Monday, October 31, 2011

Beauty and the Beast: the Story

Beauty and the Beast
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I took from Wikipedia:
A wealthy merchant lived in a mansion with his three daughters, all of whom were very beautiful, but only the youngest, at fourteen, is named Belle (a French name equivalent to "Beauty") for being lovely and pure of heart; her sisters, in contrast, are wicked and selfish. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea, and he and his daughters must therefore live in a small farmhouse and work for their living. After some years of this, the merchant hears that one of the trade ships he had sent off has arrived back in port, having escaped the destruction of its compatriots; therefore, he returns to the city to discover whether it contains anything of monetary value. Before leaving, he asks his daughters whether they desire that he bring them any gift upon his return. His two elder daughters ask for jewels and fine dresses, thinking that his wealth has returned; Belle is satisfied with the promise of a rose, as none grow in their part of the country. The merchant, to his dismay, finds that his ship's cargo has been seized to pay his debts, leaving him without money to buy his daughters their presents.
During his return, he becomes lost in a forest. Seeking shelter, he enters a dazzling palace. He finds inside tables laden with food and drink, which have apparently been left for him by the palace's unseen owner. The merchant accepts this gift and spends the night. The next morning as the merchant is about to leave, he sees a rose garden and recalls that Belle had desired a rose. Upon picking the most lovely rose he finds, the merchant is confronted by a hideous 'Beast', which tells him that for taking his (the Beast's) most precious possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The merchant begs to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him give the rose to Belle, only if the merchant will return, or his daughter goes to the castle in his place.
The merchant is upset, but accepts this condition. The Beast sends him on his way, with jewels and fine clothes for his daughters, and stresses that Belle must come to the castle of her own accord. The merchant, upon arriving home, tries to hide the secret from Belle; but she pries it from him and willingly goes to the Beast's castle. The Beast receives her graciously and informs her that she is mistress of the castle, and he is her servant. He gives her lavish clothing and food and carries on lengthy conversations with her. Each night, the Beast asks Belle to marry him, only to be refused each time. After each refusal, Belle dreams of a handsome prince who pleads with her to answer why she keeps refusing him, and she replies that she cannot marry the Beast because she loves him only as a friend. Belle does not make the connection between the handsome prince and the Beast and becomes convinced that the Beast is holding the prince captive somewhere in the castle. She searches for him and discovers multiple enchanted rooms, but, of course, never the prince from her dreams.
For several months, Belle lives a life of luxury at the Beast's palace, being waited on hand and foot by invisible servants, having no end of riches to amuse her and an endless supply of exquisite finery to wear. Yet, eventually, she becomes homesick and begs the Beast to allow her to go to see her family. He allows it, if she will return exactly a week later. Belle agrees to this and sets off for home with an enchanted mirror and ring. The mirror allows her to see what is going on back at the Beast's castle, and the ring allows her to return to the castle in an instant when turned three times around her finger. Her older sisters are surprised to find her well fed and dressed in finery. They grow jealous of her happy life at the castle, and, hearing that she must return to the Beast on a certain day, beg her to stay another day, even putting onion in their eyes to make it appear as though they are weeping. It is their wish that the Beast will grow angry with Belle for breaking her promise and will eat her alive. Belle's heart is moved by her sisters' false show of love, and she agrees to stay.
Belle begins to feel guilty about breaking her promise to the Beast and uses the mirror to see him back at the castle. She is horrified to discover that the Beast is lying half-dead of heartbreak near the rose bushes her father had stolen from and she immediately uses the ring to return to the Beast.
Upon returning, Belle finds the Beast almost dead, and she weeps over him, saying that she loves him. When her tears strike him, the Beast is transformed into a handsome prince. The Prince informs Belle 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 are married and they lived happily ever after together.

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