Today we go a little farther into the story of the beautiful and dutiful young girl and the ugly Beast. Last time I included the second version of the tale which is longer and more detailed. One of my readers loved the story and found it be indeed charming. Another reader thought it somehow familiar and he had seen it before. Even so, he enjoyed reading it again.
Picking up on the appearance of Beauty and the Beast in books over the years, we discover the famous Andrew Lang who put together the Blue Fairy Book of 1889, in which he included Beauty and the Beast. The Jeanne Leprince de Beaumont and Lang versions were widely reprinted. Here is a link to Lang’s book in which you can listen to more than thirty tales including Beauty and the Beast. I think you’ll enjoy this link: http://www.loyalbooks.com/book/the-blue-fairy-book-by-andrew-lang.
If you read the book version of last time or listen to this second link. you will find that these stories have an obvious moral in them. That is one important reason why they were composed. Our story presented an enchanted castle, a ferocious Beast who frightened both a kind father and his beloved daughter who would do anything to save her father, and magical happenings. What better way to learn what it was to be a good person than reading a story like this? The motif of a good girl who goes through a frightening experience and then falls in love with a Beast who turns out not to be a monster even though he looks that way, and then is redeemed for his sins and turned back into the handsome prince he was before, was certainly an enjoyable way of teaching children to look below the surface before judging people by the way they look. And there is much more in these tales which are meant to be instructive.
Next time, I’ll talk a little about literature as opposed to folklore and then we’ll go on to Beauty and Beast in films.