This is a collection of colored illustrations from Beauty and the Beast, published by Routledge and Sons as part of Crane's series of "Tot Books". The story is an adaptation of the traditional fairy tale, which has many variants.
In its essential form, a merchant has three daughters. All are beautiful but only Belle (whose name means Beautiful in French) is good and pure; the others are wicked and mean. One day the merchant loses his fortune due to a wreck at sea. He arrives at an enchanted mansion full of riches. The house seems abandoned and he could take whatever treasure he likes, but the impoverished man only takes a rose. To his surprise this causes the owner of the house to appear, a hideous beast.
The beast tells the merchant that he must die for what he has done. The merchant protests that he had only taken the rose for his daughter Belle. The Beast relents and says that the merchant may bring the rose to Belle but only on condition that he returns later to face his fate, and he must not tell anyone. The merchant agrees and the Beast allows the merchant to depart, outfitting him with jewels and rich clothes.
The merchant returns home and gives the rose to Belle. After a lot of prying from Belle, the merchant reveals the bargain that he has made. Belle decides to go back to the Beast's home to plead for her father's life.
The Beast is smitten with Belle and makes her the mistress of his castle. Every day he asks her to marry him but every day she refuses, repulsed by his hideousness.
She eventually leaves the castle but by means of a magic mirror discovers that after she has left the Beast is dying of a broken heart. She returns to the Beast by means of a magic ring, also given to her by the Beast, and cries over him that she loves him. In that moment, the spell which had turned a handsome prince into a beast is broken and the Beast is revealed to be marriageable material, and rich to boot. The Princess will now not have to marry an actual beast and she has been saved from committing a crime against nature. Love conquers all and the two live happily ever after.
The story has some resemblance to the Frog Prince in which a princess's kiss frees a prince from a spell which had turned him into a hideous toad.
The story of Beauty and the Beast has been remade into a Disney movie, a stupid series featuring a lion faced sewer dweller lusting after the woman from one of the Terminator movies, as well as several other variants.
Walter Crane's illustrations portray the Beast as some sort of bipedal boar. There are a total of six illustrations in this series, each executed in vivid detail.
|Beauty and the Beast Illustrations|