Beauty And The Beast

: 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
as 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

cottage, which stood in the midst of a dark forest, and

seemed to be the most dismal place upon the face of the

earth. As they were too poor to have any servants, the

girls had to work hard, like peasants, and the sons, for

their part, cultivated the fields to earn their living.

Roughly clothed, and living in the simplest way, the girls

regretted unceasingly the luxuries and amusements of

their former life; only the youngest tried to be brave and

cheerful. She had been as sad as anyone when misfortune

overtook her father, but, soon recovering her natural

gaiety, she set to work to make the best of things, to

amuse her father and brothers as well as she could, and

to try to persuade her sisters to join her in dancing and

singing. But they would do nothing of the sort, and,

because she was not as doleful as themselves, they declared

that this miserable life was all she was fit for. But she

was really far prettier and cleverer than they were; indeed,

she was so lovely that she was always called Beauty.

After two years, when they were all beginning to get used

to their new life, something happened to disturb their

tranquillity. Their father received the news that one of

his ships, which he had believed to be lost, had come

safely into port with a rich cargo. All the sons and daughters

at once thought that their poverty was at an end, and

wanted to set out directly for the town; but their father,

who was more prudent, begged them to wait a little, and,

though it was harvest time, and he could ill be spared,

determined to go himself first, to make inquiries. Only the

youngest daughter had any doubt but that they would

soon again be as rich as they were before, or at least rich

enough to live comfortably in some town where they

would find amusement and gay companions once more.

So they all loaded their father with commissions for

jewels and dresses which it would have taken a fortune

to buy; only Beauty, feeling sure that it was of no use, did

not ask for anything. Her father, noticing her silence,

said: "And what shall I bring for you, Beauty?"

"The only thing I wish for is to see you come home

safely," she answered.

But this only vexed her sisters, who fancied she was

blaming them for having asked for such costly things.

Her father, however, was pleased, but as he thought that

at her age she certainly ought to like pretty presents, he

told her to choose something.

"Well, dear father," she said, "as you insist upon it, I

beg that you will bring me a rose. I have not seen one

since we came here, and I love them so much."

So the merchant set out and reached the town as

quickly as possible, but only to find that his former

companions, believing him to be dead, had divided between

them the goods which the ship had brought; and after six

months of trouble and expense he found himself as poor

as when he started, having been able to recover only just

enough to pay the cost of his journey. To make matters

worse, he was obliged to leave the town in the most

terrible weather, so that by the time he was within a few

leagues of his home he was almost exhausted with cold

and fatigue. Though he knew it would take some hours

to get through the forest, he was so anxious to be at his

journey's end that he resolved to go on; but night overtook

him, and the deep snow and bitter frost made it

impossible for his horse to carry him any further. Not a

house was to be seen; the only shelter he could get was

the hollow trunk of a great tree, and there he crouched all

the night which seemed to him the longest he had ever

known. In spite of his weariness the howling of the

wolves kept him awake, and even when at last the day

broke he was not much better off, for the falling snow had

covered up every path, and he did not know which way

to turn.

At length he made out some sort of track, and though

at the beginning it was so rough and slippery that he fell

down more than once, it presently became easier, and led

him into an avenue of trees which ended in a splendid

castle. It seemed to the merchant very strange that no

snow had fallen in the avenue, which was entirely

composed of orange trees, covered with flowers and fruit.

When he reached the first court of the castle he saw before

him a flight of agate steps, and went up them, and passed

through several splendidly furnished rooms. The pleasant

warmth of the air revived him, and he felt very hungry;

but there seemed to be nobody in all this vast and splendid

palace whom he could ask to give him something to

eat. Deep silence reigned everywhere, and at last, tired

of roaming through empty rooms and galleries, he stopped

in a room smaller than the rest, where a clear fire was

burning and a couch was drawn up closely to it. Thinking

that this must be prepared for someone who was

expected, he sat down to wait till he should come, and

very soon fell into a sweet sleep.

When his extreme hunger wakened him after several

hours, he was still alone; but a little table, upon which

was a good dinner, had been drawn up close to him, and,

as he had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours, he lost no

time in beginning his meal, hoping that he might soon

have an opportunity of thanking his considerate entertainer,

whoever it might be. But no one appeared, and

even after another long sleep, from which he awoke

completely refreshed, there was no sign of anybody, though

a fresh meal of dainty cakes and fruit was prepared upon

the little table at his elbow. Being naturally timid, the

silence began to terrify him, and he resolved to search

once more through all the rooms; but it was of no use.

Not even a servant was to be seen; there was no sign of

life in the palace! He began to wonder what he should do,

and to amuse himself by pretending that all the treasures

he saw were his own, and considering how he would

divide them among his children. Then he went down into

the garden, and though it was winter everywhere else,

here the sun shone, and the birds sang, and the flowers

bloomed, and the air was soft and sweet. The merchant,

in ecstacies with all he saw and heard, said to himself:

"All this must be meant for me. I will go this minute

and bring my children to share all these delights."

In spite of being so cold and weary when he reached the

castle, he had taken his horse to the stable and fed it.

Now he thought he would saddle it for his homeward

journey, and he turned down the path which led to the

stable. This path had a hedge of roses on each side of it,

and the merchant thought he had never seen or smelt

such exquisite flowers. They reminded him of his promise

to Beauty, and he stopped and had just gathered one to

take to her when he was startled by a strange noise behind

him. Turning round, he saw a frightful Beast, which

seemed to be very angry and said, in a terrible voice:

"Who told you that you might gather my roses? Was

it not enough that I allowed you to be in my palace and

was kind to you? This is the way you show your gratitude,

by stealing my flowers! But your insolence shall

not go unpunished." The merchant, terrified by these

furious words, dropped the fatal rose, and, throwing

himself on his knees, cried: "Pardon me, noble sir. I am

truly grateful to you for your hospitality, which was so

magnificent that I could not imagine that you would be

offended by my taking such a little thing as a rose." But

the Beast's anger was not lessened by this speech.

"You are very ready with excuses and flattery," he

cried; "but that will not save you from the death you


"Alas!" thought the merchant, "if my daughter

could only know what danger her rose has brought me


And in despair he began to tell the Beast all his

misfortunes, and the reason of his journey, not forgetting to

mention Beauty's request.

"A king's ransom would hardly have procured all that

my other daughters asked." he said: "but I thought that

I might at least take Beauty her rose. I beg you to forgive

me, for you see I meant no harm."

The Beast considered for a moment, and then he said,

in a less furious tone:

"I will forgive you on one condition--that is, that you

will give me one of your daughters."

"Ah!" cried the merchant, "if I were cruel enough to

buy my own life at the expense of one of my children's,

what excuse could I invent to bring her here?"

"No excuse would be necessary," answered the Beast.

"If she comes at all she must come willingly. On no other

condition will I have her. See if any one of them is

courageous enough, and loves you well enough to come

and save your life. You seem to be an honest man, so I

will trust you to go home. I give you a month to see if

either of your daughters will come back with you and stay

here, to let you go free. If neither of them is willing, you

must come alone, after bidding them good-by for ever,

for then you will belong to me. And do not imagine that

you can hide from me, for if you fail to keep your word

I will come and fetch you!" added the Beast grimly.

The merchant accepted this proposal, though he did

not really think any of his daughters could be persuaded

to come. He promised to return at the time appointed,

and then, anxious to escape from the presence of the

Beast, he asked permission to set off at once. But the

Beast answered that he could not go until next day.

"Then you will find a horse ready for you," he said.

"Now go and eat your supper, and await my orders."

The poor merchant, more dead than alive, went back

to his room, where the most delicious supper was already

served on the little table which was drawn up before a

blazing fire. But he was too terrified to eat, and only

tasted a few of the dishes, for fear the Beast should be

angry if he did not obey his orders. When he had finished

he heard a great noise in the next room, which he knew

meant that the Beast was coming. As he could do nothing

to escape his visit, the only thing that remained was to

seem as little afraid as possible; so when the Beast

appeared and asked roughly if he had supped well, the

merchant answered humbly that he had, thanks to his

host's kindness. Then the Beast warned him to remember

their agreement, and to prepare his daughter exactly for

what she had to expect.

"Do not get up to-morrow," he added, "until you see

the sun and hear a golden bell ring. Then you will find

your breakfast waiting for you here, and the horse you

are to ride will be ready in the courtyard. He will also

bring you back again when you come with your daughter

a month hence. Farewell. Take a rose to Beauty, and

remember your promise!"

The merchant was only too glad when the Beast went

away, and though he could not sleep for sadness, he lay

down until the sun rose. Then, after a hasty breakfast,

he went to gather Beauty's rose, and mounted his horse,

which carried him off so swiftly that in an instant he had

lost sight of the palace, and he was still wrapped in

gloomy thoughts when it stopped before the door of the


His sons and daughters, who had been very uneasy at

his long absence, rushed to meet him, eager to know the

result of his journey, which, seeing him mounted upon a

splendid horse and wrapped in a rich mantle, they

supposed to be favorable. He hid the truth from them at

first, only saying sadly to Beauty as he gave her the rose:

"Here is what you asked me to bring you; you little

know what it has cost."

But this excited their curiosity so greatly that presently

he told them his adventures from beginning to end, and

then they were all very unhappy. The girls lamented

loudly over their lost hopes, and the sons declared that

their father should not return to this terrible castle, and

began to make plans for killing the Beast if it should

come to fetch him. But he reminded them that he had

promised to go back. Then the girls were very angry

with Beauty, and said it was all her fault, and that if she

had asked for something sensible this would never have

happened, and complained bitterly that they should have

to suffer for her folly.

Poor Beauty, much distressed, said to them:

"I have, indeed, caused this misfortune, but I assure

you I did it innocently. Who could have guessed that to

ask for a rose in the middle of summer would cause so

much misery? But as I did the mischief it is only just

that I should suffer for it. I will therefore go back with

my father to keep his promise."

At first nobody would hear of this arrangement, and

her father and brothers, who loved her dearly, declared

that nothing should make them let her go; but Beauty

was firm. As the time drew near she divided all her little

possessions between her sisters, and said good-by to

everything she loved, and when the fatal day came she

encouraged and cheered her father as they mounted

together the horse which had brought him back. It seemed

to fly rather than gallop, but so smoothly that Beauty was

not frightened; indeed, she would have enjoyed the journey

if she had not feared what might happen to her at the

end of it. Her father still tried to persuade her to go back,

but in vain. While they were talking the night fell, and

then, to their great surprise, wonderful colored lights

began to shine in all directions, and splendid fireworks

blazed out before them; all the forest was illuminated by

them, and even felt pleasantly warm, though it had been

bitterly cold before. This lasted until they reached the

avenue of orange trees, where were statues holding flaming

torches, and when they got nearer to the palace they

saw that it was illuminated from the roof to the ground,

and music sounded softly from the courtyard. "The

Beast must be very hungry," said Beauty, trying to

laugh, "if he makes all this rejoicing over the arrival of

his prey."

But, in spite of her anxiety, she could not help admiring

all the wonderful things she saw.

The horse stopped at the foot of the flight of steps

leading to the terrace, and when they had dismounted her

father led her to the little room he had been in before,

where they found a splendid fire burning, and the table

daintily spread with a delicious supper.

The merchant knew that this was meant for them, and

Beauty, who was rather less frightened now that she had

passed through so many rooms and seen nothing of the

Beast, was quite willing to begin, for her long ride had

made her very hungry. But they had hardly finished

their meal when the noise of the Beast's footsteps was

heard approaching, and Beauty clung to her father in

terror, which became all the greater when she saw how

frightened he was. But when the Beast really appeared,

though she trembled at the sight of him, she made a great

effort to hide her terror, and saluted him respectfully.

This evidently pleased the Beast. After looking at her

he said, in a tone that might have struck terror into the

boldest heart, though he did not seem to be angry:

"Good-evening, old man. Good-evening, Beauty."

The merchant was too terrified to reply, but Beauty

answered sweetly: "Good-evening, Beast."

"Have you come willingly?" asked the Beast. "Will

you be content to stay here when your father goes away?"

Beauty answered bravely that she was quite prepared

to stay.

"I am pleased with you," said the Beast. "As you have

come of your own accord, you may stay. As for you, old

man," he added, turning to the merchant, "at sunrise

to-morrow you will take your departure. When the bell

rings get up quickly and eat your breakfast, and you will

find the same horse waiting to take you home; but remember

that you must never expect to see my palace again."

Then turning to Beauty, he said:

"Take your father into the next room, and help him to

choose everything you think your brothers and sisters

would like to have. You will find two traveling-trunks

there; fill them as full as you can. It is only just that you

should send them something very precious as a remembrance

of yourself."

Then he went away, after saying, "Good-by, Beauty;

good-by, old man"; and though Beauty was beginning to

think with great dismay of her father's departure, she was

afraid to disobey the Beast's orders; and they went into

the next room, which had shelves and cupboards all round

it. They were greatly surprised at the riches it contained.

There were splendid dresses fit for a queen, with all the

ornaments that were to be worn with them; and when

Beauty opened the cupboards she was quite dazzled by

the gorgeous jewels that lay in heaps upon every shelf.

After choosing a vast quantity, which she divided between

her sisters--for she had made a heap of the wonderful

dresses for each of them--she opened the last chest,

which was full of gold.

"I think, father," she said, "that, as the gold will be

more useful to you, we had better take out the other

things again, and fill the trunks with it." So they did

this; but the more they put in the more room there seemed

to be, and at last they put back all the jewels and dresses

they had taken out, and Beauty even added as many

more of the jewels as she could carry at once; and then

the trunks were not too full, but they were so heavy that

an elephant could not have carried them!

"The Beast was mocking us," cried the merchant; "he

must have pretended to give us all these things, knowing

that I could not carry them away."

"Let us wait and see," answered Beauty. "I cannot

believe that he meant to deceive us. All we can do is to

fasten them up and leave them ready."

So they did this and returned to the little room, where,

to their astonishment, they found breakfast ready. The

merchant ate his with a good appetite, as the Beast's

generosity made him believe that he might perhaps venture

to come back soon and see Beauty. But she felt sure

that her father was leaving her for ever, so she was very

sad when the bell rang sharply for the second time, and

warned them that the time had come for them to part.

They went down into the courtyard, where two horses

were waiting, one loaded with the two trunks, the other

for him to ride. They were pawing the ground in their

impatience to start, and the merchant was forced to bid

Beauty a hasty farewell; and as soon as he was mounted

he went off at such a pace that she lost sight of him in an

instant. Then Beauty began to cry, and wandered sadly

back to her own room. But she soon found that she was

very sleepy, and as she had nothing better to do she lay

down and instantly fell asleep. And then she dreamed

that she was walking by a brook bordered with trees, and

lamenting her sad fate, when a young prince, handsomer

than anyone she had ever seen, and with a voice that

went straight to her heart, came and said to her, "Ah,

Beauty! you are not so unfortunate as you suppose. Here

you will be rewarded for all you have suffered elsewhere.

Your every wish shall be gratified. Only try to find me

out, no matter how I may be disguised, as I love you

dearly, and in making me happy you will find your own

happiness. Be as true-hearted as you are beautiful, and

we shall have nothing left to wish for."

"What can I do, Prince, to make you happy?" said


"Only be grateful," he answered, "and do not trust too

much to your eyes. And, above all, do not desert me

until you have saved me from my cruel misery."

After this she thought she found herself in a room with

a stately and beautiful lady, who said to her:

"Dear Beauty, try not to regret all you have left

behind you, for you are destined to a better fate. Only do

not let yourself be deceived by appearances."

Beauty found her dreams so interesting that she was in

no hurry to awake, but presently the clock roused her by

calling her name softly twelve times, and then she got up

and found her dressing-table set out with everything she

could possibly want; and when her toilet was finished she

found dinner was waiting in the room next to hers. But

dinner does not take very long when you are all by yourself,

and very soon she sat down cosily in the corner of a

sofa, and began to think about the charming Prince she

had seen in her dream.

"He said I could make him happy," said Beauty to


"It seems, then, that this horrible Beast keeps him a

prisoner. How can I set him free? I wonder why they

both told me not to trust to appearances? I don't understand

it. But, after all, it was only a dream, so why

should I trouble myself about it? I had better go and

find something to do to amuse myself."

So she got up and began to explore some of the many

rooms of the palace.

The first she entered was lined with mirrors, and Beauty

saw herself reflected on every side, and thought she had

never seen such a charming room. Then a bracelet which

was hanging from a chandelier caught her eye, and on

taking it down she was greatly surprised to find that it

held a portrait of her unknown admirer, just as she had

seen him in her dream. With great delight she slipped

the bracelet on her arm, and went on into a gallery of

pictures, where she soon found a portrait of the same

handsome Prince, as large as life, and so well painted that

as she studied it he seemed to smile kindly at her. Tearing

herself away from the portrait at last, she passed through

into a room which contained every musical instrument

under the sun, and here she amused herself for a long

while in trying some of them, and singing until she was

tired. The next room was a library, and she saw everything

she had ever wanted to read, as well as everything

she had read, and it seemed to her that a whole lifetime

would not be enough to even read the names of the books,

there were so many. By this time it was growing dusk,

and wax candles in diamond and ruby candlesticks were

beginning to light themselves in every room.

Beauty found her supper served just at the time she

preferred to have it, but she did not see anyone or hear

a sound, and, though her father had warned her that she

would be alone, she began to find it rather dull.

But presently she heard the Beast coming, and wondered

tremblingly if he meant to eat her up now.

However, as he did not seem at all ferocious, and only

said gruffly:

"Good-evening, Beauty," she answered cheerfully and

managed to conceal her terror. Then the Beast asked her

how she had been amusing herself, and she told him all

the rooms she had seen.

Then he asked if she thought she could be happy in his

palace; and Beauty answered that everything was so

beautiful that she would be very hard to please if she

could not be happy. And after about an hour's talk

Beauty began to think that the Beast was not nearly so

terrible as she had supposed at first. Then he got up to

leave her, and said in his gruff voice:

"Do you love me, Beauty? Will you marry me?"

"Oh! what shall I say?" cried Beauty, for she was

afraid to make the Beast angry by refusing.

"Say 'yes' or 'no' without fear," he replied.

"Oh! no, Beast," said Beauty hastily.

"Since you will not, good-night, Beauty," he said.

And she answered, "Good-night, Beast," very glad to

find that her refusal had not provoked him. And after

he was gone she was very soon in bed and asleep, and

dreaming of her unknown Prince. She thought he came

and said to her:

"Ah, Beauty! why are you so unkind to me? I fear I

am fated to be unhappy for many a long day still."

And then her dreams changed, but the charming Prince

figured in them all; and when morning came her first

thought was to look at the portrait, and see if it was really

like him, and she found that it certainly was.

This morning she decided to amuse herself in the garden,

for the sun shone, and all the fountains were playing;

but she was astonished to find that every place was

familiar to her, and presently she came to the brook where

the myrtle trees were growing where she had first met the

Prince in her dream, and that made her think more than

ever that he must be kept a prisoner by the Beast. When

she was tired she went back to the palace, and found a

new room full of materials for every kind of work--ribbons

to make into bows, and silks to work into flowers.

Then there was an aviary full of rare birds, which were so

tame that they flew to Beauty as soon as they saw her,

and perched upon her shoulders and her head.

"Pretty little creatures," she said, "how I wish that

your cage was nearer to my room, that I might often hear

you sing!"

So saying she opened a door, and found, to her delight,

that it led into her own room, though she had thought it

was quite the other side of the palace.

There were more birds in a room farther on, parrots

and cockatoos that could talk, and they greeted Beauty

by name; indeed, she found them so entertaining that she

took one or two back to her room, and they talked to her

while she was at supper; after which the Beast paid her

his usual visit, and asked her the same questions as before,

and then with a gruff "good-night" he took his departure,

and Beauty went to bed to dream of her mysterious

Prince. The days passed swiftly in different

amusements, and after a while Beauty found out another

strange thing in the palace, which often pleased her when

she was tired of being alone. There was one room which

she had not noticed particularly; it was empty, except

that under each of the windows stood a very comfortable

chair; and the first time she had looked out of the window

it had seemed to her that a black curtain prevented her

from seeing anything outside. But the second time she

went into the room, happening to be tired, she sat down

in one of the chairs, when instantly the curtain was rolled

aside, and a most amusing pantomime was acted before

her; there were dances, and colored lights, and music, and

pretty dresses, and it was all so gay that Beauty was in

ecstacies. After that she tried the other seven windows

in turn, and there was some new and surprising entertainment

to be seen from each of them, so that Beauty never

could feel lonely any more. Every evening after supper

the Beast came to see her, and always before saying

good-night asked her in his terrible voice:

"Beauty, will you marry me?"

And it seemed to Beauty, now she understood him

better, that when she said, "No, Beast," he went away

quite sad. But her happy dreams of the handsome young

Prince soon made her forget the poor Beast, and the only

thing that at all disturbed her was to be constantly told

to distrust appearances, to let her heart guide her, and

not her eyes, and many other equally perplexing things,

which, consider as she would, she could not understand.

So everything went on for a long time, until at last,

happy as she was, Beauty began to long for the sight of

her father and her brothers and sisters; and one night,

seeing her look very sad, the Beast asked her what was

the matter. Beauty had quite ceased to be afraid of him.

Now she knew that he was really gentle in spite of his

ferocious looks and his dreadful voice. So she answered

that she was longing to see her home once more. Upon

hearing this the Beast seemed sadly distressed, and cried


"Ah! Beauty, have you the heart to desert an unhappy

Beast like this? What more do you want to make you

happy? Is it because you hate me that you want to


"No, dear Beast," answered Beauty softly, "I do not

hate you, and I should be very sorry never to see you any

more, but I long to see my father again. Only let me go

for two months, and I promise to come back to you and

stay for the rest of my life."

The Beast, who had been sighing dolefully while she

spoke, now replied:

"I cannot refuse you anything you ask, even though it

should cost me my life. Take the four boxes you will find

in the room next to your own, and fill them with everything

you wish to take with you. But remember your

promise and come back when the two months are over,

or you may have cause to repent it, for if you do not

come in good time you will find your faithful Beast dead.

You will not need any chariot to bring you back. Only

say good-by to all your brothers and sisters the night

before you come away, and when you have gone to bed

turn this ring round upon your finger and say firmly: 'I

wish to go back to my palace and see my Beast again.'

Good-night, Beauty. Fear nothing, sleep peacefully, and

before long you shall see your father once more."

As soon as Beauty was alone she hastened to fill the

boxes with all the rare and precious things she saw about

her, and only when she was tired of heaping things into

them did they seem to be full.

Then she went to bed, but could hardly sleep for joy.

And when at last she did begin to dream of her beloved

Prince she was grieved to see him stretched upon a grassy

bank, sad and weary, and hardly like himself.

"What is the matter?" she cried.

He looked at her reproachfully, and said:

"How can you ask me, cruel one? Are you not leaving

me to my death perhaps?"

"Ah! don't be so sorrowful," cried Beauty; "I am only

going to assure my father that I am safe and happy. I

have promised the Beast faithfully that I will come back,

and he would die of grief if I did not keep my word!"

"What would that matter to you?" said the Prince

"Surely you would not care?"

"Indeed, I should be ungrateful if I did not care for

such a kind Beast," cried Beauty indignantly. "I would

die to save him from pain. I assure you it is not his fault

that he is so ugly."

Just then a strange sound woke her--someone was

speaking not very far away; and opening her eyes she

found herself in a room she had never seen before, which

was certainly not nearly so splendid as those she was

used to in the Beast's palace. Where could she be? She

got up and dressed hastily, and then saw that the boxes

she had packed the night before were all in the room.

While she was wondering by what magic the Beast had

transported them and herself to this strange place she

suddenly heard her father's voice, and rushed out and

greeted him joyfully. Her brothers and sisters were all

astonished at her appearance, as they had never expected

to see her again, and there was no end to the questions

they asked her. She had also much to hear about what

had happened to them while she was away, and of her

father's journey home. But when they heard that she had

only come to be with them for a short time, and then

must go back to the Beast's palace for ever, they lamented

loudly. Then Beauty asked her father what he thought

could be the meaning of her strange dreams, and why the

Prince constantly begged her not to trust to appearances.

After much consideration, he answered: "You tell me

yourself that the Beast, frightful as he is, loves you dearly,

and deserves your love and gratitude for his gentleness

and kindness; I think the Prince must mean you to understand

that you ought to reward him by doing as he wishes

you to, in spite of his ugliness."

Beauty could not help seeing that this seemed very

probable; still, when she thought of her dear Prince who

was so handsome, she did not feel at all inclined to marry

the Beast. At any rate, for two months she need not

decide, but could enjoy herself with her sisters. But

though they were rich now, and lived in town again, and

had plenty of acquaintances, Beauty found that nothing

amused her very much; and she often thought of the

palace, where she was so happy, especially as at home she

never once dreamed of her dear Prince, and she felt quite

sad without him.

Then her sisters seemed to have got quite used to being

without her, and even found her rather in the way, so

she would not have been sorry when the two months

were over but for her father and brothers, who begged her

to stay, and seemed so grieved at the thought of her

departure that she had not the courage to say good-by to

them. Every day when she got up she meant to say it at

night, and when night came she put it off again, until at

last she had a dismal dream which helped her to make

up her mind. She thought she was wandering in a lonely

path in the palace gardens, when she heard groans which

seemed to come from some bushes hiding the entrance of

a cave, and running quickly to see what could be the

matter, she found the Beast stretched out upon his side,

apparently dying. He reproached her faintly with being

the cause of his distress, and at the same moment a

stately lady appeared, and said very gravely:

"Ah! Beauty, you are only just in time to save his life.

See what happens when people do not keep their promises!

If you had delayed one day more, you would have

found him dead."

Beauty was so terrified by this dream that the next

morning she announced her intention of going back at

once, and that very night she said good-by to her father

and all her brothers and sisters, and as soon as she was in

bed she turned her ring round upon her finger, and said

firmly, "I wish to go back to my palace and see my Beast

again," as she had been told to do.

Then she fell asleep instantly, and only woke up to hear

the clock saying "Beauty, Beauty" twelve times in its

musical voice, which told her at once that she was really

in the palace once more. Everything was just as before,

and her birds were so glad to see her! But Beauty thought

she had never known such a long day, for she was so

anxious to see the Beast again that she felt as if suppertime

would never come.

But when it did come and no Beast appeared she was

really frightened; so, after listening and waiting for a long

time, she ran down into the garden to search for him. Up

and down the paths and avenues ran poor Beauty, calling

him in vain, for no one answered, and not a trace of him

could she find; until at last, quite tired, she stopped for a

minute's rest, and saw that she was standing opposite the

shady path she had seen in her dream. She rushed down

it, and, sure enough, there was the cave, and in it lay the

Beast--asleep, as Beauty thought. Quite glad to have

found him, she ran up and stroked his head, but, to her

horror, he did not move or open his eyes.

"Oh! he is dead; and it is all my fault," said Beauty,

crying bitterly.

But then, looking at him again, she fancied he still

breathed, and, hastily fetching some water from the

nearest fountain, she sprinkled it over his face, and,

to her great delight, he began to revive.

"Oh! Beast, how you frightened me!" she cried. "I

never knew how much I loved you until just now, when

I feared I was too late to save your life."

"Can you really love such an ugly creature as I am?"

said the Beast faintly. "Ah! Beauty, you only came just

in time. I was dying because I thought you had forgotten

your promise. But go back now and rest, I shall see you

again by and by."

Beauty, who had half expected that he would be angry

with her, was reassured by his gentle voice, and went

back to the palace, where supper was awaiting her; and

afterward the Beast came in as usual, and talked about

the time she had spent with her father, asking if she had

enjoyed herself, and if they had all been very glad to see


Beauty answered politely, and quite enjoyed telling

him all that had happened to her. And when at last the

time came for him to go, and he asked, as he had so often

asked before, "Beauty, will you marry me?"

She answered softly, "Yes, dear Beast."

As she spoke a blaze of light sprang up before the

windows of the palace; fireworks crackled and guns

banged, and across the avenue of orange trees, in letters

all made of fire-flies, was written: "Long live the Prince

and his Bride."

Turning to ask the Beast what it could all mean,

Beauty found that he had disappeared, and in his place

stood her long-loved Prince! At the same moment the

wheels of a chariot were heard upon the terrace, and two

ladies entered the room. One of them Beauty recognized

as the stately lady she had seen in her dreams; the other

was also so grand and queenly that Beauty hardly knew

which to greet first.

But the one she already knew said to her companion:

"Well, Queen, this is Beauty, who has had the courage

to rescue your son from the terrible enchantment. They

love one another, and only your consent to their marriage

is wanting to make them perfectly happy."

"I consent with all my heart," cried the Queen. "How

can I ever thank you enough, charming girl, for having

restored my dear son to his natural form?"

And then she tenderly embraced Beauty and the

Prince, who had meanwhile been greeting the Fairy and

receiving her congratulations.

"Now," said the Fairy to Beauty, "I suppose you would

like me to send for all your brothers and sisters to dance

at your wedding?"

And so she did, and the marriage was celebrated the

very next day with the utmost splendor, and Beauty and

the Prince lived happily ever after.[1]