Beauty and the Beast

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Type:
Story
Genre:
Fiction
Theme:
Folk Tales , Classics , Princesses , Fairy Tales
Lexile Level:
890L
Mode:
Read to Me
Story Length:
Long

Description

The lovely Beauty willingly goes to live with the Beast in order to save her father's life. Over time, she grows to enjoy her friendship with the Beast, but she declines his marriage proposal each night and dreams of a handsome prince who tells her not to trust what she sees. When Beauty visits her family and dreams of the Beast, she realizes she loves him just as he is. In this classic fairy tale about the true meaning of beauty, the Beast is released from a witch’s curse by Beauty's love.

Learning Concepts

Kindness , Good Choices , Compassion

More in "Folk Tales"

Full Text

Once upon a time in a far-off country,
a successful merchant lived in a lovely
cottage in the forest with his two sons
and two daughters.
Whenever one of his ships came in to
port, he would travel to town to sell
the goods that they brought back.
And every time, his children would ask
him to bring things back for them.
“I want a great sword, encrusted in jewels!”
said his sons.
“I want a golden harp, with strings made
from silk!” said one of his daughters.
The oldest child, however never asked
for anything.
“I just want you to come home safely,”
she would tell her father.
She was a pretty young woman
that her family took to simply calling
her Beauty. And this was a fitting name,
for Beauty most liked all the beautiful
things in life: the sound of birds singing,
a sweet line of poetry from a good book,
the smell of fresh flowers blooming...
“Are you sure there is nothing I can bring
you,” asked her father before he left.
“The other children have asked for
so much.”
Beauty thought about it for a second
before answering.
“I would love for you to bring me a rose,”
she said.
“We don’t have them here in the forest,
and I do love the way they smell.”
The merchant agreed with a smile,
and giving his horse a kick, he was off.
But when he got to town, he found out
that his ship had been damaged in a bad
thunderstorm, and there were no goods
to be sold.
With no money for gifts, he sadly decided
to return home.
But soon the thunderstorm reached
the land, engulfing everything in rain
and wind and lightning.
By the light of his lantern, the merchant
saw a great castle in the distance,
and decided to ask for shelter.
He was so tired that he didn’t notice
that the storm mysteriously cleared
when he approached the castle.
He found the front door open, and with
no response to his calls, he entered.
The palace was beautiful, but strangely
empty. The merchant wandered into
a room where a fire was burning and
a chair was drawn up close to it.
Exhausted, the man quickly fell into
a deep sleep.
When he woke after several hours,
his stomach was growling and he was
still alone, but someone had already set
a plate of food in front of him.
It had been nearly a full day since he last
ate, so he grabbed the food, promising
to thank his host later. He walked down
to the garden, and found to his surprise
that the sun shone and the birds sang.
The merchant was delighted to see
a hedge of roses lining the path towards
the stables, which reminded him of his
promise to Beauty.
He had stopped to gather one when
he was startled by a strange noise
behind him. Turning around, he saw
a fearsome and angry-looking Beast.
“Who said you could take my roses?”
the Beast asked in a terrible voice.
“Was it not enough that I fed you?
This is how you show your gratitude,
by stealing my flowers?”
The merchant, terrified by these furious
words, dropped the rose and threw
himself on his knees.
“Pardon me, noble sir,” he said. “I am truly
grateful for your hospitality, and I didn’t
realize you would be offended by my
taking such a little thing as a rose.”
But the Beast’s anger was not lessened
by this speech.
“You may be quite good with excuses
and flattery,” he cried. “But that will not
save you from the death you deserve.”
In despair, the merchant began to tell
the Beast of all his misfortunes,
the reason for his journey, and his
daughter’s request.
“A king’s ransom would hardly have paid
for all that my other children asked,”
he said. “But I thought that I might at
least take Beauty her rose. I beg you
to forgive me, for I meant no harm.”
The Beast considered this for a moment.
“I will forgive you on one condition,”
he said. “And that is that you will give
me one of your daughters.”
“Ah!” cried the merchant. “Even if I were
cruel enough to save my own life
at the expense of one of my children’s,
what would I say to make her come here?”
“You mustn’t force her to come,” answered
the Beast. “See if any of them is
courageous enough to save your life.
In one month, if none of your daughters
is willing to come, you must say goodbye
to them forever and return alone.
If you fail to keep your primise, I will come
after you myself,” the Beast added grimly.
The merchant reluctantly accepted
the offer, thinking none of his daughters
would agree to come to the castle.
The Beast gave him a rose for Beauty,
and allowed him to leave.
When he finally returned home, his
children were upset that he didn’t have
any gifts for them. When he told them
about the castle and the promise
he made, his sons vowed to go to the
castle and kill the Best.
But then the children turned angrily
to Beauty.
“You should have asked for something
more sensible than a rose,”
they complained bitterly.
Poor Beauty felt terrible. “Who could
have guessed that a rose would cause
so much misery?” she said. “But since
I was the one who asked for it, I should
be the one to suffer for it. I’ll go back
with my father to keep his promise.”
At first, her father and brothers, who
loved her dearly, refused to let her go.
But Beauty had made up her mind.
And when the day finally came, she
comforted her father as they traveled
there together.
As they neared the castle, fireworks lit
the sky before them.
When they reached the avenue of orange
trees, there were statues holding flaming
torches, and they could see the palace
was illuminated from the roof to the
ground, with music sounding softly from
the courtyard.
Beauty couldn’t help admiring all the
wonderful things she saw.
Once inside the castle, they found a fire
burning and a table set with a delicious
supper for two. They had hardly finished
the meal when the sound of Beast’s
footsteps could be heard, and Beauty
clung to her father in terror.
But, when the Beast appeared, she greeted
him respectfully.
“Have you come willingly?” he asked
Beauty, who told him that she had.
The Beast turned to the merchant.
“Then you will leave, never to return again.”
The Beast allowed the merchant to fill
two trunks with gold and jewels, but then
told him he must leave immediately.
When her father was gone, Beauty began
to cry. The Beast seemed agitated.
“Take whatever you need from the castle,”
he growled, and left abruptly.
Beauty found her room and cried herself
to sleep. She dreamt that she was
walking near a stream, when a young
and handsome prince appeared.
“You will be rewarded for all you have
suffered,” the prince told her. “Do not
trust too much your eyes. No matter
how I may be disguised, I love you dearly,
and in saving me from my cruel misery,
you will find your own happiness.”
She awoke feeling better, and she set off
to explore the palace.
She wandered through rooms lined with
mirrors, and others filled with books and
musical instruments. In one of them,
she was surprised to find a bracelet with
a picture of a prince that had been
in her dreams, and she slipped it onto
her arm with a smile, and imagined
he would come rescue her.
A moment later, the Beast greeted her
at the doorway. He frightened her so
much that she could barely look a him,
and she didn’t even notice the fine suit
he wore. He asked her what she thought
of the palace, and as they talked, she
began to think he wasn’t nearly as
terrible as he seemed.
But when he got up to leave, the Beast
asked gruffly, “Do you love me, Beauty?”
Without thinking, she said, “No, you’re
a Beast!” and then looked down at her
new bracelet.
“Goodnight then, Beauty,” the Beast
replied, as he ran off abruptly.
She was relieved that he didn’t attack her.
After that, the days took on a similar
pattern. There were plenty of wonderful
rooms and gardens in the palace
to entertain her.
But every evening after supper, the Beast
came to see her, and always before saying
goodnight, he asked in his terrible voice,
“Beauty, do you love me?”
Beauty, thinking of the prince of her
dreams, always answered politely,
“No, Beast.”
But the longer Beauty stayed at the castle,
the less she was afraid of the Beast.
She began to notice that he was actually
very polite when he came to see her,
and he even seemed to be a little nervous.
After a while, it occurred to Beauty that
the Beast seemed more scared of her
than she was of him.
She also found that she began to enjoy
spending time with the Beast.
Beneath his fearsome looks, he was
actually very thoughtful and caring.
And she felt sad because each night
when she refused to marry him,
he went away so sorrowfully.
But at night her dreams of the handsome
prince soon made her forget about the
poor Beast. She concentrated all of her
thoughts on what the prince had told her:
“Distrust all appearances; let your heart
guide you instead of your eyes.”
Beauty found that she was quite content
at the castle with the Beast. But she also
missed her family dearly, and wondered
how she would ever find her prince.
One night, seeing her looking very sad,
the Beast asked what was the matter.
She told him she wished to see her home
once more. Though the Beast seemed
sadly distressed, to her surprise he said
she could go home.
“It makes me sad to see you go,” said
the Beast, in as soft a voice as she had
ever heard from him, “But I want you
to be happy.”
He handed her a beautiful ring and said,
“If you ever choose to return, just put
this ring on your finger and you will be
back at my castle.”
And with that, he left her alone.
When Beauty arrived back home her
family was overjoyed to see her.
When she told her father about her
dreams of the prince, the part about
not trusting appearances made him
stop and think about the Beast, and
how he was so kind to them despite his
appearance. But he was too overjoyed
to have his daughter back, and the family
went to celebrate.
But although Beauty was glad to be back
with her family, she also missed the castle,
and its beautiful rooms, and even
her talks with the Beast.
And she soon noticed that she did not
dream of the prince anymore, instead,
after a few weeks, she began to have
a different dream.
In it, she was wandering through the
palace gardens when she heard groans
of pain from a nearby cave.
She ran over to find the Beast stretched
out upon his side, looking weak and frail.
After having this dream for several
nights, she became very worried about
the Beast. She decided she should go
back to the castle to check on him.
Despite protests from her family,
she put the Beast’s ring back on her finger
and she was magically transported back
to the palace.
She called out for the Beast, but he
didn’t come to her.
Finally, she remembered the cave from
her dream, and ran out to the gardens.
Looking around, she saw a familiar path
and walked down it, coming to the very
same cave she dreamed about.
She ran inside, and found the Beast,
lying motionless.
“Oh, he’s dead,” she cried bitterly.
“I should never have left him alone here!”
She wept and put her hands over her
face, but then she heard the sound of
the Beast moving.
“Beauty?” he said weakly.
“Oh, how you frightened me!” she cried.
“I never knew how much I loved you
until we were apart!”
“Can you really love such an ugly
creature?”, the Beast asked faintly.
“Yes, Beast, I love you more than anything
else in this world!”
The Beast, suddenly sounding stronger
and stronger, began to tell her a story
in a gentle voice:
“When I was younger, a witch came to
my castle. Seeing the warts on her face
and her ugly green skin, I refused to let
her in. So she put a curse on my entire
palace. Because I had judged her by
her appearance, she turned me into
a terrible-looking Beast, and she said
I would die unless I could earn the true
love of a good woman.”
Beauty suddenly realized that she had
heard this voice before.
The Beast stood up, and he began to
sparkle with light, until the light become
so bright that Beauty had to close her
eyes. When she opened them, she saw
that the handsome prince from her
dreams stood where the Beast was.
Hand in hand, the two left the cave, and
found that the castle had come to life
with lights and music, and in the sky, in
letters all made of fireflies, was written:
“Long live the Prince and his Bride.”

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Credits

Illustrated by: Constanthing

Cast

Narrator: Clark Gregg