Beauty and the Beast

ENVY turns sisters to stone . . .


nce upon a time there were three sisters, daughters of a merchant. The two elder deeply envied the youngest her humility. When their father went to market, they asked him to bring them lavish clothes and jewels, but the third sister, whose name was Beauty, said to her father: “All I’d like is a rose you’ve picked specially for me.”
            On his way home, the merchant came upon an empty castle in which he enjoyed the hospitality of a mysterious unseen host. Leaving, he spied a large rose bush and bent to pick a blossom for Beauty. Instantly a horrible beast sprang out. Ungrateful man! I gave you shelter and now you steal my roses! The merchant begged forgiveness, and in exchange for his life, promised to return with his youngest daughter. Beauty agreed to go to the Beast and her sisters feigned sadness despite their joy to be rid of her.
            Beauty was afraid of the creature but the Beast treated her with the utmost courtesy and they became friends. He gave her a mirror in which she could watch her family and when the mirror showed her father sick and alone, Beauty begged to go to him, promising to return to the Beast in only one week.
            At home her sisters encouraged Beauty to stay longer, hoping that the monster, angered by her absence, would devour her when she did return. Beauty, distracted by the happiness of being with her father and the seeming kindness of her sisters, forgot her promise to the Beast. One night, though, she dreamed of the Beast dying and rushed back to the castle to be with him. She loved the Beast she realized, and promised him to be his bride. Her love broke the curse upon the Beast, and he was revealed as her true prince. Her sisters, turned to stone, stood in envious watch over Beauty’s castle forevermore.