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Beauty And The Beast

from The Blue Fairy Book





Once upon a time, in a very far-off country, there
lived a merchant who had been so fortunate in all his
undertakings that he was enormously rich. As he had,
however, six sons and six daughters, he found that his
money was not too much to let them all have everything
they fancied, as they were accustomed to do.

But one day a most unexpected misfortune befell them.
Their house caught fire and was speedily burnt to the
ground, with all the splendid furniture, the books,
pictures, gold, silver, and precious goods it contained;
and this was only the beginning of their troubles. Their
father, who had until this moment prospered in all ways,
suddenly lost every ship he had upon the sea, either by
dint of pirates, shipwreck, or fire. Then he heard that his
clerks in distant countries, whom he trusted entirely, had
proved unfaithful; and at last from great wealth he fell
into the direst poverty.

All that he had left was a little house in a desolate place
at least a hundred leagues from the town in which he had
lived, and to this he was forced to retreat with his
children, who were in despair at the idea of leading such a
different life. Indeed, the daughters at first hoped that
their friends, who had been so numerous while they were
rich, would insist on their staying in their houses now they
no longer possessed one. But they soon found that they
were left alone, and that their former friends even attributed
their misfortunes to their own extravagance, and
showed no intention of offering them any help. So nothing
was left for them but to take their departure to the
c