ONCE UPON A time there was a wealthy merchant who had three beautiful daughters. He spoiled them so much that the younger two girls did little all day but sit before the mirror, gazing at their own beauty and pinching their cheeks to make them red .
One day the merchant had to leave on a journey. “What shall I bring you when I return?” he asked .
The youngest daughter requested gowns of silk and lace .
The middle daughter requested rubies and emeralds .
The eldest daughter requested only a rose .
The merchant was gone several months. For his youngest daughter, he filled a trunk with gowns of many colors. For his middle daughter, he scoured the markets for jewels. But only when he found himself close to home did he remember his promise of a rose for his eldest child .
He came upon a large iron fence that stretched along the road. In the distance was a dark mansion and he was pleased to see a rosebush near the fence bursting with red blooms. Several roses were easily within reach .
It was the work of a minute to cut a flower. The merchant was tucking the blossom into his saddlebag when an angry growl stopped him .
A cloaked figure stood where the merchant was certain no one had been a moment earlier. He was enormous and spoke with a deep rumble. “You take from me with no thought of payment?”
“Who are you?” the merchant asked, quaking .
“Suffice it to say I am one from whom you steal.”
The merchant explained that he had promised his daughter a rose after a long journey .
“You may keep your stolen rose , ” said the figure, “but in exchange, give me the first of your possessions you see upon your return.” He then pushed back his hood to reveal the face of a hideous beast, all teeth and snout. A wild boar combined with a jackal .
“You have crossed me , ” said the beast. “You will die if you cross me again.”
The merchant rode home as fast as his horse would carry him. He was still a mile away when he saw his eldest daughter waiting for him on the road. “We got word you would arrive this evening!” she cried, rushing into his arms .
She was the first of his possessions he saw upon his return. He now knew what price the beast had truly asked of him .
We all know that Beauty grows to love the beast. She grows to love him, despite what her family might think—for his charm and education, his knowledge of art and his sensitive heart .
Indeed, he is a human and always was one. He was never a wild boar/jackal at all. It was only a hideous illusion .
Trouble is, it’s awfully hard to convince her father of that .
Her father sees the jaws and the snout, he hears the hideous growl, whenever Beauty brings her new husband home for a visit. It doesn’t matter how civilized and erudite the husband is. It doesn’t matter how kind .
The father sees a jungle animal, and his repugnance will never leave him.