Once upon a time there was a very rich merchant who had six children, three boys and three girls; and as he was a man of many assets and a vast culture, he spared no expense to educate them and surrounded them with all sorts of teachers. The three daughters were very beautiful; But the youngest aroused so much admiration that when she was little everyone nicknamed her “the beautiful girl,” so that at last she got this name to the envy of her sisters.
Not only was the youngest much prettier than the others, but also kinder. The two older sisters held their wealth with contempt to those who had less than they; they made themselves the great ladies and refused to be visited by the daughters of other merchants: only people of great rank were worthy of keeping them company. They spent it at all the dances, gatherings, comedies, and walks, and they despised the youngest because she spent so much of her time reading good books.
The three young women, graceful and possessors of many wealth, were requested in marriage by many merchants in the region, but the two older ones despised and rejected them, saying that they would only marry a nobleman: at least a duke or count. La Bella — for that was how they all knew her and called the minor — very courteously thanked the interest of those who wanted to take her as a wife, and she attended them with great kindness and delicacy; but he claimed that he was still very young and that he wanted to spend a few more years in the company of his father.
In one fell swoop, the merchant lost all his goods, and he had nothing left but a small country house a good distance from the city. Totally shattered, his heart filled with sorrow, crying he let his children know that it was forced to move to this house, where to earn a living they would have to work as peasants. His two eldest daughters responded with the haughtiness they always showed on every occasion, that they would in no way leave the city, as they were not lacking in love, who would be happy to marry them, despite their lost fortune. In this the good ladies were deceived: their lovers totally lost interest in them as soon as they were poor.
Since no one sympathized with them due to their arrogance, the girls of the other merchants and their families commented: “They don’t deserve compassion.” On the contrary, we are glad to see their pride lowered. What the great ladies be done with the sheep!
But at the same time, everyone was saying:
“What a shame, what pain Bella’s misfortune gives us!” This is a good daughter! With what courtesy he speaks to the poor! She is so sweet, so honest!… There were no shortage of gentlemen willing to marry her, even if she didn’t have a penny; but the young woman was grateful but replied that it was impossible for her to abandon her father in disgrace, and that she would follow him to the countryside
to comfort him and help him in his work. Poor Bella kept grieving for the loss of her fortune, but she said to herself: “I will get nothing no matter how much I cry.” It is necessary to try to be happy in poverty. As soon as they arrived and settled in the country house, the merchant and his three sons dressed as peasants set about preparing and tilling the land. Bella got up at four in the morning and busied herself cleaning the house and preparing the family’s food. At first this was an exhausting sacrifice for him, because he was not in the habit of working so hard; but a few months later, she began to feel accustomed to this rhythm and began to feel better and to enjoy her desire for perfect health.
When he finished his chores he would read, play the harpsichord, or sing while spinning or doing some other work. His two sisters, on the other hand, were mortally bored; They got up at ten in the morning, walked the whole day and their only fun was lamenting their lost finery and visits. “Look at our younger sister,” they said to each other, “she has such a vulgar soul, and she’s so stupid, that she’s content with her misery.”
The good farmer, the father, on the other hand, knew that Bella was hard-working, constant, patient and tenacious, and very capable of shining in the living rooms, on the other hand her sisters … He admired the virtues of his youngest daughter, and especially her patience , since the others were not content with her doing all the housework, but also made fun of her. The family had lived in those solitudes for a year now when the merchant received a letter in which they announced that a certain ship had happily arrived with a cargo of merchandise for him.
This news completely upset their two older daughters, because they imagined that they would finally be able to leave those fields where they were so bored and also the only thing that crossed their minds was to return to the idle and fatuous life at parties and theaters, showing riches; Therefore, as soon as they saw their father ready to go out, they asked him to bring them dresses, shawls, combs, and all sorts of trifles. Beauty did not say a word, thinking to herself that all the gold in the merchandise was not going to be enough for her sisters’ orders.
“Aren’t you going to ask me for something?” His father asked him.
“Since you have the goodness to think of me,” she replied, “I beg you to bring me a rose, because I have not seen them around here.” It was not that he really wanted her, but that he did not want to ugly with his example the behavior of his sisters, who had said that if he did not ask for anything it was only to care.
So the good merchant departed; But when he arrived in the city, he learned that there was a lawsuit going on over his merchandise, and after much work and pain he found himself as poor as before. And so he started again on the road to his home. He did not have to travel more than thirty miles to get home, and he was already rejoicing in the pleasure of seeing his daughters again; but he lost the way when crossing a great forest, and was lost within it, in the middle of a storm of wind and snow that began to unleash.
Nevaba fuertemente; el viento era tan impetuoso que por dos veces lo derribó del caballo; y cuando cerró la noche llegó a temer que moriría de hambre o de frío; o que lo devorarían los lobos, a los que oía aullar muy cerca de sí. De repente, tendió la vista por entre dos largas hileras de árboles y vio una brillante luz a gran distancia. He walked towards that place and when he got closer he observed that the light came from a great palace all illuminated. He hastened to take refuge there; but his surprise was considerable when he found no person in the courtyards.
His horse, which was following him, entered a vast stable that was open, and having found hay and oats, the poor animal, who was starving, began to eat eagerly. After leaving him tied up, the merchant went to the castle, where he also saw no one; and at last he came to a large room where there was a good fire and a table laden with food with a single place setting. Perhaps he was being daring, but he headed there. The temptation was great, for the rain and snow had soaked him to the bone; He leaned close to the fire to dry himself, saying to himself: ‘The owner of this house and his servants,
He still waited a long time, he was looking towards the other rooms to try to locate some inhabitant in the mansion, but when eleven bells rang without anyone appearing, he could no longer resist hunger, and seizing a chicken he ate it with two bites despite her shaking. He drank a few glasses of wine too, and now with a new boldness he left the room and went through several spacious rooms, magnificently furnished. In one of them he found a ready bed, and as it was past midnight, and he felt exhausted from fatigue, numb and dazed from the past adventure until he found this shelter, he decided to close the door and go to sleep.
It was ten in the morning when he got up the next day, and his surprise was not small to find a suit made to measure instead of his old and worn clothes. Without a doubt, he told himself, either I have not awakened, or this palace belongs to a good fairy who has taken pity on me. He looked out the window and saw not the slightest trace of snow, but of a garden whose beautiful flowers enchanted the view. Then he entered the room where he had dined the day before, and found that a cup of chocolate was waiting for him on a small table.
“I thank you, fairy lady
He said aloud, “for having had the goodness to lodge me in such an inhospitable night and to think about my breakfast.” The good man, after taking the chocolate, went out in search of his horse, and as he passed through a sector full of white roses, he remembered Bella’s request and cut one to take her away. At the same moment there was a great roar and he saw that a beast so hideous was coming towards him that he had little to do before he collapsed.
“Ah, ungrateful!” The Beast told him in a terrible voice. I saved your life by receiving you and sheltering you in my palace, and now, to my sorrow, you take away my roses, which I love above all else in the world! You will need to die in order to repair this fault. The merchant threw himself at his feet, clasped his hands and prayed to the Beast: “Monsignor, forgive me, for I did not think I was offending you by taking a rose;” It is for one of my daughters, who had asked me for it.
“My name is not Monsignor,” replied the monster, “but the Beast.”
I don’t like flattery, and I do like men to say what they feel; don’t expect to move me with your flattery. But you have told me that you have daughters; I am willing to forgive you on the condition that one of them comes to die in your place. Do not reply to me: leave immediately; And if your daughters refuse to die for you, swear to me that you will return in three months. The good man did not intend to sacrifice one of his daughters to such a hideous monster, but he said to himself: “At least I have the consolation of giving them one last hug.” So he swore that he would return, and the Beast told him that he could leave whenever he wanted.
“But I don’t want you to go away empty-handed,” he added. Go back to the room where you spent the night: there you will find a large chest in which you will put whatever you like, and I will drive it home. Having said this, the Beast withdrew, and the man said to himself: “If I must die, I will at least have the consolation that my daughters do not go hungry.” So he returned to the room where he had slept, and found a large quantity of gold coins with which he filled the chest that the Beast had told him about, closed it, went to the stables in search of his horse, and left that palace with a great sadness, coupled with the joy with which she entered him the night before in search of shelter. His horse took one of the paths in the forest for himself, and in a few hours he was back on his little farm.
His daughters gathered around him and, far from being happy with their caresses, the poor merchant began to cry in anguish looking at them. He had in his hand the bouquet of roses that he had cut for Bella, and when he handed it to her he said:
“Bella, take these roses, how dear they cost your unfortunate father.”
And immediately he told his family about the disastrous adventure that had just happened to him. Hearing this, his two eldest daughters gave great screams and filled Beauty with insults, who had not shed a tear. “Look what this little creature’s pride leads to,” they shouted. Why didn’t you ask for ornaments like us? Ah, no, the lady had to be different! She is going to cause our father’s death, and yet she doesn’t even cry. My crying would be useless,” Bella answered. Why should I mourn our father if it is not necessary for him to die? Since the monster is pleased to accept one of his daughters, I will surrender to his fury and consider myself very happy, for I will have had the opportunity to save my father and show you and him my tenderness.
“No, sister,” said her three brothers, “it is not necessary for you to die either; we will search for that monster and kill it or perish under its blows. “There is no need to dream, my children,” said the merchant. The power of that Beast is such that I have no hope of killing it. I am touched by Bella’s good heart, but I will never expose her to death. I am old, I have little time to live; I will only lose a few years, from which only for you I feel detached, my dear children.
“I assure you, my father,” Bella told him, “that you will not go to that palace without me; you can’t stop me from following you. I was partly responsible for your misfortune. As I am young, I do not have a great attachment to life, and I prefer that that monster devour me to die of the pain and remorse that your loss would give me. No matter how much they reasoned with her, there was no way to convince her, and her sisters were delighted, because the girl’s virtues had always inspired irresistible jealousy in them.
The merchant was so overwhelmed by the pain of losing his daughter that he forgot the chest full of gold; but when she retired to her room to sleep, her surprise was enormous when she found him next to the bed. He decided not to say a word to his children about those new and great riches, since they would have wanted to return to the city and he was determined to die in the field; but he revealed the secret to Bella, who in turn confided to him that in his absence some gentlemen had come to visit, and that two of them loved their sisters. She begged her to allow them to marry, for she was so good that she still loved them and forgave them with all her heart, despite the harm they had done to her.
The day Bella and her father left, the two wicked girls rubbed onion over their eyes to have tears to cry them with; His brothers, on the other hand, really cried, as did the merchant, and in the whole house the only one who did not cry was Bella, because she did not want to increase the pain of the others. The horse began to walk towards the palace, and in the evening it appeared all illuminated as the first time. The horse went by itself to the stable, and the good man and his daughter went into the great hall, where they found a superbly set table with two cutlery. The merchant was not in the mood to take a bite, but Beauty, trying hard to appear calm, sat down at the table and served him, though she thought to herself: “The Beast wants me to put on weight before eating me, since he receives me so splendidly. ».
As soon as they finished dinner, a great roar was heard and the merchant, crying, told his poor daughter that the Beast was approaching. Bella could not avoid a shudder when she saw his horrible figure, although she tried to hide her fear, and when the monster questioned her about whether they had forced her or if she was coming of her own free will, she answered yes, trembling, that it was her own decision.
“You are very good,” said the Beast.
-, and I appreciate it very much. You, good man, will leave in the morning and never dream of returning here. Never. Goodbye beautiful. “Goodbye, sir,” replied the girl. And immediately the Beast withdrew. “Ah, my daughter,” said the merchant, hugging Bella— I’m almost scared to death! Listen to me and let me stay in your place. “No, my father,” Bella answered firmly, “you will leave in the morning.” Later they went to bed, believing that they would not sleep all night; but their eyes closed as soon as they put their head on the pillow.
While she was sleeping, Bella saw a lady who said to her:
“Your good heart makes me very happy, Bella.” This good deed of risking your life to save your father’s should not go unrewarded. Bella told the good man about the dream when she woke up; and although it served him a bit of consolation, he could not prevent her from lamenting with great sobs at the moment of parting with her beloved daughter.
As soon as he was gone, Bella went to the great room and began to cry; But since she had plenty of courage, she resolved not to grieve for the short time she had left to live, for she was convinced that the monster would devour her that very afternoon. While she waited, she decided to tour the splendid castle, since despite everything she could not avoid being moved by its beauty. His amazement was even greater when he found written on a door:
She opened it hastily and was dazzled by the magnificence that reigned there; But what most caught her attention was a well-stocked library, a harpsichord, and numerous music books, bringing together everything that made life pleasant for her. “You don’t want me to be sad,” he said to himself in a low voice, and added immediately: for a single day I would not have gathered so many things. This thought reawakened his courage, and soon after, searching the library, he found a book in which the following inscription appeared in gold letters:
Arrange, order, here you are the queen and madam. All the things that are here will obey it. “Woe to me,” she sighed, “I want nothing but to see my poor father and know what he is doing now!” She had said these words to herself: what would not be her astonishment when she turned her eyes to a large mirror and saw her house there, where her father would then arrive with his face full of sadness! The two older sisters came to receive him, and despite the fuss they made to appear distressed, the satisfaction they felt for the loss of their sister was reflected on their faces, for having detached themselves from the sister who overshadowed them with her beauty and goodness. Everything disappeared in a moment, and Beauty could not help telling herself that the Beast was very accommodating, and that she had nothing to fear from him.
At noon he found the table set, and while he ate he listened to an exquisite concert, although he did not see anyone. That afternoon, when he was going to sit at the table, he heard the roar of the Beast as he approached, and he couldn’t help a shudder.
“Bella,” said the monster.
Would you allow me to look at you while you eat?
“You are the owner of this house,” Bella answered, trembling.
“No,” said the Beast, “there is no other owner here than you.” If it bothered you, you would only have to ask me to leave, and I would leave immediately. But tell me: isn’t it true that you find me very ugly?
“That’s right,” Bella said, “because I don’t know how to lie; but instead I think you are very good.
“You are right,” said the monster, “even though I cannot judge my
ugliness, for I am but a beast.
“You are not a beast,” replied Beauty, “when you admit that you are incapable of judging about something.” Fools would not admit it.
“Eat then,” said the monster, “and try to have a good time at home, because everything here belongs to you, and I would be very sorry if you weren’t happy.”
“You are very kind,” Bella answered. I assure you that your good heart makes me happy. When I think about it you don’t seem so ugly to me.
“Oh, ma’am,” said the Beast, “I have a good heart, but I am no more
what a beast!
“There are many men more brutal than you,” said Beauty, “and I love you better with your figure than others who have the figure of a man and a corrupt, ungrateful, mocking and false heart.” Bella, who was hardly afraid of him, ate with a good appetite; but he thought he was dying of terror when the monster said to him:
“Bella, would you like to be my wife?”
For a long time the girl remained without answering him, since she was afraid of arousing his anger if he refused, and finally she said to him, shuddering:
He wanted to sigh when the poor monster heard it, but nothing came from his chest but a hiss so frightful that it made the entire palace tremble; However, Beauty immediately calmed down, as the Beast said sadly:
“Goodbye, then, Bella,” and he left the room, turning several times to look at her for the last time.
Left alone, Beauty felt great compassion for this poor Beast.
“Ah, what a pity,” he told himself, “that being so good, he is so ugly!”
The palace was full of galleries, halls and rooms containing the most beautiful works of art. In one room there was a cage with exotic birds and not far from it, La Bella found a troop of monkeys of all sizes that advanced towards her making great bows. La Bella liked them so much that she asked to stay with a few to keep her company. Instantly, two tall young monkeys dressed in elegant court suits stepped forward and stood, with great ceremony, beside her. And two small and savvy monkeys picked up the train of the dress as if they were pages. From that moment on, the monkeys always waited for her and attended to her with the care that royal officers give to queens.
Beauty spent three peaceful months in the castle. She felt like a queen, but she was alone all day. Every afternoon the Beast visited her, and entertained and observed her while she ate, with his conversation full of good sense, but never of what in the world they call ingenuity. Every day Beauty found new goodness in the monster, and the habit of seeing him had made her so accustomed to his ugliness that far from dreading the moment of his visit, she frequently looked at the clock to see if it was nine o’clock, since the Beast She never stopped showing up at that time. There was only one thing that saddened her, and that was that the Beast, daily before leaving, asked her every night if she wanted to be his wife, and when she refused, she seemed pierced with pain.
One day he said:
“I’m so sorry, Beast.” Well, I would like to please you, but I am too sincere to allow you to believe that I could ever do so. I must always be your friend: try to be content with this.
“It will be forced on me,” said the Beast
-. I know that in justice I am horrible, but my love is great. In the meantime, I’m happy that you want to stay here. Promise me that you will never abandon me.
Beauty blushed upon hearing these words. He had seen in the mirror that his father was sick with regret for having lost her, and he wanted to see him again.
“I could promise you,” he said to the Beast, “that I will never abandon you, if it were not for the fact that I am so anxious to see my father, that I will die of pain if you deny me that pleasure.”
“I would rather die,” said the monster, “than cause you the least grief. I will send you to your father’s house, and while you are there your Beast of sorrow will die.
“Oh no,” Bella answered, crying, “I love you too much to tolerate it!” I promise to return in eight days. You have made me see that my sisters are married and my brothers in the army. My father is alone. Allow me to spend a week in your company.
“Tomorrow you will be with him,” said the Beast, “but remember your promise.” When you want to return, you just have to put your ring on the table at bedtime. Goodbye beautiful.
The Beast sighed, according to his custom, when he said these words, and Beauty went to bed with the sadness of seeing him so sad.
When he woke up the next morning he was at his father’s house. Little by little a bell by the bed sounded and the maid appeared, who gave a great cry when she saw her. The good father came quickly to his voices, and he believed he was dying of joy because he was recovering his beloved daughter, with whom he was hugged for more than a quarter of an hour and his adventures were recounted during the time that Bella was absent. After these first effusions, Bella remembered that she had no clothes to wear, but the maid told her that in the next room she had found a
chest full of magnificent dresses with gold and diamond ornaments. Grateful for the Beast’s attentions, Beauty asked that they bring her the most modest of those dresses and that they keep the others to give them to her sisters; but as soon as he had given this order, the chest disappeared. His father remarked that the Beast no doubt wanted him to keep the gifts for himself, and instantly the chest reappeared where it had been.
Bella got dressed, and in the meantime they notified the sisters, who came in the company of their husbands. The two were very unhappy in their marriages, since the first had married a gentleman as beautiful as Cupid, but who thought only of his own figure, to which he devoted all his sleeplessness from morning to night, despising beauty. of his wife. The second, on the other hand, had for her husband a man whose great talent only served to mortify everyone, beginning with his wife. When they saw Beauty dressed like a princess, and more beautiful than daylight, they both thought they were dying of pain. Although Bella gave them a thousand caresses, she could not appease their jealousy, which worsened when she told them how happy she felt. The two of them went down to the garden to cry there freely.
- “Why is that little creature so happy?” Are we not more worthy of happiness than she is?
- “Sister,” said the older one, “I have an idea.” Let us try to keep her here for more than eight days: that stupid Beast will then think that she has broken her word, and perhaps devour her.
- “You are right, my sister,” replied the other. And to achieve this we will fill it with compliments.
And having made this resolution, they went back up and gave their sister so many signs of affection that Bella cried with happiness. At the end of the term, they began to pull out their hair and show such signs of distress at his departure that he promised to stay another eight days. However, Bella reproached herself for the sorrow she thus caused to her poor monster, whom she loved with all her heart, and was saddened not to see him. The tenth night that she was at her father’s house, she dreamed that she was in the castle garden, and that she saw how the Beast, inert on the grass, about to die, reproached her for her ingratitude. She woke up with a start, her eyes filling with tears.
“Am I not quite perverse,” she said to herself, “because I cause her so much grief when she loves me so much? Is he to blame for his ugliness and lack of intelligence? Your good heart matters more than anything else. Why shouldn’t I marry him? I will be much happier than my sisters with their husbands. Neither beauty nor intelligence make a woman happy with her husband, but goodness of character, virtue, and the desire to please; and the Beast possesses all these qualities. Although not love, I do have esteem and friendship for him. Why should I be the cause of his misery, if later he would reproach me for my ingratitude all his life? ». With these words, Bella got up,
He put his ring on the table and went back to bed.
As soon as she lay down on the bed, she fell asleep, and when she woke up the next morning she saw with joy that she was in the castle of the Beast. She dressed with all splendor to please him, and she thought she was dying of impatience waiting for it to be nine o‘clock at night; but the monster did not appear when the clock struck. He believed then that he had caused his death, and exhaling deep sighs, on the verge of despair, Bella traveled the entire castle, searching uselessly everywhere. Then he remembered his dream and ran through the garden towards the pond next to which he would see him in his dreams.
There he found the poor Beast on the grass, lost consciousness, and thought he had died. Without the slightest hint of horror he dropped down beside her, and feeling that his heart was still beating, he took some water from the pool and sprayed his head. The Beast opened his eyes and said to Beauty: “You forgot your promise, and the pain of losing you led me to starve.” But now I will die happy, because I had the good fortune to see you once more. “No, my beloved Beast, you are not going to die,” Beauty told him, “but you will live to be my husband.” From this moment I promise you my hand, and I swear that I will not belong to anyone but you.
Ah, I thought that I only had friendship with you, but the pain that I have felt has made me see that I could not live without seeing you! As soon as she had said these words, Beauty saw that the entire palace was illuminated with resplendent lights: the fireworks, the music, everything was the announcement of a great party; but none of these beauties managed to distract her, and she turned to her beloved monster, whose danger made her shudder. What would not be your surprise! The Beast had disappeared and in its place was a prince more beautiful than Love, who thanked him for having put an end to his enchantment. Although this prince deserved all his attention, he couldn’t help but ask where the Beast was.
“Here at your feet,” the prince told him. A certain evil fairy ordered me to remain under that figure, depriving me at the same time of the use of my intelligence, until some beautiful young woman consented to marry me. Throughout the world, you alone have been able to move with the goodness of my heart; Not even by offering you my crown could I show you the gratitude that I keep for you and I will never be able to pay the debt that I have contracted with you. Beauty, pleasantly surprised, held out her hand to the handsome prince to get up. They then went to the castle, and the young woman thought she was dying of happiness when she found her father and the whole family in the great hall,
whom the beautiful lady she saw in her dreams had brought there. “Bella,” said this lady, who was a powerful fairy, “come and receive the prize of your good choice: you have preferred virtue to beauty and intelligence, and therefore you deserve to find all these qualities united in one person.” You will be a great queen: I hope that your virtues will not fade on the throne. And as for you ladies, “added the fairy, turning to her sisters,” I know your hearts and all the malice they contain. Become statues, but keep reason inside the stone that is going to surround you. They will be at the door of Bella’s palace, and I do not put another penalty on them than to be witnesses of their happiness.
They will not be able to return to their first state until they recognize their faults; but I am very afraid that they will never cease to be statues. For one can recover from pride, anger, gluttony and laziness; At this point the fairy struck the ground with a wand and transported everyone in the room to the kingdom of the prince. His subjects received him with joy, and shortly after his marriage to Bella was celebrated, who lived with him for very long years in perfect happiness, since she was founded on virtue.