DLTK's Fairy Tale Activities
Beauty and the Beast
© Written and illustrated by Kaitlyn Guenther - based on the original fairy tale by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.
Once upon a time there lived a rich merchant and his three daughters. The merchant spent much of his time away; making deals and gathering his fortune. When he was far from home, his two eldest daughters filled their time spending his hard earned money on fancy dresses and the finest jewellery. Unfortunately, when he did return home, they seldom remembered to thank their father for his hard work.
On the other hand, the merchant’s youngest daughter dearly missed her father when he was away on business. She spent most of her time in the library, reading books and escaping to adventurous lands, for she found time passed quickly when she read.
Her older sisters did not spend much time with her; in fact, they were often quite jealous of their younger sister for she was very beautiful. So much so that they often heard the towns people referring to her as “Beauty” when they ventured into town to buy more dresses and more jewellery.
Although Beauty knew that she was considered by all to be a very beautiful young lady, she did not indulge in such vanity. While the townspeople found her humble nature quite remarkable and incredibly kind, her older sisters only grew more jealous. Beauty felt sad that she burdened her sisters so, but no matter how nicely she treated them, her sisters refused to include her. So Beauty preferred to explore the worlds in her books as she waited for her father to return.
During one of his business trips the merchant’s ship was stuck in a terrible storm. The ship was so heavy with goods from the merchant’s business that it nearly sank. The captain told the merchant that they would have to drop all of the goods into the ocean if they wished to avoid a shipwreck. The merchant—wanting nothing more than to return to his beloved daughters—agreed.
When he finally returned home, his worried daughters ran towards him.
His eldest daughter expressed her worries, “Father, we were so worried that you weren’t going to return. How would your business have survived without you?”
The merchant looked concerned as he explained to his daughters the cost of escaping the storm. Upon hearing the news that their father’s business was lost at the bottom of the sea and all of their wealth gone, the two elder daughters buried their faces in their silk handkerchiefs and wept.
Beauty did not pause but, instead, ran towards her father and hugged him so tightly as she spoke softly, “I am so glad you came home safely to us, Father. I don’t know what I would do without you.”
The merchant smiled at Beauty as tears filled his eyes, for Beauty was truly the kindest person.
After the devastation of losing his fortune, the merchant had no choice but to move his daughters to the countryside where they all must learn to live a simpler life.
The move was expensive and the merchant asked that each of his daughters part with some of their possessions. The two eldest daughters refused to sell any of their fancy dresses or fine jewellery.
Seeing how troubled this made her father, Beauty agreed to part with nearly all of her beloved books, “It’s okay Father, I hear the countryside is stunning, I can spend my time exploring the real world now.”
The countryside really was beautiful, and it was the perfect place for Beauty to live. She spent sunny afternoons picking wild flowers and playing with the ducks in a small pond; she was truly happy, which made her father so proud.
Years of life in the country passed as Beauty’s father worked to rebuild his business. With excitement he explained to his daughters that he had finally regained enough wealth to travel again on business. The elder sisters were excited to return to their old lives, but Beauty worried for her father.
“As was our tradition, I will bring you home something from my travels. My daughters, what would you like?“ the merchant asked.
The older sisters began to rattle of lists of new jewels and fancy clothing that they had heard about over the years.
After they finished with their greedy desires, Beauty stepped forward and hugged her father tightly, saying kindly, “I simply want you to return to us safely father, if you wish to bring anything I only desire a rose. It is the one flower that I cannot find in the countryside.”
The merchant’s business trip was not as successful as he had hoped and he ventured home empty handed. In his sadness he steered his horse in the wrong direction and became terribly lost in the forest. The merchant stumbled along for hours, becoming hungrier and more desperate for he had promised his young Beauty that he would return safely.
Luckily, just before night settled in, the merchant came upon a large castle hidden amongst the forest trees. He rode through the castle gardens and tucked his horse into the stables.
Upon entering the castle, the merchant discovered a wonderful feast laid out in front of a warm fire. There was a place set for one person, and being careful not to disturb the food, the merchant waited to speak with the owner. But no one appeared.
After several hours of waiting and listening to his starving belly grumble, the merchant decided to enjoy the feast. He ate until he was so tired he thought he might fall asleep in his, now empty, plate. The merchant stepped away from the table and began exploring the castle, in search of a place to rest. Fortunately, the first room he came upon was an elegant bedroom. The bed was turned down and ready for a night’s sleep, so the merchant climbed in and fell asleep instantly.
When he woke in the morning, the merchant discovered that a fresh outfit had been laid out at the foot of the bed. He treated himself to a breakfast of freshly picked fruit before he decided to leave and find his way home. Before leaving he looked once more around the castle, but when he could not find anyone to thank for the kind hospitality, the merchant gathered his horse and began to prepare for his journey.
Just before he reached the gate, the merchant’s eyes fell upon a rose bush. Remembering Beauty’s request for a rose, the merchant reached out to pick one of the vibrant red flowers. Immediately a tall and frightening figure rose out of the shadows.
“How dare you repay my kindness in this way? I have let you come into my home, I have fed you, I have let you sleep by my warm fires, and yet you choose to steal from my garden in return?” bellowed an angry beast.
The shock merchant stammered on quickly, “I–I’m ss–s–sorry, I simply wanted to bring my youngest d–d–daughter a rose. I promised to return to her safely and I am so g–grateful to you for helping me.”
“I could punish you for this; however, I have a better idea. Bring me one of your daughters. She will live here with me and keep my company until the end of her days.” the beast explained. “Go home to them now, and if you do not return in a month, I will come and punish you instead.”
The merchant travelled home quickly, clutching the rose he had stolen from the Beast’s garden.
When he arrived home his daughters were overjoyed to see him. The eldest daughters’ happiness only lasted until they realized their father had come home empty handed.
“What are we supposed to do now?” the middle daughter wailed.
Their father, tired after his terrible journey, simply sighed and turned to Beauty. He stretched out his hand and presented the most beautiful red rose.
The older sisters, too wrapped up in their lack of fortune, did not pay attention to their father’s tale. They didn’t even hear when Beauty said that she would go to the Beast’s palace in their father’s place.
“Beauty, my child, you are so kind but I cannot let you sacrifice yourself for me,” her father began.
Beauty cut him off, “Father, it will be an adventure like in my books, and if it means you will be safe, then I shall go willingly.”
The next day Beauty and her father rode off towards the Beast’s palace again. Beauty was nervous about what she might find. She knew from her father’s tale that she would not need to bring very many items, for the Beast’s palace was large and seemed to have everything. Instead she simply brought her most cherished books, each which had several wildflowers tucked in between the pages.
Interestingly, Beauty had also brought along two of her little duckling friends from the pond near her house. She often played with them and over the years they had even begun to sleep in her room. They were her closest friends, and since she knew she would be very lonely in such a large castle, she chose to bring them along.
When they finally arrive at the large castle gates, Beauty’s fear lessened as she passed by the beautiful flowers and roses in the garden. She was still in awe as they approached the doors of the castle; however, when she saw the Beast for the first time in the castle entrance, Beauty was overwhelmed with fear.
The Beast opened his mouth to talk. Beauty braced herself, expecting a voice to match his scary appearance. Instead, he said in a soft and kind voice, “Welcome to my home, there is a meal laid out in the dining room. The two of you may dine together, but then you must bid each other farewell.”
Beauty and her Father ate their last meal together and they both tried their best to stay calm and happy. They shared memories from Beauty’s childhood and laughed as Beauty’s two little ducks played with each other near the fireplace.
Unfortunately, it came time to go and Beauty struggled to hold back her tears as her father apologized for their misfortune. Beauty simple hugged him tightly, for she could not speak without crying, and she did not want to worry her father.
When he left the castle, Beauty felt very lonely and incredibly tired. She picked up her duckling friends and went to find a room to rest. She did not see the Beast again that day because the first room she came upon was ready for her to spend the night. The fire was lit, the curtains drawn, and the bed turned down. Beauty lay down in the bed and fell asleep almost instantly, thinking of her loving father as she drifted off.
When she awoke the next morning, Beauty decided to make the most of her situation. There was a lovely and simple dress laid out for her and two cute matching bowties, the perfect size for her duckling friends.
The three of them put on their outfits and ventured outside the warm bedroom to find a nice breakfast laid out on the dining room table. They ate quickly for Beauty was struck with a sudden need to explore. It was such a large castle, and after all, Beauty loved adventures.
Beauty and her ducklings explored all the rooms of the castle. They found a beautiful ballroom with a crystal chandelier. There were warm stables with several cute horses, although none of them seemed quite large enough for the Beast to ride. There was even a nice little pond surrounded by beautiful red rose bushes for the ducklings to splash around in.
Beauty left them there as she went to explore more of the castle and it wasn’t long until she came across the best room. She walked into a room filled with books; there was everything from adventure books, to mysteries, to romance novels. She could have spent an eternity reading in this room. She very quickly ran to her room and gathered the few books she had brought from home and placed them amongst the library’s grand collection. Then she sat in a small little window seat and read all afternoon.
Every once in a while she would look up from her book and see the stables and the pond from the window. However, she became so excited by one of the books that she forgot to look up for several hours. When she finally did peer up from the pages Beauty was startled by what she saw.
The Beast was sitting beside the pond, and even though it was too far to tell, Beauty thought he might even be smiling. The ducklings were still splashing about in the water, except now there were lots of rose petals floating around as well. The ducklings were obviously having fun playing with the Beast.
Beauty was curious because although the Beast appeared to be terrifying and mean, every time she had seen him thus far he had acted very kind. In fact, he seemed kinder than any person she’d ever met.
Beauty gave in to her curiosity and went to speak to the Beast. She sat beside him on a wooden bench beside the pond. He did not say anything at first but instead handed Beauty a rose. She delicately removed each petal and let it float towards the water as the ducklings chirped and splashed happily.
“Why did you ask my father to bring me here?” inquired Beauty, for she felt quite comfortable sitting beside the Beast.
The Beast continued to play with his beautiful red rose as he spoke softly, “I am lonely in this large castle. I supposed I just wanted a friend.”
Beauty knew this wasn’t the whole story, otherwise why would he threaten her father? She voiced her concern and watched as the Beast’s face fell. The sun was falling behind the castle and the shadows fell across the Beast’s face making him appear scary once again.
The Beast sighed and said, ’I supposed since you came willingly you deserve the whole truth. When I was a boy I was very arrogant; I thought that no matter how I treated others I would always be loved, so I was quite mean. Unfortunately I was mean to the wrong people and one day I upset a nasty witch. She thought I needed to be taught a lesson. The witch sent me here and turned me into this ugly creature so that I would never be able to find love no matter how kindly I treat others.”
As the Beast spoke Beauty began to see past his ugly appearance once again, and found herself feeling rather sorry for the Beast, ’it appears that you’ve learnt your lesson now, why hasn’t the witch turned you back?”
“Maybe she doesn’t think I deserve love,” responded the Beast sadly, “Beauty? Do you think you could love me?”
Sadly Beauty shook her head, “you’re so kind, but it would be cruel of me to lie to you. You’re quite terrifying and I could never love someone who scared me like you.”
The Beast rose from the bench and dropped his last few rose petals in the water. “I understand,” he muttered as he left the pond. Just before the Beast had disappeared behind the rose bushes he turned back to Beauty and said, “you may return to your home and your father. I only want to see that you are happy.”
It was a bittersweet goodbye for Beauty, but she packed her few things nonetheless. Beauty returned to the library to collect her books, but she left the other ones, for she did not want to steal from the kind Beast.
She decided to spend one more night in the large castle and planned to return home the next morning. When she awoke and stepped outside with her books and her duckling friends, Beauty found that one of the horses was saddled and ready to go.
Beauty turned towards the castle one last time and waved farewell, hoping that the Beast might be watching her and see the gratitude in her eyes.
Her father was overjoyed to see Beauty return home. He asked her what had happened, and was so proud of his dear Beauty as she told her tale. When her sisters returned from town and saw their younger sister they were not thrilled for they were still very jealous of her kindness and beauty.
“It is so nice to see all of you again, I missed you terribly, but I am tired and really must go to bed,” explained Beauty. When she entered her room she found a large trunk at the foot of her bed. When she opened it she discovered it was filled with things from Beast’s castle.
At the top of the trunk were two of the most elegant dresses Beauty had ever seen, and attached was a note that read: For your sisters. Beauty took the dresses to her sisters and watched as they giggled with joy and tried them on, all while ignoring their kind younger sister.
In the trunk there also lay a bag filled with fine gold and rare trinkets, and attached was a note that read: To help your father’s business grow. She brought the bag down to her father and explained that it was a gift from the Beast. The father stared at the merchandise in disbelief and said, “This gift will make all the difference in the world. I can finally give my family the life they deserve.”
Beauty smiled at her father and returned to her bedroom. She found the ducklings playing in the bottom of the trunk. There were several matching bowties that fit the ducklings perfectly. There were even a few larger bowties that would fit the two young animals when they grew up.
Finally, Beauty’s teary eyes fell upon the last item in the trunk; a beautiful red rose lay at the bottom. The flower was so vibrant it appeared to almost glow, and attached was a note that read: For as long as I live this rose will help you remember me. Please do not forget my kindness.
Beauty enjoyed her time spent with her family. Her older sisters had both found gentlemen at a fancy ball they had attended in their new dresses. The men immediately asked for their hands in marriage, and luckily for the sisters both men were quite rich and lived in town. Although the men were very focused on work and not very kind to her sisters, Beauty was still glad to see them so happy and she was thankful they had each other.
The merchant’s business was growing again, so much so that Beauty’s father approached her with a question. He asked if she would like to move into town again, but Beauty preferred the countryside. Her father only wanted to make Beauty happy, so they remained in their cottage near the duck pond. Her father was travelling for business again, so Beauty filled her time reading books, but she longed for the wonderful library in the Beast’s castle.
Beauty often wondered how Beast was doing. The rose he gave her sat beside her bed where she would gaze at it every night before drifting off to sleep, wondering at the magic that kept it as fresh as the day she’d first seen it. One morning when she woke up, Beauty realized that the rose had lost several petals and it no longer appeared as beautiful and red.
Beauty was so worried that something had happened to the kind Beast that she immediately rode towards his castle on the horse he had gifted her several years ago. When she arrived at the castle doors, Beauty knocked on the doors. She was so scared when no one answered that she called out, “Beast! Please open the doors! It is me, Beauty. Your rose is dying and I miss you. Please open the doors!”
When nothing happened, Beauty cried out one more time, “Please, Beast, you are so kind and I was wrong. I can love you… I do love you!”
Several minutes passed and Beauty began to cry on the steps of the castle. All of a sudden she heard quacking on the steps of the castle. Her duckling friends must have snuck into her bag when she was at home. She opened her eyes and was startled to see a handsome prince kneeling beside her and playing with her ducklings.
He looked towards Beauty and smiled softly, “I love you too, Beauty. I am so thankful that you returned.”
“Beast? That cannot be you!” Beauty exclaimed in surprise, “You’ve changed so much.”
“My name is Benedict and I am a prince from a land not far from here. The witch’s curse would only last until I could find someone to love me despite my mean and ugly appearance,” he explained.
Beauty was still very shocked but managed to ask, “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“I wanted you to love me because I was kind. I wanted you to love me for me,” said Benedict.
Beauty and her Prince returned home and when she saw her father and her sisters, she explained the whole story. Her father was overjoyed that Beauty had found a kind man to love and cherish her. Immediately, her father gave Benedict his blessing to marry Beauty.
Unfortunately, Beauty’s sister became jealous once more, for their younger sister had found a prince and he owned a castle and a kingdom! Beauty was sad for her sisters because they would never be truly happy.
Benedict was so kind to Beauty, and on their wedding day she carried a beautiful bouquet of red roses. In her new castle there was an even bigger library and the window seat was now large enough for both Beauty and Benedict to sit together and read. The two kind and humble people spent the rest of their days together and they were very happy.