Beauty and the Beast
If you grew up reading fairy tales, you certainly read at some point, Beauty and the Beast. It is a classic tale as old as time, originally written by Marie LePrince De Beaumont, born in Rouen, France, in 1711. It is believed that while visiting England, she heard stories of the deformed sons of nobility who had been shut up in remote castles. Possibly the idea for Beauty and the Beast sprang from one of those accounts.
My summers were filled with days of perusing through the library and checking out as many books as my mother would allow. Many of those books were fairy tales and my favorite was Beauty and the Beast. I, like many young girls, imagined I’d find beautiful dresses and gourmet meals in a remote castle. Then I’d become a beloved princess after marrying a handsome prince. My mother even loved roses, so I could imagine the beautiful red rose losing its petals, one by one until I committed my hand in marriage. The only scary thing was the prince would first be a frightening and ugly beast! (maybe this sounds like real life for some?)
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Virtue, Kindness, Faithfulness and Loyalty
In the original book version, great emphasis is put on virtue, kindness, faithfulness and loyalty. Beauty found in the beast, one with character, kindness and devotion. This was contrasted with her two sisters in the original account who were filled with pride, anger, greed, sloth and envy. They ended up being turned to statues until they could admit their faults. I’m assuming they remained as solid stone. I find it also interesting that Disney took omitted the two sisters in their version. Possibly the story became too similar to Cinderella. Also, in the original short book version, there was no Mrs. Potts, Luminare or even Gaston.
Admitting faults is never easy. Pride creeps in when businesses and relationships are going well. Envy happens all too often while reading about accomplishments of others on social media—many times with inflated bios and reviews. The word sloth sounds fairly severe, but if you equate it with procrastination, most are guilty! The illustration of stone and statues until admitting faults is a valuable one. Pride, envy and procrastination can truly freeze you in your tracks as fear then takes over with the head trash of comparison and uncertainty. Unless faults are faced, you may stay immobilized in actions, goals and purpose.
Disney has elaborated on this simple fairy-tale story of Beauty and the Beast, commercializing the theme and including songs that will forever be associated with the story. Be our Guest and Beauty and the Beast are now classic songs most people recognize. I have performed those songs hundreds of times for Disney and other events as they are guests’ favorites. In the 2017 Disney version, which I just saw, the special effects and graphics were truly over-the-top amazing. I’m sure DeBeaumont never would imagine where her simple tale would end up.
It is interesting that Jean Cocteau, who made the first Beauty and the Beast movie—all in French of course, (watch several 1946 videos here: VIDEOS ) also focused on the nugget of virtue in the story. In fact, he quotes, I like imaginary stories better than history, whose truths eventually lose their shape. This tale as old as time will never lose its shape. Beauty and the Beast is truly a classic most will continue to remember. I certainly will!
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Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying. Stephen King
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