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Once upon a time as a merchant set off for the market, he asked each of his three daughters what she would like as a present on his return. The third, whose name was Beauty 一 the youngest, prettiest and sweetest of them all 一 said to her father: "All I'd like is a rose!"
When the merchant had finished his business, he set off for home. However, in the middle of a wood, he saw a castle. In the garden of the castle, a large rose bush caught his eye.
Remembering his promise to Beauty, he bent down to pick a rose. Instantly, out of the rose garden, sprang a horrible beast, wearing splendid clothes. Two bloodshot eyes glared at him and a terrifying voice growled, "I shall put you to death for the theft of my favorite flowers!"
Trembling with fear, the merchant fell on his knees before the Beast. "Forgive me! The rose wasn't for me, it was for my daughter Beauty!"
"I shall spare your life, but on one condition, that you bring me your daughter!" The terror-stricken merchant promised that he would do so. When he reached home in tears, he told his daughters of his dreadful adventure. Beauty put his mind at rest immediately.
"Dear father, take me to the castle. I'll stay there in your place!" The merchant hugged his daughter.
In the beginning, Beauty was frightened of the Beast. Then she found that, in spite of the monster's awful head, her horror of it gradually faded as time went by.
But Beauty began to feel worried about her family. "Oh, how I wish I could see my father again, before it's too late!"
"If you swear that you will return here in seven days time, I'll let you go and visit your father!"
"I swear! I swear I will!" In reality, the merchant had fallen ill. When he embraced her again, he was soon on the road to recovery. Beauty stayed beside him for hours on end. The days flashed by. Then one night she woke from a terrible nightmare. She had dreamt that the Beast was dying and calling for her, twisting in agony.
The solemn promise she had made drove her to leave home immediately. She rushed towards the castle, calling, but there was no reply. Beauty ran into the garden and there crouched the Beast, its eyes shut, as though dead. Beauty threw herself at it and hugged it tightly. "
Don't die! Don't die! I'll marry you...." At these words, a miracle took place.
The Beast's ugly snout turned magically into the face of a handsome, young man.
An evil witch turned him into a monster and only the love of a maiden willing to accept him as he was, could transform him back into his real self.
2005-08-29 19:06:16 補充：