Beauty and the Beast Around the World

December 2, 2014

weast_nielsen1Beauty and the Beast is a very old story that has been told many times, >search in many different ways, and in many different places. Sometimes what the beast looks like changes (a pig, a bull, a monkey, a frog, even a fish!). Here are some of the other versions of the story. You can find these stories, and many others, in your local library.

La Belle et La Bete: The first written-down version of the story titled Beauty and the Beast was written by a woman named Madame Le Prince de Beaumont in 1756. In this version, Beauty has two older, lazy sisters. When their father is about to take a long journey, the sisters ask for expensive things, but the youngest asks only for a rose. From there, the story is very similar to the one you saw at the Arden or might know already.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon: This version is even older than Beauty and the Beast and comes from Scandinavia. In this story, a young woman is made to leave home and marry a bear. It turns out that the bear is really a prince. He was enchanted by an evil troll, and becomes a man again at night.

The Clinking Clanking Lowesleaf: Instead of a rose, in this German version, the youngest daughter asks for “a clinking clanking lowesleaf” from her father. Even experts aren’t sure what a “clinking clanking lowesleaf” is, so it isn’t surprising that Beauty’s father can’t find one. Fortunately, a beast—a giant black dog—is able to help him locate the leaf. But of course, the gift comes with a price!

The Fairy Serpent: In this version from China, the Beast is an enchanted snake, and he insists that Beauty marry him while he is still a snake. He is so nice to her that Beauty comes to like him. Eventually, when she learns to love him, he turns into a prince.

Little Broomstick: This is another version of the story from Germany. In this story, Beauty has a best friend named Little Broomstick who goes with her to the Beast’s castle.

These are just a few versions of the story. There are others from places like Denmark, where the beast is an enchanted horse and Italy, where Beauty is called Zelinda. There are even grown up versions of this story like Jane Eyre written by a woman named Charlotte Bronte and Pride and Prejudice written by a woman named Jane Austen.

Can you tell your own version of Beauty and the Beast? What would your beast look like? What would Beauty ask her father for as a gift? Would Beauty have brothers or sisters or friends?

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