About the fairytale

Beauty and the Beast is an old folktale or fairytale that dates back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. In a nutshell, it's the story of a beautiful young woman who is forced to go and live with a terrifying beast-like man. But what starts as a frightening experience, turns out to be a joy, as Beauty and the Beast get to know each other and become such good friends, that when they are separated, the Beast pines for love of Beauty.

When Beauty returns, she sees the Beast dying, and her loving tears turn him back into the handsome prince he was before he was cursed to live as half-man, half-animal. Naturally, they live happily ever after.

Beauty and the Beast is a wonderful and enduring story that has a lot of layers to it. It can be read as an adventure, or a mystery, or for the obvious moral that it is the person inside, rather than his or her appearance, that's valuable. It is also a lesson about how you can learn to love someone who at first seems scary. I imagine that this was a vital thing to know back in the days when most marriages were arranged ones. But deeper than that, there is a core myth lurking here in the children's story. A tale about the power and mystery of love, magic and nature. A story about a human who can transform into an animal and back again.

Many fairytales have themes that blur the boundaries between the human and animal worlds. Little Red Riding Hood has a wolf who pretends to be a human. Goldilocks has a girl who lives as a bear. The Little Mermaid is about a sea creature who becomes a human for the sake of love, in a sort of reverse of the Beauty and the Beast myth.

Many cultures have related traditions. For example, there is the Children of Lir story here in Ireland, in which a king's children are turned into swans and only freed by the sound of sacred music. In Scotland, there is the story of Tam Lin, the man who is stolen by the fairies and whose lover has to free him by holding him tight even as he turns into a succession of scary animals.

Sometimes fairytales have echoes in folk traditions. In England, one village has a festival where once a year, the local young people dress up with antlers on their heads and do a long dancing journey encircling the village as part of the festivities. Although it's a community activity now, possibly it used to be a religious ceremony in the past, perhaps one connected with hunting. No one knows how far back the tradition goes, but the antlers they wear are at least a thousand years old.

However old the story of Beauty and the Beast is, it still has a powerful grip on the imagination. Wikipedia has a good entry on the fairytale, and Zoe Rascoe has a essay on the first printed versions of it and there have been many representations of it in art down the years. The story was updated into a cult TV series about a heroic beast, Vincent, who saves a beautiful and compassionate lawyer, Catherine, from an attack. See Marina's Beauty and the Beast site dedicated to the show, for more information. It's interesting to note that Vincent's unusual appearance comes not from magic but from genetic alteration. More recently, the Disney version was the first animated movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar! So I think it's safe to say that the appeal of this ancient tale is still as fresh today as when it was first told.

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About this site

True Love is the only fanlisting for the fairytale of Beauty and Beast listed at the Fanlistings Network. The site was originally opened by Tess, who was kind enough to allow me to adopt it in July 2008.

If you haven't come across a site of this type before, a fanlisting is a place for all fans of a particular author, movie, book, etc. to connect. To my mind, it's a great excuse to build a little tribute site. :) There are over 50,000 fanlistings in existence and the number is growing every day. Some are simple fanlistings and some are part of a much bigger website. Find out more about the fanlistings phenomenon at the Fanlistings Network.

This site is designed to be web standards compliant, viewable with any browser, and is valid XHTML and CSS. The site owner and maintainer is me, Tehomet. If you have any questions or comments, drop me a line. To see what other projects I am interested in, go to my domain. Thank you for visiting.