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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

The beast then opened his eyes


When

the week was ended, the two sisters began to pretend so much grief at the thoughts of her leaving them, that she agreed to stay a week more; but all that time Beauty could not help fretting for the sorrow that she knew her staying would give her poor beast; for she tenderly loved him, and much wished for his company again. The tenth night of her being at the cottage she dreamed she was in the garden of the palace, and that the beast lay dying on a grass plot, and, with his last breath, put her in mind of her promise, and laid his death to her keeping away from him; Beauty awoke in a great fright, and burst into tears. "Am not I wicked," said she, "to behave so ill to a beast who has shown me so much kindness; why will I not marry him? I am sure I should be more happy with him than my sisters are with their husbands. He shall not be wretched any longer on my account; for I should do nothing but blame myself all the rest of my life,"

She then rose, put her ring on the table, got into bed again, and soon fell asleep. In the morning she with joy found herself in the palace of the beast. She dressed herself very finely, that she might please him the better, and thought she had never known a day pass away so slow. At last the clock struck nine, but the beast did not come. Beauty then thought to be sure she had been the cause of his death in earnest. She ran from room to room all over the palace, calling out his name, but still she saw nothing of him.

After looking for him a long time, she thought of her dream, and ran directly towards the grass plot; and there she found the poor beast lying senseless and seeming dead. She threw herself upon his body, thinking nothing at all of his ugliness; and finding his heart still beat, she ran and fetched some water from a pond in the garden, and threw it on his face. The beast then opened his eyes, and said: "You have forgot your promise, Beauty. My grief for the loss of you has made me resolve to starve myself to death; but I shall die content, since I have had the pleasure of seeing you once more." "No, dear beast," replied Beauty, "you shall not die; you shall live to be my husband: from this moment I offer to marry you, and will be only yours. Oh! I thought I felt only friendship for you; but the pain I now feel, shows me that I could not live without seeing you."

The moment Beauty had spoken these words, the palace was suddenly lighted up, and music, fireworks, and all kinds of rejoicings, appeared round about them. Yet Beauty took no notice of all this, but watched over her dear beast with the greatest tenderness. But now she was all at once amazed to see at her feet, instead of her poor beast, the handsomest prince that ever was seen, who thanked her most warmly for having broken his enchantment. Though this young prince deserved all her notice, she could not help asking him what was become of the beast. "You see him at your feet, Beauty," answered the prince, "for I am he. A wicked fairy had condemned me to keep the form of a beast till a beautiful young lady should agree to marry me, and ordered me, on pain of death, not to show that I had any sense. You, alone, dearest Beauty, have kindly judged of me by the goodness of my heart; and in return I offer you my hand and my crown, though I know the reward is much less than what I owe you." Beauty, in the most pleasing surprise, helped the prince to rise, and they walked along to the palace, when her wonder was very great to find her father and sisters there, who had been brought by the lady Beauty had seen in her dream. "Beauty," said the lady (for she was a fairy), "receive the reward of the choice you have made. You have chosen goodness of heart rather than sense and beauty; therefore you deserve to find them all three joined in the same person. You are going to be a great Queen: I hope a crown will not destroy your virtue."

"As for you, ladies," said the fairy to the other two sisters, "I have long known the malice of your hearts, and the wrongs you have done. You shall become two statues; but under that form you shall still keep your reason, and shall be fixed at the gates of your sister's palace; and I will not pass any worse sentence on you than to see her happy. You will never appear in your own persons again till you are fully cured of your faults; and to tell the truth, I am very much afraid you will remain statues for ever."

At the same moment, the fairy, with a stroke of her wand, removed all who were present to the young prince's country, where he was received with the greatest joy by his subjects. He married Beauty, and passed a long and happy life with her, because they still kept in the same course of goodness from which they had never departed.

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