Beauty And The Beast







There was once a merchant who had been very rich at one time, but who,

having had heavy losses, was compelled to retire to a little cottage in

the country; where he lived with his three daughters. The two elder ones

were very much discontented at their poverty, and were always grumbling

and making complaints. But the youngest one, who was called Beauty, and

who was as amiable as she was handsome, tried all she could to comfort

her father and make his home happy.



Once, when he was going on a journey to try and mend his affairs, he

called them around him, and asked them what he should bring them when he

returned. The two elder ones wanted each a number of nice presents; but

Beauty, kissing him sweetly, said she would be content with a rose. So

when the merchant was on his way back, he came to an elegant garden, of

which the gate stood open; and thinking of Beauty's rose, he went in,

and plucking a beautiful one, prepared to proceed on his journey.



The Merchant and the Beast. The Merchant and the Beast.


As he turned to go, he saw a hideous Beast coming towards him, armed

with a sword! This terrible creature reproached him for stealing his

flowers, of which he was very choice; and threatened to kill him on the

spot! The merchant begged for his life, and said, that he had only taken

“a single one to please his daughter Beauty.” On this, the beast said

gruffly, “well, I will let you off, if you will bring one of your

daughters here in your place. But she must come here willingly, and

meanwhile you may stay and rest in my palace until to-morrow.” But, as

you may well believe, the poor father did not feel much like eating or

sleeping; although everything was done for his comfort, and, in the

morning, the Beast sent him home upon a beautiful horse. But though the

birds sang around him, and the sun shone brightly, and all nature was

smiling on his path, the heart of the poor merchant was heavy, when he

thought of his beloved daughters.



When he came near his home, his children came forth to meet him; but,

seeing the sadness of his face, and his eyes filled with tears, they

asked him the cause of his trouble. Giving the rose to Beauty, he told

her all. The two elder sisters laid all the blame upon Beauty; who cried

bitterly, and said that as she was the cause of her father's

misfortune, she alone must suffer for it, and was quite willing to go.

So Beauty got ready for the journey at once. The father (who meant to

return to the Beast himself, after embracing his children) tried to

dissuade her, but in vain; and so the two set out together for the

Beast's palace, much to the secret joy of the envious sisters.



When they arrived at the palace, the doors opened of themselves, sweet

music was heard, and they found an elegant supper prepared. As soon as

they had refreshed themselves, the Beast entered, and said in a mild

tone, “Beauty, did you come here willingly to take the place of your

father?” “Yes, sir,” she answered in a sweet but trembling voice. “So

much the better for you,” replied the Beast. “Your father can stay here

to-night, but he must go home in the morning.” The Beast then retired,

giving Beauty so kind a look as he went out, that she felt quite

encouraged. The next morning, when her father left her, she cheered his

heart by telling him that she thought she could soften the Beast's

heart, and induce him to spare her life. After he was gone, she entered

an elegant room, on the door of which was written, in letters of gold,



“Beauty's room.”



Lying on the table was a portrait of herself, set in gold and diamonds,

and on the wall, these words: “Beauty is Queen here; all things will

obey her.
” Her meals were served to the sound of music; and at

supper-time, the Beast after knocking timidly, would walk in and talk so

amiably, that she soon lost all fear of him; and once when he failed to

come, felt quite disappointed! At last, one night, he said to her, “Am I

so very ugly?” “Yes, indeed, you are,” said Beauty, “but you are so

kind and generous, that I do not mind your looks.” “Will you marry me,

then, dear Beauty?” said the poor Beast, with a look of such eager

entreaty in his eyes, that Beauty's heart melted within her, and she was

upon the point of saying “Yes!”



Beauty takes her Fathers place.


But happening to look towards him, at that moment her courage failed

her, and, turning away her head, she replied softly, “Oh! do not ask

me.” The Beast then bade her good-night, with a sad voice, and went away

sighing as if his heart would break. The palace was full of rooms,

containing the most beautiful objects. In one room she saw a numerous

troupe of monkeys, of all sizes and colors. They came to meet her,

making her very low bows, and treating her with the greatest respect.

Beauty was much pleased with them, and asked them to show her about the

palace. Instantly, two tall and graceful apes, in rich dresses, placed

themselves, with great gravity, one on each side of her, while two

sprightly little monkeys held up her train as pages. And from this time

forth they waited upon her wherever she went, with all the attention and

respect, that officers of a royal palace are accustomed to pay to the

greatest Queens and Princesses.



Am I so very ugly.


In fact, Beauty was the Queen of this splendid palace. She had only to

wish for anything to have it; and she would have been quite contented

if she could have had some company; for, except at supper-time, she was

always alone! Then the Beast would come in and behave so agreeably, that

she liked him more and more. And when he would say to her “dear Beauty

will you marry me?” in his soft and tender way, she could hardly find it

in her heart to refuse him.



Now, although Beauty had everything that heart could wish, she could not

forget her father and sisters. At last, one evening she begged so hard

to go home for a visit, that the Beast consented to her wish, on her

promising not to stay more than two months. He then gave her a ring,

telling her to place it on her dressing-table, when she wished either to

go or return; and showed her a wardrobe filled with the most elegant

clothes, as well as a quantity of splendid presents for her father and

sisters.



The poor Beast was more sad than ever, after he had given his consent to

her absence. It seemed to him as if he could not look at her enough, nor

muster courage to leave her. She tried to cheer him, saying, “Be of good

heart, Beauty will soon return,” but nothing seemed to comfort him, and

he went sadly away.



Beauty felt very badly when she saw how much the poor Beast suffered.

She tried, however, to dismiss him from her thoughts, and to think only

of the joy of seeing her dear father and sisters on the morrow. Before

retiring to rest, she took good care to place the ring upon the table,

and great was her joy, on awaking the next morning, to find herself in

her father's house, with the clothes and gifts from the palace at her

bed-side!



At first she hardly knew where she was, for everything looked strange

to her; but soon she heard the voice of her father, and, rushing out of

the room, threw her loving arms around his neck. Beauty then related all

the kindness and delicacy of the Beast toward her, and in return

discovered that he had been as liberal to her father and sisters. He

had given them the large and handsome house in which they now lived,

with an income sufficient to keep them in comfort.



For a long time Beauty was happy with her father and sisters; but she

soon discovered that her sisters were jealous of her, and envied her the

fine dresses and jewels the Beast had given her. She often thought

tenderly of the poor Beast, alone in his palace; and as the two months

were now over, she resolved to return to him as she had promised. But

her father could not bear to lose her again, and coaxed her to stay with

him a few days longer; which she at last consented to do, with many

misgivings, when she thought of her broken promise to the lonely beast.

At last, on the night before she intended to return, she dreamed that

she saw the unhappy beast lying dead on the ground in the palace garden!

She awoke, all trembling with terror and remorse, and, leaving a note on

the table for her dear father; placed the ring within her bosom, and

wished herself back again in the palace. As soon as daylight appeared,

she called her attendants, and searched the palace from top to bottom.

But the Beast was nowhere to be found! She then ran to the garden, and there, in the very spot that she had seen in her dream, lay the poor

Beast, gasping and senseless upon the ground; and seeming to be in the

agonies of death! At this pitiful sight, Beauty clasped her hands, fell

upon her knees, and reproached herself bitterly for having caused his

death.



“Alas! poor Beast!” she said, “I am the cause of this. How can I ever

forgive myself for my unkindness to you, who were so good and

generous to me, and mine, and never even reproached me for my cruelty?”



The Beast Dying.


She then ran to a fountain for cold water, which she sprinkled over him,

her tears meanwhile falling fast upon his hideous face. In a few moments

the Beast opened his eyes, and said, “now, that I see you once more, I

shall die contented.” “No, no,!” she cried, “you shall not die; you

shall live, and Beauty will be your faithful wife!” The moment she

uttered these words, a dazzling light shone around—the palace was

brilliantly lighted up, and the air was filled with delicious music.



In place of the terrible and dying Beast, she saw a young and handsome

Prince, who knelt at her feet, and told her that he had been condemned

to wear the form of a frightful Beast, until a beautiful girl should

love him in spite of his ugliness! At the same moment, the Apes, and the

Monkeys, who had been in attendance upon her, were transformed into

elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen, who ranged themselves at a

respectful distance, and performed their duties, as Gentlemen, and Maids

of Honor. The grateful Prince now claimed Beauty for his wife; and she who had loved him, even under the form of the Beast, was now tenfold

more in love with him, as he appeared in his rightful form. So the very

next day, Beauty and the Prince were married with great splendor, and

lived happily together for ever after.







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