Beauty and the BeastA wealthy merchant falls into penury after his ships founder at sea. He moves his family to the countryside to live a more frugal lifestyle. His six daughters and six sons resent the loss of their comfortable life, their social engagements, and their many admirers. His youngest daughter, Beauty, is the only one to make the best of the circumstances, throwing herself into the daily upkeep of the home in order to keep the family clean and fed. Her older sisters, who are less beautiful and less dutiful, resent her, and they mock her for contenting herself with menial work. Then, the merchant receives a welcome surprise: One of his ships, thought to be lost at sea, has come safely to harbor with its full cargo.
Beauty and the Beast
Variants of the tale are known across Europe. According to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon , the story originated around 4, years ago. A widower merchant lives in a mansion with his twelve children six sons and six daughters. All his daughters are very beautiful, but the youngest, Beauty, is the most lovely, as well as kind, well-read, and pure of heart; while the elder sisters, in contrast, are cruel, selfish, vain, and spoiled. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea, which sinks most of his merchant fleet.
While similar folktales have been kicking around for thousands of years , the story that most readers know comes directly from a novel by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, first published in When Beauty moves in, a troupe of performing monkeys and a chorus of talking parrots become her servants. Food, clothing, and jewels are magically provided for her. When she returns to the castle, Beauty finds that the Beast has fallen sick, and her concern makes her realize that she does feel affection for her captor. But the prince vanishes from her dreams, and when she awakens the next morning, the transformed Beast is lying beside her. When he rejected her advances, she transformed him into the Beast.
Here we cast our minds back to the aristocratic salons of 17 th century France. In this original novella length tale, the back-story of both Belle and the Beast is given. The Beast was a young prince who lost his father, and whose mother had to wage war to defend his kingdom. The queen left him in care of an evil fairy, who tried to seduce him when he became an adult; when he refused, she transformed him into a beast. Beaumont pared down the list of characters of Beauty and Beast and simplified the tale to transform it into a quintessential fairy tale. It is thought by some scholars that Beauty and the Beast story may have a much longer history. It could be that it has roots in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, t he ancient chronicle from the Latin novel Metamorphoses.
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There was once a very rich merchant, who had six children, three sons, and three daughters; being a man of sense, he spared no cost for their education, but gave them all kinds of masters. His daughters were extremely handsome, especially the youngest. When she was little everybody admired her, and called her "The little Beauty;" so that, as she grew up, she still went by the name of Beauty, which made her sisters very jealous. The youngest, as she was handsomer, was also better than her sisters. The two eldest had a great deal of pride, because they were rich.