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Beauty and the Beast
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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.
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. They gave themselves ridiculous airs, and would not visit other merchants' daughters, nor keep company with any but persons of quality. They went out every day to parties of pleasure, balls, plays, concerts, and so forth, and they laughed at their youngest sister, because she spent the greatest part of her time in reading good books.
Variants of the tale are known across Europe.
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There was a handsome prince cursed to live out his days as a monstrous beast and a courageous beauty who consents to be his prisoner in order to save her father. As Beauty comes to know the Beast better, she soon realizes that, though he is monstrous to look upon, he has a good heart and a generous spirit. -