When a beautiful young girl agrees to go and live in a hideous beast’s castle in order to save her father’s life, she learns to see the inner goodness and beauty beneath the beast’s appearance, and so breaks the curse that was cast upon him. This beloved fairytale is the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of the Christmas season, where we try to spread love and kindness and look for the inner goodness in each of us. (duration 12 minutes) An episode from Journey with Story, a storytelling podcast for kids.
Can you think of any person you know who is beautiful? How is he or she beautiful? Is it the way he or she looks, or is it the way he or she acts and treats other people? Which do you think is more important – to be beautiful on the outside in your appearance or to be beautiful on the inside – in the way you act and live your life?
Hello everyone. I’m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story. Today’s story is one of our most famous fairy tales in the world and it is all about a beautiful girl who meets an ugly monster, but manages to see this monster’s inner beauty.
Let’s take a journey with Beauty and the Beast – an old French fairytale.
Beauty and the Beast (adapted by Kathleen)
Long ago, there lived a merchant who had three daughters. One day as the merchant set off on a long journey, he asked each of his three daughters what she would like as a present upon his return.
“Oh, father, I would love to have a beautiful pearl necklace,” said the eldest girl.
“And I want a shiny, gold chain,” said the middle daughter.
Now Beauty was the youngest daughter, so named for her beauty both inside and out. And for her, it was the simple things in life that always gave her the greatest joy, and so she replied, Father, dearest, I wish only for you to bring me one single rose, that you have picked especially for me.”
The merchant went on his journey and after he had finished all his business, he bought a pearl necklace for his eldest daughter and a shiny gold chain for his middle daughter, but since he was still a long way from home, he knew it was no use to try and find a rose for Beauty, for it would surely wilt and wither before he returned. I will wait until I am closer to home, he thought.
But as he traveled further on his way, a sudden storm blew up, and his horse could hardly make headway in the howling wind. Cold and weary, the merchant had lost all hope of reaching an inn when he suddenly noticed a bright light shining in the middle of a wood. As he drew near, he saw that it was a castle, bathed in light.
“Perhaps I can shelter there for the night,” he said to himself. When he reached the door, he saw it was open, but though he shouted, nobody came to greet him. Plucking up courage, he went inside, calling out, “Is anyone here?” But still, there was only silence.
On a table in the main hall, a splendid dinner lay already served. So overcome with hunger was the merchant, that he at once sat down and helped himself to the delicious food and drink.
When he had finished, he made his way upstairs, where the corridor led into magnificent rooms and halls. A fire crackled in the first room and a soft bed looked very inviting. It was now late, and the merchant could not resist. He lay down on the bed and fell fast asleep. When he woke next morning, he found a hearty breakfast on his bedside table.
The merchant enjoyed his meal and then went downstairs to thank his generous host. But, just as the evening before, there was nobody in sight. Shaking his head in wonder at the strangeness of it all, the merchant went towards the garden where he had left his horse, tethered to a tree. Suddenly, a large rose bush caught his eye.
Remembering his promise to Beauty, he bent down to pick a rose.
Instantly, out of the rose garden, sprang a horrible beast. It towered over the merchant and glared at him with its fiery, red eyes. “”How dare you repay my generosity like this!” it growled and its voice bellowed like thunder.
“P – p – please, sir,” stammered the merchant. “I meant no harm. Your garden is so beautiful and overflowing with flowers, I did not think you would miss one single rose.”
“Thieving is thieving,” said the Beast, whether it is a rose or a sapphire. You will pay with your life!”
“Forgive me! Forgive me! “ begged the merchant. “I’ll do anything you say! The rose wasn’t for me, it was for my daughter Beauty. I promised to bring her back a rose from my journey!”
“I shall spare your life, but on one condition,,” growled the Beast. “ You must bring me this daughter of yours to me and leave her here.”
With a heavy heart, the poor merchant agreed to do what the Beast had demanded.
As soon as he arrived home, his three daughters ran into his arms, laughing and shouting with joy to welcome him. The merchant handed out the gifts, but his daughters saw the tears that flowed down his cheeks.
“What is wrong dear father?” they asked. And the merchant explained all that had happened.
At once Beauty hugged her father and said, “Do not worry. Of course I will do anything to save your life. Perhaps the Beast will do me no harm after all.”
The next day, the merchant led Beauty to the Beast’s castle and with a heavy heart, he left her at the gates of the castle. Beauty walked up the stairs to the front door, that opened as if by magic. “How curious,” thought Beauty, and in she stepped. She followed the corridor into the great dining room where a splendid feast lay waiting for her. Just as she sat down to eat, in walked the Beast. Beauty felt a little stab of fear as it loomed above her. But she mustered her courage, and said, “Good day, kind sir. Thank you for this wonderful feast, will you join me?”
And so it was that Beauty came to live in the beast’s castle. At first she was afraid of the Beast and could not help but tremble every time she saw it. But little by little, day after day, Beauty grew more and more accustomed to its ugliness. She had one of the finest rooms in the Castle, and sat for hours, embroidering in front of the fire. And the Beast would sit there too for hours on end, only a short distance away, silently gazing at her. Then it started to say a few kind words, till in the end, Beauty began to look forward to their conversations and their time together. As more time passed Beauty and the Beast became good friends. And then, one day the Beast asked Beauty “Will you stay with me forever and be my bride?”
Taken by surprise, Beauty was lost for words. How could she possibly marry such an ugly monster? She would rather die! But she did not want to hurt its feelings, especially as it had been so kind to her and had saved her father’s life as well.
“I don’t know” she began shakily. “I’d so much like to . . .but I just…” The Beast interrupted her with a shake of its head.
“I quite understand! And I’m not offended by your refusal!” Life went on as usual, and nothing further was said. One day, the Beast presented Beauty with a magnificent magic mirror, saying, “You won’t feel so lonely now.” To her surprise and delight, when Beauty peeped into the mirror she could see her beloved father and her sisters as they sat in their own home so far away.
But one day, the Beast found her weeping beside the magic mirror.
“What’s wrong, dear girl?”
“My father is gravely ill and close to dying! Oh, how I wish I could see him again, before it’s too late!” But the Beast only shook its head.
“No! You will never leave this castle!” And off it stalked in a rage. However, a little later, it returned and spoke solemnly to the girl.
“If you swear that you will return here in seven days time, I’ll let you go and visit your father!” Beauty threw herself at the Beast’s feet in delight.
“I swear! I swear I will! How kind you are! You’ve made a loving daughter so happy!”
Now the truth was, the merchant had fallen ill from a broken heart, knowing that the Beast was keeping his beloved Beauty a prisoner. And so, as soon as Beauty arrived home and he held her in his arms again, he began to feel better. Beauty stayed beside him for hours on end, describing her life at the Castle, and explaining that the Beast was really good and kind. The days flew by, and at last the merchant was able to leave his bed. He was completely well again. Beauty was happy at last. However, she had failed to notice that seven whole days had passed.
Then one night she woke from a terrible nightmare. She had dreamt that the Beast was dying and calling for her, twisting in agony.
“Come back! Come back to me!” it was pleading. The solemn promise she had made to the Beast, made her set off at once for the castle.
“Hurry! Hurry, good horse!” she said, whipping her steed onwards towards the castle, afraid that she might arrive too late. She rushed up the stairs, calling, but there was no reply. Wailing and weeping in despair, Beauty ran into the garden and there crouched the Beast, its eyes shut, as though dead. Beauty threw herself at it and hugged it tightly.
“Don’t die! Don’t die! I’ll marry you . . .” At these words, a miracle took place. The Beast’s ugly snout turned magically into the face of a handsome young man.
“How I’ve been longing for this moment!” he said. “I was suffering in silence, and couldn’t tell my frightful secret. An evil witch turned me into a monster and only the love of a maiden willing to accept me as I was, could transform me back into my real self. My dearest! I’ll be so happy if you’ll marry me . . .”
The wedding took place shortly after and amidst great rejoicing, and from that day on, the young Prince would have nothing but roses in his gardens. And that’s why, to this day, the castle is known as the Castle of the Rose.
So – what is this story’s souvenir, do you think? What is that little glimmer of truth about life that this story tells us? Yes – that’s right – beauty is not just about our outward appearance, more importantly, beauty is about our inner heart and soul and how we treat others, and of course, like Beauty in this story, it is about how we see the inner beauty in those we meet, no matter what they may look like on the outside.
Do share your drawings with us on IG at JWS. Cheerio then, join me next time for JWS.