Title: Beauty and the Beast
Author: Marie Le Prince de Beaumont
Pages: 48 pages
Genre: classics, fantasy
Is this part of a series? No.
Published: This version was first published in 1756.
The story of a merchant and his six children that had a reversal of fortune forcing them from city life to a farm. The three sons helped the father with the work, and the youngest daughter, Beauty, cleaned and cooked. She was sweet, charming and cared deeply for her family. The two other daughters, though, were dissatisfied with their lot, never learning to help and making trouble. When the merchant heard of one of his shipments coming in, he went to get it, hoping to reverse their fortunes. The sisters, eager for new items, demanded of their father every sort of thing- dresses, ribbons, hats…. Beauty, not wishing to tax her father further, asked for a rose.
Unfortunately, all did not go as planned in town and the merchant started for home empty handed. On the way, he got lost in a storm and found shelter in a castle. There seemed to be no one around, but a fire was lit and dinner provided, so he warmed himself and ate. He slept there that night, still having seen no one. On the way out in the morning he found roses and decided to take one for his daughter. That’s when he saw the owner- a deformed beast- who was enraged at this theft, after having cared for the merchant. He was allowed to leave only if either he or one of his daughters returned to the castle forever.
The merchant went home and relayed the news. The two sisters were aghast, upset at Beauty for her request that would kill their father. Beauty, though, was determined to go in his stead. She took her father’s place and lived with Beast. Given every kindness, allowed every luxury she loved, Beauty was treated well and learned to care for Beast in her way. Every night though, when he asked her to marry him, she declined. Once, she asked to go to her father for a week, as he was alone and sick. He allowed this, and sent her away, telling her how she might return to him. The sisters, envious of her dress and happiness, decided to get Beauty to stay longer so that Beast would be angry. When, feeling guilty, Beauty finally returned it was to find Beast near death. Seeing him now, she realizes that what she always felt for him had turned to love. She professes herself and says she will marry him, thus ending his curse.
Well, this is definitely different than my Disney version. I did find that this was not the first version of the story, but an abridged version of the story written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve that was written in 1740. I really enjoyed this version, though. I liked the added siblings, and I liked this version of Beast. The story was well written, and a fast read. Five stars. I couldn’t say which of the versions I liked better, though. I love them both for different reasons. In the Disney version, I fell in love with the support caste of characters. The magic of it. This one had a sweetness and simplicity I also loved.
As far as adult content goes, there was none. It is a good story for children.
The story- in a hundred different versions- is out. Which is your favorite?