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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

The merchant had very little appetite


The

merchant was so grieved at the thoughts of losing his child, that he never once thought of the chest filled with gold; but at night, to his great surprise, he found it standing by his bedside. He said nothing about his riches to his eldest daughters, for he knew very well it would at once make them want to return to town; but he told Beauty his secret, and she then said, that while he was away, two gentlemen had been on a visit to their cottage, who had fallen in love with her two sisters. She then begged her father to marry them without delay; for she was so sweet-tempered, that she loved them for all they had used her so ill, and forgave them with all her heart. When the three months were past, the merchant and Beauty got ready to set out for the palace of the beast. Upon this, the two sisters rubbed their eyes with an onion, to make believe they shed a great many tears; but both the merchant and his sons cried in earnest. There was only Beauty who did not, for she thought that this would only make the matter worse. They reached the palace in a very few hours, and the horse, without bidding, went into the same stable as before. The merchant and Beauty walked towards the large hall, where they found a table covered with every dainty, and two plates laid ready. The merchant had very little appetite; but Beauty, that she might the better hide her grief, placed herself at the table, and helped her father; she then began herself to eat, and thought all the time that to be sure the
beast had a mind to fatten her before he eat her up, as he had got such good cheer for her. When they had done their supper, they heard a great noise, and the good old man began to bid his poor child farewell, for he knew it was the beast coming to them. When Beauty first saw his frightful form, she could not help being afraid; but she tried to hide her fear as much as she could. The beast asked her if she had come quite of her own accord, and though she was now still more afraid than before, she made shift to say, "Y-e-s." "You are a good girl, and I think myself very much obliged to you." He then turned towards her father, and said to him, "Good man, you may leave the palace to-morrow morning, and take care never to come back to it again. Good night, Beauty." "Good night, beast," said she; and then the monster went out of the room.

"Ah! my dear child," said the merchant, kissing his daughter, "I am half dead already, at the thoughts of leaving you with this dreadful beast; you had better go back, and let me stay in your place." "No," said Beauty boldly, "I will never agree to that; you must go home to-morrow morning." They then wished each other good night, and went to bed, both of them thinking they should not be able to close their eyes; but as soon as ever they had laid down, they fell into a deep sleep, and did not wake till morning. Beauty dreamed that a lady came up to her, who said, "I am very much pleased, Beauty, with the goodness you have shown, in being willing to give your life to save that of your father; and it shall not go without a reward." As soon as Beauty awoke, she told her father this dream; but though it gave him some comfort, he could not take leave of his darling child without shedding many tears. When the merchant got out of sight, Beauty sat down in the large hall, and began to cry also; yet she had a great deal of courage, and so she soon resolved not to make her sad case still worse by sorrow, which she knew could not be of any use to her, but to wait as well as she could till night, when she thought the beast would not fail to come and eat her up. She walked about to take a view of all the palace, and the beauty of every part of it much charmed her.


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