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Сказка Beauty and the Beast

◆ About the Story
While returning home to his family, a merchant
plucks a rose from a garden and is confronted by
the Beast, who demands that the merchant send
him one of his daughters in payment for his
theft. As the rose was meant to be a gift for his
daughter Beauty, she volunteers to go to the
Beast. Once she arrives in the Beast’s castle, she
begins to have a recurrent dream in which a
handsome prince beckons her. She wonders who
he is, and what his connection is to the Beast.
Beauty’s questions are answered when she
learns not to trust appearances.

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Madame de Villeneuve

Once upon a time, in a far-off country, there lived
a merchant who had been so fortunate in all his
undertakings that he was enormously rich. As he had six
sons and six daughters, however, who were accustomed
to having everything they fancied, he did not find he
had a penny too much. But misfortunes befell them.
One day their house caught fire and speedily burned to
the ground, with all the splendid furniture, books,
pictures, gold, silver, and precious goods it contained.
The father 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 had
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, and to
this he was forced to retreat. His children were in despair
at the idea of leading such a different life. The daughters
at first hoped their friends, who had been so numerous
while they were rich, would insist on their staying in
their houses, but they soon found they were left alone.
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 on
the face of the earth. As they were too poor to have any
servants, the girls had to work hard, 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 daughter tried to be
brave and cheerful.
She had been as sad as anyone when misfortune first
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 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 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 she was always called Beauty.
After two years, when they were all beginning to get
used to their new life, their father received news that one
of his ships, which he had believed 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 to make inquiries.
Only the youngest daughter had any doubt but that
they would soon again be as rich as they were before.
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 reply 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.”
The merchant reached town as quickly as possible,
only to find that his former companions, believing him
to be dead, had divided his cargo between them. After
six months of trouble and expense, he found himself as
poor as when he started on his journey. To make matters
worse, he was obliged to return in the most terrible
weather. 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 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 farther.
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. The howling of the wolves kept him
awake, and when at last day broke, 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 path, but it was
so rough and slippery that he fell down more than once.
Presently it 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 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. He 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. 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 cosily before it. Thinking 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, with a good
dinner on it, had been drawn up close to him. He lost
no time in beginning his meal, hoping he might soon
thank his considerate host, 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.
Because he was 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; there was no
sign of life in the palace! He wondered what he should
do. To amuse himself, he began 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, the birds sang, the
flowers bloomed, and the air was soft and sweet. The
merchant, in ecstasies with all he saw and heard, said to
“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 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
“Who told you you might gather my roses? Was it
not enough that I sheltered you 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
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
for your hospitality, which was so magnificent I could
not imagine you would be offended by my taking such a
little thing as a rose.”
But the Beast’s anger was not lessened by his speech.
“You are very ready with excuses and flattery,” he cried.
“But that will not save you from the death you deserve.”
Alas, thought the merchant, if my daughter Beauty
could only know into 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 for,” he said. “But I thought I
might at least take Beauty her rose. I beg you to forgive
me, for you see I meant no harm.”
The Beast said, in a less furious tone, “I will forgive
you on one condition—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?”
“None,” 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 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 any of your daughters will
come back with you and stay here, to let you go free. If
none of them is willing, you must come alone, after
bidding them goodbye forever, 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 that any of his daughters would 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
the 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 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 tomorrow,” he added, “until you see
the sun and hear a golden bell ring. Then you will find
your breakfast waiting for you, 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 lay down until the sun rose. Then,
after 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. He was still
wrapped in gloomy thoughts when the horse stopped
before the door of his cottage.
His sons and daughters, who had been 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. But 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. Little you
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 their father should not return to the terrible
castle, and began to make plans for killing the Beast if it
should come to fetch him. But he reminded them he
had promised to go back. Then the girls were very angry
with Beauty and said it was all her fault. If she had asked
for something sensible, this would never have happened.
Poor Beauty, much distressed, said to them, “I have
indeed caused this misfortune, but 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 it. Her father and
brothers, who loved her dearly, declared nothing should
make them let her go. But Beauty was firm. As the time
drew near, she divided her little possessions between her
sisters and said goodbye to everything she loved. 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 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. 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. They even
felt pleasantly warm, though it had been bitterly cold
before. They reached the avenue of orange trees and saw
that the palace was brilliantly lighted from roof to
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 admired all the
wonderful things she saw.
When they had dismounted, her father led her to the
little room he had been in before. Here 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 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 horror and saluted him
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 remain. As for you,
old man,” he added, turning to the merchant, “at
sunrise tomorrow 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
Then turning to Beauty, he said, “Take your father
into the next room and help him choose gifts for your
brothers and sisters. 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
Then he went away, after saying, “Goodbye, Beauty;
goodbye, old man.” Beauty was beginning to think with
great dismay of her father’s departure, but she was afraid
to disobey the Beast’s orders. 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 to be worn with them, and when Beauty
opened the cupboards, she was dazzled by the gorgeous
jewels lying 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. Even then the trunks were not too full,
but they were so heavy an elephant could not have
carried them!
“The Beast was mocking us!” cried the merchant.
“He 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 he meant to deceive us. All we can do is to fasten
them up and have 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 he might perhaps
venture to come back soon and see Beauty. But she felt
sure her father was leaving her forever, so she was very
sad when the bell rang sharply for the second time and
warned them that the time was 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 bade Beauty
a hasty farewell. As soon as he was mounted, he went off
at such a pace 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 she was very sleepy, and
as she had nothing better to do, she lay down and
instantly fell asleep. And then she dreamed 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, for I love you dearly, and in making me
happy, you will find your own happiness. Be as
truehearted 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. 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;
you are destined for 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. Then she rose
and found her dressing table set out with everything she
could possibly want, and when her toilet was finished,
she found dinner waiting in the room next to hers. But
dinner does not take very long when one is alone, and
very soon she sat down cozily 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
herself. “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? But after all, it
was only a dream, so why should I trouble myself about
it? I had better find something to do to amuse myself.”
So she began to explore some of the many rooms of
the palace. The first she entered was lined with mirrors.
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 into a room which contained every musical
instrument under the sun, and here she amused herself
for a long while in trying 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. By this time it was growing
dusk, and wax candles in diamond and ruby
candlesticks lit 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. Though her father had warned her she would be
alone, she began to find it rather dull.
Presently she heard the Beast coming and wondered
tremblingly if he meant to eat her now. However, he did
not seem at all ferocious and only said gruffly:
“Good evening, Beauty.”
She answered cheerfully and managed to conceal her
terror. The Beast asked 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 she would be very hard to please if she could
not be happy. After about an hour’s talk, Beauty began
to think the Beast was not nearly so terrible as she had
supposed at first. Then he rose 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 her refusal had not provoked him. After he was
gone, she was very soon in bed and dreaming of her
unknown prince.
She thought he came and said, “Ah, Beauty! Why are
you so unkind to me? I fear I am fated to be unhappy
for many a long day still.”
Then her dreams changed, but the charming prince
figured in them all. When morning came, her first
thought was to look at the portrait and see if it was really
like him, and she found it certainly was.
She decided to amuse herself in the garden, for the
sun shone, and all the fountains were playing. She was
astonished to find that every place was familiar to her,
and presently she came to the very brook and the myrtle
trees where she had first met the prince in her dream.
That made her think more than ever 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. There was an aviary full of rare birds,
which were so tame 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 your
cage was nearer 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 on 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. The Beast paid her his
usual visit and asked 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
The days passed swiftly in different amusements, and
after a while Beauty found 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. The
first time she had looked out of the window, it seemed 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, music and pretty dresses, and
it was all so gay that Beauty was in ecstasies. 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 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. Her happy dreams of the handsome young
prince soon made her forget the poor Beast, and the
only thing that disturbed her was being told to distrust
appearances, to let her heart guide her, and not her eyes.
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. 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 he was really gentle in spite of his
ferocious looks and his dreadful voice. So she answered
that she wished 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 escape?”
“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 goodbye 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. When at last she began 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.
But 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 I will come back, and
he would die of grief if I did not keep my word!”
“What would that matter to you?” asked 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
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 as splendid as those she had
seen in the Beast’s palace. Where could she be? She rose
and dressed hastily and then saw that the boxes she had
packed the night before were all in the room. Suddenly
she heard her father’s voice and rushed out to greet
him joyfully.
Her brothers and sisters were astonished at her
appearance, for they had never expected to see her again.
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 forever, they lamented loudly. Then
Beauty asked her father what he thought her strange
dreams meant 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 you ought to reward him by
doing as he wishes, in spite of his ugliness.”
Beauty could not help seeing that this seemed
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 a town again
and had plenty of acquaintances, Beauty found that
nothing amused her very much. 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 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 goodbye to them. Every
day when she rose 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 that seemed
to come from some bushes hiding the entrance of a cave.
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, 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. That very evening she said goodbye to her father
and her brothers and sisters, and as soon as she was in
bed she turned her ring round upon her finger and said
“I wish to go back to my palace and see my Beast
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 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. She was so anxious to
see the Beast again that she felt as if suppertime would
never come.
But when it came, no Beast appeared. 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. No one answered, and not
a trace of him could she find. 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, so 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!” cried Beauty,
crying bitterly.
But then, looking at him again, she fancied he still
breathed. 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?”
asked the Beast faintly. “Ah, Beauty, you came only 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 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 glad to see her.
Beauty quite enjoyed telling him all that had
happened to her. When at last the time came for him to
go, 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 fireflies, was written: Long live the prince and
his bride.
Turning to ask the Beast what it could all mean,
Beauty found 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 so queenly that Beauty hardly knew which to greet
first. But the one she already knew said to her
“Well, Queen, this is Beauty, who has had the
courage to rescue your son from the terrible
enchantment. They love each other, 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
“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.
The end.

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