One of my favorite fairytales of all time is Beauty and the Beast. I’ve read various tellings of the story all my life and have liked them all, some more than others. I think my favorite version might be Beauty by Robin McKinley. The cover is also quite pretty.
The basic story is pretty simple:
Beautiful girl’s family falls into poverty. After hearing news that their fortunes may have improved, the father travels back to the city but is given bad news. On his journey back to his family, he gets lost and seeks shelter at a great castle.
When he’s refreshed he leaves but picks a rose for his daughter (her favorite flower) and the lord of the castle – the Beast – demands his life in exchange for the theft. Upon hearing the father’s story, the Beast allows him to go home to say goodbye to his daughters. He must return in a few days for his punishment or one of his daughters must come in his place.
Beauty, the daughter the rose was intended for, goes back to the Beast’s castle in her father’s place. Instead of dying, however, she’s treated like a princess. Every night the Beast visits her while she eats dinner and asks if she will marry him. She continually denies him, but grows friendly toward him after awhile.
She soon becomes homesick and is allowed to look upon her father through the means of a magic mirror. She sees he’s very sick and begs to return to him to nurse him back to health. The Beast agrees but makes her promise to return to him in a week’s time or he will die.
Beauty’s reunion is a happy one and she waits until the last minute to return to the Beast. When she sees him she believes him to be dead and grieves. It isn’t until that moment that she realizes she loves him and tells him so.
The Beast disappears and in his place is a handsome prince. He explains that he was under a terrible spell. He would stay a hideous beast until he could gain the love of a beautiful woman. Beauty’s love for him broke the spell and they lived happily ever after.
What version of Beauty and the Beast do you like the most?