Beauty and the Beast
Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Katie Haigh, Astorg Audio
(Astorg Audio, Dec. 17, 2015)
Beauty and the beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a very famous traditional fairy tale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. A wealthy widowed merchant lives in a mansion with his three daughters. All are equal in beauty, but the youngest, Beauty, is kind and pure of heart; while the two elders, in contrast, are wicked, selfish, vain and secretly taunt and treat Beauty more like a servant than a sister. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea. One day, the merchant becomes lost in a forest. Seeking shelter, he enters a dazzling palace. A hidden figure opens the giant doors and silently invites him in. The merchant finds tables inside laden with food and drink, which seem to have been left for him by the palace's invisible owner. The merchant accepts this gift and spends the night there. The next morning, as the merchant is about to leave, he sees a rose garden and recalls that Beauty had desired a rose. Upon picking the loveliest rose he can find, the merchant is confronted by a hideous "Beast" which tells him that for taking his most precious possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The merchant begs to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him give the rose to Beauty, but only if the merchant will return. The merchant is upset, but accepts this condition. Beauty says she wants to go to the Beast's castle. The Beast receives her graciously and informs her that she is now mistress of the castle, and he is her servant. He gives her lavish clothing and food and carries on lengthy conversations with her. Every night, the Beast asks Beauty to marry him, only to be refused each time. For several months, Beauty lives a life of luxury at the Beast's palace, having every whim catered to by servants, with no end of riches to amuse her and an endless supply of exquisite finery to wear...