Down the Rabbit Hole

A collection of fables and fairy tales with a dark twist.

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4. The Most Beautiful Girl in the Village

Once upon a time...

There lived a man who was the proud father of the most beautiful girl in the village, Belle. All the young men wanted to marry Belle but only the best would do for the most beautiful girl in the village. The best was a man called Gaston. 

Belle and Gaston were engaged to be married and lots of preparations had to be made. Belle's father had to go to the neighbouring town to fetch flowers for the wedding, but on the way there he became lost when night fell. He came across a castle in the forest  and decided to stay there for the night. The castle was deserted but there was a fire in the hearth and a warm bed ready. In the morning, the man found breakfast waiting. He gathered his things and prepared to leave when he saw a rose on a table. He thought of the flowers he was supposed to get for his daughter's wedding and felt sorry that he had not been able to complete his task. The man took the rose so that he would not go back to his daughter empty handed. The man had almost left the castle when a huge Beast jumped out at him.

"How dare you!" roared the Beast. "I was kind and let you stay in my castle and you repay me by stealing? Now you must pay the price. You will stay here forever!"

"Please," begged the man. "I have a daughter who is getting married. I took the rose for her."

"Very well," replied the Beast. "You may leave but your daughter must take your place." Sorrowfully, the man agreed.

 

The man went home and told his daughter what had happened. Belle was angry that her father had given her up for his own freedom. Her father said that she didn't have to go and that they would find a way around it, but Belle was so angry that she went to the castle where the Beast lived just to spite her father. When she got there, the Beast made Belle his servant and she had to clean the castle from top to bottom. It was hard work and one day Belle fell asleep while she was scrubbing the floor in the great hall. The Beast came in and saw her in the soap suds. He picked her up and carried her to one of the softest bed is the castle and let her sleep for an entire day. When Belle realised how kind the Beast had been to her, her heart softened towards him. They began to talk and laugh together. Belle taught the Beast how to cook and the Beast taught Belle how to ride a horse. They fell in love.

One day, the Beast couldn't stand keeping Belle a prisoner any more. He told her that she should go into the village to fetch some flour to make a cake. 

"Do you trust me so much that you believe that I will come back?" asked Belle.

"No," said the Beast with tears in his eyes. "I doubt I will ever see you again."

 

Belle left the castle and went home to the village. Everyone was happy to see her, especially Gaston as this meant that they could get married now. But Belle told Gaston that she was going back to the Beast as she loved him. Gaston was so  angry that he struck Belle in a fit of rage. Belle fell to the ground and hit her head on a rock. the blow killed her instantly. 

As Belle never returned to the Beast, he assumed that she did not love him. Rather than spend the rest of his life alone, the Beast stabbed himself in the heart. He fell to the ground and over the years, the ground swallowed him and roses bloomed in the place where he lay.

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