There was once a merchant, and he had three daughters. Two of them liked to dress up in beautiful, expensive clothes and jewellery, the third wore plain clothes and her favourite thing of all was books. Her name was Bella, but they called her Beauty because she was really beautiful.
The merchant was just returning from a long journey where he had been selling and buying all sorts of things. He was taking new clothes for his two vain daughters, but he couldn’t find anything for Beauty. He wanted to be home soon, so he thought he would take a shortcut through the dark forest. He was passing an abandoned castle on the way when he noticed the beautiful white roses blooming at its gates. That would make a nice present for Bella, he thought, so he picked one.
“How dare you pick my roses?“ came a thunderous voice behind him.
The merchant was shocked. When he turned around, he was shocked a second time. Behind him was a man, but he wasn’t quite a man. He had an animal head and paws, well, he looked like an animal.
“I, I, I, I’m so sorry, precious- precious- precious sir,“ the merchant stammered. „It was supposed to be a present for my daughter.”
“Is she as beautiful as my roses?”
“All three are beautiful,“ smiled the merchant.
“If you want to leave alive, one of them must come to me, as a volunteer to serve me. Otherwise I will come for you,“ threatened the beast.
The merchant, beside himself with fear, hurried home.
At home he told what had happened to him on the way. The two vain daughters did not even think of going to the castle. But Beauty went willingly. And she had a good time with the animal. She was afraid of him at first, but the animal was nice to her. She soon got used to its strange appearance. But what bothered was that her father must be worried about her. So she begged the animal to let her go home. Just briefly, to tell her father she was well. And because the animal liked her, it agreed.
“But you must go back before the sun goes down. I would die of sadness without you,“ said the animal, and he let Beauty go.
Beauty returned home. Her father was very happy and promised never to let her go back to that terrible monster. In vain was Beauty’s explanation that he was a good animal and that she loved him. Her father locked Beauty in her room and refused to let her out.
The sun was sinking towards the west when Beauty managed to escape through the window. She mounted her horse and raced for her life to the old castle where the beast lived.
She was too late. She found the animal lying on the ground, breathing weakly.
“I’m back, my animal. Don’t die. I love you,“ cried Beauty, and one tear fell on the animal.
At that moment, the animal turned into a beautiful young man. He opened his eyes.
“My Beauty! You have rescued me from a terrible curse! Will you become my wife?”
Beauty gladly agreed. And so the great wedding soon took place. Beauty’s sisters turned green with envy when it turned out that a cursed young prince was walking around in animal skin. Belle and the Beast, they both liked each other very much, and if they didn’t die, they would still live in that castle today.