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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
 There was once upon a time a Merchant who had three
beautiful daughters. But though the two eldest were very
lovely, the youngest, who was called Beauty, was the fairest
of all. For besides being beautiful she had a kind, gentle
heart, which shone out of her eyes and made her always look
happy and bright. The elder sisters were selfish and
discontented, and only cared for jewels and fine clothes, So
it was no wonder that the father loved his youngest daughter
Now it happened one day that the Merchant was obliged to go
off on a long journey, and before he started he asked his
three daughters to choose what present he should bring home
"Oh! bring me a necklace of emeralds, the finest you can
find," said the eldest.
 "I would like a string of pearls," cried the second.
"And what would you like, little Beauty?" asked her father,
for Beauty had not been as quick to answer as her sisters.
"I would like you to bring yourself back as soon as
possible," said Beauty. "And if you could find a white rose
for me, I would like that best of all."
So the Merchant rode off, while the two sisters laughed at
Beauty, because she had asked for such a common gift.
"You have roses enough in your garden," they said
"But my roses are all red, and I want a white one," said
Beauty. And she wondered how her sisters could choose to
have jewels when they might have living flowers.
The Merchant did not forget the presents for his daughters,
and before he started for home again he bought a necklace of
emeralds and a string of pearls. But a white rose he could
not find. It was too late for roses, people said, and so he
had to set off without a present for Beauty.
 It was growing late and the roads were dark, and before he
had gone very far, the Merchant found he had missed his way.
He could not tell where he was, for everything looked
strange to him, and he was sure that he had never travelled
along this way before. He was just about to turn back and
try another road when, to his joy, he saw lights shining in
front, and presently he came to a great castle.
"I must ask if they will give me shelter here
for to-night," said the Merchant to himself.
So he rode through the garden
and went up to the great door.
To his surprise the door stood wide open, and not a servant
was anywhere to be seen. He went to the stables and tied up
his horse, and then returned to the hail, where he found a
splendid supper prepared. Everything was made ready as if a
prince had been expected. Still there was no one to be seen,
so the Merchant sat down and began to enjoy the feast, for
he was very hungry.
When he had finished supper and was feeling very sleepy, he
noticed an open door
 leading out of the hall into a room. He walked to the door,
looked in, and found it was a bedroom where everything was
ready for him just as the supper had been. He was so tired
that he went to bed at once and slept soundly until the next
morning. When he awoke and looked about he was more
surprised than ever, for a beautiful velvet suit was laid
out ready for him to put on, and in the hall a delicious
breakfast was awaiting him.
He really felt most grateful to his unknown host, and when
he was ready to set out again, he wished there had been some
way in which to show his gratitude.
Still thinking of his strange adventure, the Merchant walked
slowly through the garden. He scarcely noticed the wonderful
flowers which lined his path, until suddenly he spied a
beautiful white rose growing on a bush above his head.
"Why, I shall have a present for Beauty after all," he cried
out gladly. And he reached up and picked the beautiful white
But scarcely had he snapped its stalk when
 a terrible roar
sounded from the bushes close by, and out there sprang a
great fierce Beast.
"Who is stealing my white rose?" he growled, glaring at the
poor Merchant, who trembled with terror. "You came to my
castle and I gave you all you could wish, and this is your
"I did not mean to steal," said the Merchant very humbly.
"My little daughter begged me to bring her a white rose, and
this is the only one I have been able to find."
"It is my favourite rose," said the Beast, "and any one who
touches it is instantly put to death. But I will let you go
free if you will promise me one thing. Come back in a
month's time and bring with you the first thing that runs to
meet you when you reach home."
The Merchant promised at once, glad to be set free so
easily. He only hoped it might be the cat and not his
favourite dog that would run to meet him, for he did not
mind parting with the cat.
But, alas! it was neither the cat nor the
 dog! It was no
other than his little daughter Beauty.
She had been watching all the morning from the tower, and
when she saw him riding along the road she was so glad that
she ran out quickly to welcome him.
"O father!" she cried, "I see you have brought me my
beautiful white rose."
But her father looked so white and strange, and gazed at her
so sadly, that she grew frightened.
"Dear father, what has happened?" she asked, "and why do
you look so troubled?"
Then the Merchant dismounted and took Beauty's hand. And as
they walked through the garden he told her all that had
happened to him, and the promise he had made to the Beast.
"But I will never, never give you up,
my little Beauty," said her father, when
he had told her all.
"But, father, it was a promise," said Beauty, "and I could
not let you break your word for my sake. I will go back with
you to meet the Beast, and perhaps, after all, he
 will not
hurt me. He must be a good Beast if he loves to have such
beautiful white roses in his garden."
So the Merchant let Beauty have her way, hoping that
something might happen before the month was ended. But the
time slipped quickly by, and the day came when he must
return with Beauty to the palace of the Beast.
Beauty rode on her own white pony by her father's side, and
they went silently through the forest, for they were both
too sad to talk.
And when they came to the palace, which the Merchant
remembered so well, the door stood wide open just as it had
done before. There, too, in the hall a feast was prepared,
but this time two places were set, as if for a prince and
Poor Beauty and her father sat down very sadly to supper,
but they could eat nothing. And just then the clock struck
nine, and a terrible roaring noise was heard outside. Then
the door opened and the Beast came in.
 Now, although he looked so fierce and terrible, the Beast
had a kind voice, and he spoke quite gently to the trembling
"Is this your daughter for whom you stole my rose?" he
"Yes, this is Beauty," answered her father. "I would have
broken my promise to you, but she would not allow me."
"You are welcome to stay here for one night," said the
Beast. "But to-morrow you must go away and leave Beauty with
me. She shall have everything she can wish for here,
therefore do not be unhappy about her."
So the next morning the poor father was obliged to ride off
alone. He was very, very sad, but Beauty leaned out of her
window and smiled, and waved her handkerchief to him, that
he might believe she was quite happy.
Indeed she soon grew quite gay and contented, for she had
everything in the castle which she could want. Her bedroom
was the prettiest room she had ever seen, with pink and
white walls and daintiest silken
 curtains, and the roses,
which peeped through the window, framed a wonderful mirror
which stood upon the table. Beauty knew at once this was a
magic mirror, for underneath in golden letters she read:
"This my magic heart of glass
Paints your wishes as they pass.
Know, by these our fairy laws,
What you wish for shall be yours."
"I shall be able to wish myself home, whenever I am
unhappy," said Beauty, clapping her hands. "And so I need
never feel lonely."
Now Beauty had no one to play with and was quite alone all
the day long. Only at supper-time, when the clock struck
nine and she was seated at the great table in the hall,
there would come a knock at the door and a voice would say,
"May I come in, Beauty?"
"Certainly, Beast," she would answer. And then the door
opened and the Beast would come in.
And they would have supper together, and after they had
 would sit and sing, with the soft light of
the tall candles shining on her golden hair, while the poor
Beast sat spellbound listening to her music.
The poor beast sat spellbound listening to Beauty's music
"Do you think I am very ugly?" asked the Beast one night.
And his voice sounded so sad that Beauty found it very
difficult to answer quite truthfully.
"You have a kind face," she said at last with a sigh, "but
you really are very ugly."
"Then I suppose you hate me," said the Beast mournfully.
"O! no, indeed, I do not," said Beauty. "I like you very
"O Beauty," cried the Beast, "will you marry me, then?"
"How can I marry a beast?" said Beauty, the tears standing
in her blue eyes. "I do not love you enough for that."
When Beauty went to bed that night she felt very sad because
she had made the poor Beast so unhappy. And then she began
to long to see her home and her father again. So she went to
the magic mirror, and as she looked, her wish was painted on
 surface, and she saw her old home and her dear
father lying ill in bed.
Next day Beauty could neither play nor work, and could only
wait impatiently until supper-time came. Then when the door
opened and the Beast came in, she ran to meet him and asked
if she might go home, just for one week, to see her father.
"If you go you will never, never come back," said the Beast
"I promise you that I will come back in one week, dear
Beast," said Beauty, and there was the sound of a sob in her
The Beast shook his head and sighed deeply.
"Well, go if you wish it so much," he said, "but take this
ring with you." And he placed on Beauty's finger a curious
old gold ring.
"If you should ever want to come back," he said, "place this
ring on your table before you go to bed, and when you wake
up you will find yourself here in your own little pink and
Beauty promised to keep the ring
care-  fully, and that night
she looked again in the magic mirror and wished herself
In a moment the pink and white room faded away, and she
found herself standing by her father's bedside, and he was
weeping with joy to think he had found his little Beauty
again. He began to get well at once, for the very sight of
Beauty seemed to make him better.
But the week soon came to an end, and then Beauty felt she
could not bear to leave her father. So she made up her mind
she must break her promise and stay just one other week.
She could not help wondering what the poor Beast would think
of her, and one night when she had been thinking a great
deal about him, she dreamed a strange, sad dream.
She thought she was back in the garden of the Beast's
palace, and as she wandered about she came to the white rose
bush. There lay the poor Beast, so thin and wan that he
looked as if he were dying, and as she ran towards him she
heard him moan,
 "O Beauty, Beauty, you have broken my heart, and I shall die
Then Beauty awoke with a cry, and she felt so unhappy that
she slipped out of bed and placed her magic ring upon the
table, for she longed to see her dear Beast again.
Next morning, just as the Beast had promised it should be,
she woke up in her own little pink and white room, where the
roses nodded a welcome through the open window.
All day she waited anxiously for supper-time, and when the
clock struck nine she held her breath, waiting to hear the
Beast's voice saying as usual, "May I come in, Beauty?"
But no one knocked at the door, and a great stillness hung
over the castle.
"Oh, what has happened to my dear Beast?" cried Beauty. And
then she remembered her dream and ran quickly out into the
garden to look for him.
Straight to the white rose bush she ran, and there lay the
poor Beast, so stiff and quiet that she thought he must be
 The white roses bending over him had wept their white petals
on his rough coat, but he never stirred.
"Oh, my dear Beast!" cried Beauty, and she kneeled down and
threw her arms round his neck. "I have come back to take
care of you. Do not die, and I will marry you now, for I
love you with all my heart."
And Beauty hid her face in her hands and burst into tears.
Was the Beast indeed dead? Surely there was a sound as if
something moved. Beauty looked up quickly, and through a
mist of tears she saw the Beast was no longer there, but a
handsome young Prince stood by her side.
"Who are you?" asked Beauty; "and what have you done with
my dear Beast? My heart will break if I do not find him."
"Dear Beauty," said the Prince, "do you not know me? I am
the Beast whom your love has brought back to life and
happiness. An evil spell was cast around me so that I was
obliged to take the form of a beast, and nothing could set
me free until a beautiful
 maiden should love me, and promise
to marry me."
"If you truly are my dear Beast, I will marry you," said
Then they wandered together in the moon-lit garden, and the
Prince made a crown of white roses, which he placed on
Beauty's head. And together they went to the magic mirror,
and when Beauty looked in she saw her dear father living for
all the rest of his days in the palace with his little
daughter Beauty, and when the Prince looked in he saw the
picture of a wedding where the bride wore a wreath of pure
And the roses and the magic mirror nodded to one another,
for they knew that the wishes would come true, and that
there was nothing but happiness in store for Beauty and the