about."
 While she was thinking this she perceived some
movement in a mirror on the wall in front of her, and
when she looked into the mirror she saw her father
arriving home and her sisters and brothers meeting him.
The vision faded quickly away, but Beauty felt very
thankful she had been allowed such a pleasure." This
beast shows a great deal of kindness," said she,
glancing about the attractive room. "He must be a far
better creature than we have
She did not see the beast until evening, and then he
came and asked if he might sup with her, and
replied that he could. But she would much rather have
eaten alone, for she could not help trembling in his
presence. As long as they sat at the table soft,
beautiful music was played, though whence it came or
who were the musicians she could not discover. The
beast talked to Beauty with great politeness and
intelligence, yet his gruff voice startled her every
time he spoke. When they had nearly finished he said,
"I suppose you think my appearance extremely ugly."
"Yes," said Beauty, "for I cannot tell a lie, but I
think you are very good."
"You show a most gracious spirit," said the beast, "in
not judging me wholly by my uncouth exterior. I will do
anything I can to make you happy here."
"You are very kind. Beast," she replied. "Indeed, when
I think of your good heart, y6u no longer seem to me so
As they rose from the supper table, the beast said,
"Beauty, do you think you could ever care enough for me
to kiss me?"
She faltered out, "No, Beast," and he turned and left
the room sighing so deeply that she pitied him.
In the days and weeks which followed Beauty saw no one
save the beast, yet there were invisible servants who
did everything possible for her comfort
pleasure. She and the beast always had supper together,
and his conversation never failed to be entertaining
and agreeable. By degrees she grew accustomed to his
shaggy ugliness and learned to mind it less and to
think more of his many amiable qualities. The only
thing that pained her was that when he was about to
leave her at the end of supper he was sure to ask if
she thought she could sometime care enough for him to
Three months passed, and one day Beauty looked in her
mirror and saw a double wedding at her father's
cottage. Her sisters were being married to two
gentlemen of the region. Not long afterward her mirror
showed her that her three brothers had enlisted for
soldiers and her father was left alone. A few days more
elapsed and she saw that her father was sick. The sight
made her weep, and in the evening she told the beast
what her mirror had revealed to her and that she wished
to go and nurse her father.
"And will you return at the end of a week if you go?"
asked the beast.
"Yes," she replied.
"I cannot refuse anything you ask," said he. "I will
have a swift horse ready for you at sunrise to-morrow."
 The next day at sunrise Beauty found the swift
horse saddled for her in the courtyard, and away she
went like the wind through the forest toward her
father's cottage. When she arrived, the old merchant
was so overjoyed at seeing her that his sickness
quickly left him and the two spent a most happy week
As soon as the seven days were past she returned to the
castle of the beast, which she reached late in the
afternoon. Supper time came and the food was served as
usual, but the beast was absent and Beauty was a good
deal alarmed. "Oh, I hope nothing has happened to him,"
she said. "He was so good and considerate."
After waiting a short time she went to look for the
beast. She ran hastily through all the apartments of
the palace, but the beast was not there; and then in
the twilight she hurried out to the garden, and by the
borders of a fountain she found the beast lying as if
"Dear, dear Beast," she cried, dropping on her knees
beside him, "what has happened?" and she leaned over
and kissed his hairy cheek.
At once a change came over the beast, and on the grass
beside the fountain lay a handsome prince. He opened
his eyes and said feebly, "My lady, I
 thank you.
A wicked magician had condemned me to assume the form
of an ugly beast until some beautiful maiden consented
to kiss me. But I think you are the only maiden in the
world kind-hearted enough to have had affection for me
in the ugly form the magician had given me. When you
went away to your father I was so lonely I could no
longer eat or amuse myself, and I became so weak that
to-day, when I was walking here in the garden, I fell
and could not rise."
Then Beauty filled a cup with water from the fountain
and lifted him up so that he could drink. That revived
him somewhat and with her help he rose to his feet. The
enchantment had been removed from the palace as well as
from the prince, and the servants were no longer
"Call for help," said the prince; and when she called,
several men instantly came to their aid and carried the
prince to the palace. Once there, warmth, food, and
happiness went far toward restoring him. The next
morning he sent for Beauty's father to come and make
his home with them, and not long afterward Beauty and
the prince were married and they lived with great joy
and contentment in their palace ever after.