The Original Beauty and the Beast Story | Beauty and the Beast HistoryHere 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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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. He and his children are consequently forced to live in a small cottage in a forest and work for a living. While Beauty makes a firm resolution to adjust to rural life with a cheerful disposition, her sisters do not and mistake her determination for stupidity.
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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. 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.
Once on 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 till this moment prospered in all ways, suddenly lost every ship he had on the sea, either by dint of pirates, shipwreck, or fire.