It’s true people, sadly, it’s true.
The story starts with this merchant who has three daughters. The youngest of which is called Beauty, because, guess what, she’s really beautiful.
He goes off for some sort of business trip. So he asks his daughter what he should bring back for them. The oldest one wants a fancy dress and the second wants a pretty necklace. But Beauty, who’s not only beautiful, but also humble, only wants a rose that her father should pick on his own.
Anyways, the merchant goes off, does his business, buys the dress and the necklace and then sets off back home. Only while he’s walking back, there’s that huge storm coming up and he searches for refuge.
He spots a light and as he goes nearer, he finds that it’s actually a castle. A castle is usually a pretty big thing, ain’t it? How did he not spot that before?
Anyways, he goes inside, but there’s no one there; so the merchant thinks, what the hell, and just sits down at the set table and starts eating. And after the meal, he goes around looking for someone, stumbles upon a bed and goes sleeping in it. Next day, after breakfast, I assume, he goes outside again, sees a bush of roses and picks one up, because he remembers his daughter. Only that’s one too much and the Beast jumps out from behind the bushes – where it probably lurked just waiting for strangers to pick his roses – and tells the merchant that he’ll kill him now.
So the merchant’s in panic all right, and he pleads with the beast. “Very sorry, pal. It’s only for my daughter!”
So the Beast’s like, “Okay. I won’t kill you, if you bring me your daughter.”
Now, as a parent, I would never let my daughter get punished in my place. I mean, he could assume that she’s going to be killed, right? But parents in fairy tales are usually not model parents and so is this one.
He goes back home and I can just imagine him handing the dress and the necklace to the older two and then turning to Beauty, “Yeah, about that rose – I picked one up, but kinda had to sell you to a beast for it.”
Beauty forgives this failure at parenting immediately and she sets off to the castle.
Surprisingly – or not? – the Beast is rather nice to her. The tale claims that they become friends, but clearly, it’s just what I called it in the title – Stockholm Syndrome. She has literally no one else to talk to but that Beast, who, despite trying to be pleasant, holds her hostage.
Anyways, the Beast asks her to marry him. Unfortunately for him, Beauty’s rather shallow. I’ll paraphrase: “Yeah, you’re really nice and everything, but, let’s face it, mate, you’re ugly. So – no.”
The Beast is all, “Sure, I see your point. You don’t have to marry me.”
Don’t let that fool you, he doesn’t give up – next day, he gives it another shot: “So, how about today, will you marry me today?”
And Beauty goes, “Still ugly, though, aren’t you, love? Won’t marry you.”
And so it goes on for a while.
The Beast gives her a mirror with which she can observe her family, so she’s not that lonely any more. Only, what good does a mirror with which I can see people, but not interact with them? That would make me even lonelier.
She sees that her father is very, very ill and begs the Beast to let her go to visit her father.
The Beast’s all, “Nope, no, uh-uh – you’re never ever leaving this place!” and storms off. In a fortunate turn of events, the Beast changes his mind (for no apparent reason) and tells her that she may leave if she returns in 7 day’s time.
So Beauty sets off and joins her family. Turns out, her father only suffers from guilt, at least that’s my interpretation, and once Beauty’s back and all right, he recovers pretty quickly.
Beauty’s so happy, she forgets all about her promise to the Beast. HOW? She made a promise to a freaking beast, who already threatened to kill her father; how come she could forget? Personally, I expected the Beast to turn up, slaughter her family and take her with him again and/or kill her, too. But maybe I just watch too much TV.
She brought the mirror, though, and sees the Beast in the castle, deadly ill as well. So Beauty’s all, “Shit! Totally forgot about that one!” and rushes off to the Beast. As she arrives, he’s nearly dead, but she throws herself onto him, sobbing, you know, we’ve got the whole drama here.
“Don’t you die, don’t die! I’ll marry you, okay, no need to die on me!”
So the Beast not only recovers, but turns into a handsome prince. Please note that it’s not just any other prince. It’s a very handsome prince.
He says that he’s been cursed by a witch, but he doesn’t tell us the reason. Anyways, what follows is the usual marriage and happily ever after.
I think that what this tale was supposed to tell little girls was: no matter who your father chooses to marry you with – don’t disobey. You’ll grow to love him eventually, even if he’s a monster. Life lessons, y’all.
You can read the original version by Villeneuve here. Have yourself a lovely day :)