Beauty and the Beast, Marie Le Prince de Beaumont

beauty and the beast originalspolier alertTitle: 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.

Summary:

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.

My thoughts:

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.  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.  General.svg

The story- in a hundred different versions- is out.  Which is your favorite?

Amber

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Sleeping Beauty,Charles Perrault

sleeping beautyWe begin this story with the classic phrase: Once Upon A Time.  (I just love that!)  A king and queen are holding a beautiful baptism for their long awaited daughter.  All the fairies that could be found were invited to be the child’s Godmothers.  The king was able to find seven fairies and each fairy, by custom, could give the princess a gift.

After the baptism, they held a feast for the fairies.  Wouldn’t you know, in the midst of the festivities, an old fairy came in who had not been invited (many had believed she was dead).  The king made her a spot at the table and tried to placate her, but the old fairy was angry.  One of the other fairies, fearing she would give a harmful gift, decided to speak last when it was time to bestow the gifts to the princess.   The princess was graced with beauty, the mind of an angel, perfect dancing and singing and so on.  The old fairy declaired the princess would prick her hand on a spindle and die.  The last fairy, trying to lessen the damage, said that instead of dying she would sleep for one hundred years until a king’s son awakens her.

To avoid this, all spindles were banned.  Fifteen years later the princess found a kind old woman was spinning with her spool and grew curious.  The good lady did not know of the ban (really, that boggles my mind…).  The princess asks to try and pricks herself, falling asleep.  The good fairy was contacted, and came to put the whole castle to sleep save the queen and king.  She then hid the castle behind trees and thorns.

And so 100 years later, a prince comes stumbling upon the castle and investigates.  He touches the princess, waking her (what?  No kiss?).  They talk, fall in love and marry all in a moment.  For two years the prince hides his princess in this castle for fear of his mother, whom it was said, was descended from ogres that eat children.  They had two kids in this time: Aurora (Dawn) and Jour (Day).

When the king dies and the prince becomes king he brings his family out of hiding.    A bit later the new King (Geeze, I wish they had named these guys) went to war with his neighbor and left his mother to govern the kingdom.  The mother, being evil, demands to eat Aurora with a mustard sauce (maybe some fava beans… oops wrong story).  The servant goes to do his queen’s bidding, but cannot.  He instead hides Aurora and kills a small lamb for the queen’s meal.  Eight days later, the queen want Jour.  He hides Jour and gives the queen a small goat.  Later, you guessed it, the queen wants to eat the queen (confusing I know, she wants to eat Aurora’s mother).  When her son came home, she planned to say wolves had eaten them.  Instead of Aurora’s mother, the servant gave the queen a young deer.

Learning of this duplicity later, the queen is furious.  She calls for a huge vat of all things terrible (vipers, toads, serpents…) and planned to throw the young queen and her family into it along with the servant and his wife.  Just as they were about to be thrown in, the king comes home.  In a rage, the old Queen threw herself into the vat.  While the king is sad, his family make him feel better and they lived happily ever after.

So this is the old story, basically.  There is a lovely part about the moral in the end (wait, be patient, take your time…), but here we are.  I enjoyed this rendition, but (as with Pinocchio) I preferred the Disney version.  It was better fleshed out and had a lot more drama.  In the author’s defense, it is only 40 pages in eBook format.  Still, absolutely charming and everyone should read it!

As far as the Adult Content scale goes, I give it a two- there is all that cannibalism talk after all.  Still, this is one I would hand a kid before Pinocchio.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

 

 

 

Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi

Pinnochio

*Spoilers ahead* Over the years I have always wanted to read some of the books that were reinvented into Disney classics.  I started with Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.  We begin our story with Master Antonio, a carpenter who has a unique piece of wood.  Every time he tries to cut into it, it cries out and complains.  When Gepetto comes in, asking for wood to make a puppet our talking wood piece starts trouble by calling him names and inciting mischief.  After two fights, they part as friends with Antonio having given Gepetto the talking wood.

As Gepetto is fashioning his puppet, it cannot keep from being cheeky.  Once it has eyes it gives him odd looks, once it has a mouth it sticks it’s tongue out at him, once it has legs it kicks him.  (Now me, in these days, I would be saying “that thing’s possessed” and getting it into a fire but that would make for a very short story.)  What should happen when Gepetto taught the rascal to walk but that Pinocchio ran clear away.  Once he caught him, Gepetto was furious.  Pinocchio, true to type, threw himself on the ground and threw a fit causing a stir in the crowd that appeared.  So Gepetto is taken prisoner for mistreatment of the child/puppet and Pinocchio is alone and starving.  There seems to be nothing in the house save an egg, but when he cracks it a chick comes out and runs away.  All this time he meets the talking cricket who wants to warn him about rebelling against one’s parents.  He has all sorts of advice, go to school or learn a trade… obviously Pinocchio doesn’t want to hear this.  He has ideas of living the vagabond life and amusing himself.  He eventually throws a hammer at the cricket and flattens it against a wall.  (Very un-Disney).

                Eventually Gepetto comes home and all is forgiven.  He makes Pinocchio clothes, shoes and a hat out of stuff in the house, then goes out and sells his coat so that his boy can have a spelling book.  Well, Pinocchio is very touched by this and determined to be good and go to school.  He has to learn and make his papa proud.  Sadly this does not last long.  Hearing music on the way to school, he follows it to a puppet show.  He sells his book for the price of admittance (it really is much harder to love this Pinocchio).  Through an odd series of events, he ends up disturbing the show and the Fire-eater, the showman, is going to use him for kindling to make up for lost revenue.  Of course Pinocchio repents and cries, softening the heart of the showman.  When he decides to take one of his own puppets instead, Pinocchio is beside himself.  He doesn’t want his friend hurt, so he offers himself up.  Well the showman is so touched that he pardons the puppet and sends Pinocchio on his way with money for his papa. 

                The other adventures are just as crazy.   He gets pulled into a make-money-quick scheme before even getting home.  Then he is lynched only to be saved just in the nick of time.  He gets caught in a trap when trying to take some grapes from a field and is pressed into service as a guard god, which is one thing he does well.  Once he is released from this he goes to find his father.  Gepetto, worried sick has built himself a little boat to look further out for Pinocchio (some time has passed).  The waves take him, and though Pinocchio tries, he cannot get to his father.  Pinocchio washes up on shore and goes to a village to beg for food.  No one will give him any without work and so he stays there starving for some time.  Finally an elderly woman gives him water and offers him a meal if he will help carry her water cans.  After eating, he realizes his savior is the blue fairy that he had known before.  They stay together for a time.  Pinocchio tries hard and does well in school.  He makes lots of friends, but his favorite are the ones his school master and blue fairy don’t want him around. The bad boys lead Pinocchio on an adventure one day.  They skip school claiming to be going to see the huge Dog-fish.  Well, Pinocchio goes as well, but once they reach the coast the seven boys gang up on Pinocchio, angry at him for studying and making them look bad.  One boy ends up badly injured and the others run away.  Pinocchio is caught and accused of hurting Eugene.  He runs away and finally jumps into the sea.

There are more adventures, but this review is getting longer than I thought it would.  In the end, he and his papa are reunited and he works and cared for Gepetto so well that the blue fairy gives him the gift of becoming a real boy at last. 

While I liked this story, Disney’s Pinocchio will always have my heart and I have to say that that is the version I would give my kids if I had any.  I cannot say that this would be suitable for the very young… even if that was the target audience at the time it was written.

Still, check it out for yourself.  I found it to be a great read. 

On the adult content scale I would give it a two for violence. 

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle