A Tale as Old as Time

Hello, readers, I am truly sorry for the little break I took from writing over the past three weeks. However, now I have returned and am ready to explore the many lessons of film and novel. I have decided that it is only right to reward you for your patience and so I am going to write three separate blogs. Therefore, I invite you to pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea or coffee, sit down and enjoy.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words once upon a time I wonder? When I hear those iconic words I personally think of two distinct things. The first thing I think of is the tv show that airs every Sunday night at eight on ABC by the same name. The second,  thing that comes to mind is fairy tales. Every classic fairy tale that I can think of begins with these words or at least some variation of them. With this in mind, I would like love to express some thoughts about my favorite fairytale Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.

The tale is as follows:

A wealthy widowed merchant lives in a mansion with his three daughters. All are equal in beauty, but the youngest, Beauty, is kind and pure of heart; while the two elders, in contrast, are wicked, selfish, vain and secretly taunt and treat Beauty more like a servant than a sister. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea. He and his daughters are consequently forced to live in a small farmhouse and work for their living. After some years of this, the merchant hears that one of the trade ships he had sent off has arrived back in port, having escaped the destruction of its compatriots. He returns to the city to discover whether it contains anything valuable. Before leaving, he asks his daughters if they wish for him to bring any gifts back for them. The oldest two ask for clothing, jewels, and the finest dresses possible, thinking his wealth has returned. Beauty is satisfied with the promise of a rose, as none grow in their part of the country. The merchant, to his dismay, finds that his ship’s cargo has been seized to pay his debts, leaving him without money to buy his daughters their presents.

During his return, the merchant becomes lost in a forest. Seeking shelter, he enters a dazzling palace. A hidden figure opens the giant doors and silently invites him in. The merchant finds tables inside laden with food and drink, which seem to have been left for him by the palace’s invisible owner. The merchant accepts this gift and spends the night there. The next morning as the merchant is about to leave, he sees a rose garden and recalls that Beauty had desired a rose. Upon picking the loveliest rose he can find, the merchant is confronted by a hideous “Beast” which tells him that for taking his most precious possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The merchant begs to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him give the rose to Beauty, but only if the merchant will return.
However, Beauty agrees to go in place of her father and live with the beast for the rest of her days…

Although there are many different versions of Beauty and the Beast, it is my purest belief that Walt Disney does it the best. Yes, it true that it is a movie full of fun musical numbers and in a lot of ways it’s geared toward the younger generation but, it still captures the true lesson of the story. Beauty and the Beast preach that people should not love for what is seen from the outside, but what is seen in the heart. God tells us that He looks at a person’s heart, not their outward appearance. This is why Beauty and the Beast remain to be my favorite fairytale. At its core, the story is about two people who are able to look beyond what they see with their eyes and look inward at each other’s heart. This is what love is truly about loving someone because of what is in their heart and not just their washboard abs or because they have nice hair. This is why in my most humble opinion it is the most beautiful fairytale of all.

Disney was able to stay true to the fairytale itself while adding their signature fun and entertaining elements. It is able to not only teach its important lesson to children while keeping it relevant for even the adults in the room. It is a beautiful story that needs to be told especially in a society like this one. A society where so much of our value is dependent on our looks and who we hang out with. Therefore, readers, I challenge you to take time out of your life and revisit a tale as old as time

 

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