The story of Belle from Beauty and the Beast has gone through many transformations over the years. The origins can be traced back to as early as 1695 by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve. The original story was 100 pages long!
The story explored the more romantic side and stayed true to the ways of the world at that time – women had no choice who they were to marry.
Villeneuve’s Beauty and the Beast story was changed and shortened by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont and published in 1756. It is this story that is close to the wonderful version we all know and love today.
One night an old beggar woman arrives at a castle desperate for shelter from the cold and in return she offers the prince a rose. In horror and disgust at her dishevelled appearance, he turns her away, but the old woman warns him not to judge by someone’s appearance. He ignores her and closes the door. The old beggar woman then reveals her true self – a beautiful enchantress. The prince tries to apologise and make amends for his judgemental behaviour, but the woman had already seen his true colours and would hear none of it. She transformed him into a terrible beast, his household into household items and turned the castle into a dark and scary place to teach him not to judge others by their appearances. The curse can only be broken if he receives another’s love in return before the last petal of the rose withers and falls. If he doesn’t he will remain a beast forever.
The years went by
As the years pass, the Beast sits in his castle despairing that no one will ever love him back and becomes increasingly anxious that he is to remain a beast forever …..
Some years later, a beautiful but poor girl from a small village named Belle receives unwelcome attention from a local hunter named Gaston. Belle is seen as a bit strange by her fellow village people because she loves books and does nothing but read. Gaston meanwhile is an egotistical male who cares for nothing cultural. It makes Belle feel lonely and one day she revealed her deep feelings of loneliness to her father Maurice, an inventor. Maurice wasn’t really listening as he had created his next invention and soon set off for town with it.
He got lost and loses his horse in the pitch black of the night and during a terrible storm. Chasing from wolves, he grows tired and seeks shelter. He stumbles across a most mysterious castle and one by one the household items greet him and welcome them into their home.
Discovering the man, the Beast becomes enraged and locks him in the dungeon.
Back at home, Gaston arranges a wedding ceremony outside Belle’s house where he proposes to her showing what sort of life they could have. She tries to decline in a polite way, but he corners her and tries to kiss her. Belle swiftly moves out of the way leaving Gaston falling flat into the mud in front of the entire town. His ego was shattered.
Just then, Maurice’s horse returned home without him and Belle started to worry. She set out to search for him and soon discovers the castle and the dungeon where her father was being kept prisoner. Belle offers herself in exchange for her father’s life and as the Beast emerges, Belle becomes terrified, but still refuses to back down. He agrees, releases Maurice and puts Belle in his place.
Belle becomes sad and in sympathy for her, the Beast moves her to a room in the castle instead. He also gives her permission to explore the castle but NOT the west wing. He doesn’t explain why, but invites her for dinner.
Back in the village, Gaston is still unhappy and the other residents are unable to cheer him up. Maurice arrives and tells the story of this terrible Beast and how Belle must be rescued at once. They didn’t believe him and call him crazy, so Maurice sets off to search for Belle. Gaston also has a plan – to finally get Belle to marry him. The two parties set off unaware of each other’s plans.
The friendship blossoms
At the castle, Belle refuses to eat with the Beast. The Beast becomes furious and shuts himself away in the west wing. The servants feed her, entertain her and taking advantage of the situation, Belle asks for a tour of the castle. The servants oblige but Belle manages to sneak off and enter the west wing. The Beast finds her and displays the most terrible temper which has Belle running for her life. She runs into the forest and is attacked by wolves. The Beast finds her, fights off the creatures, but in doing so he is wounded. Belle tends to him and they start to become friends. So much so, that he gives her full use of the library, which fills her with pure excitement.
Things get better and better and he takes her to his magic mirror, so Belle can have anything she desires. She requests to see her father, but is horrified to see him lost and sick in the forest. The Beast realises he has fallen in love with Belle and wanting to see her happy releases her so she may find her father. As a leaving gift he gives her the mirror so she may always remember him.
Belle takes her father back to the village, where a mob has gathered to take Maurice to the asylum. He will be spared on one condition. That Belle marry Gaston.
Belle uses the mirror to show everyone the Beast, but they become terrified at the sight of him and declare her as crazy as her father. Gaston orders them all to storm the castle and kill the Beast. Gaston locks Belle and Maurice away so they cannot stop them. With the help of Chip the teacup, who jumped in Belle’s satchel, they all escape and race to the castle.
Gaston has found the beast, corned him in the west wing and is attacking him. The Beast grabs Gaston and as he begs for his life, the beast tells him never to return as he sees Belle has entered the room. As the Beast goes to Belle, Gaston suddenly stabs him in the back but as he does so, falls over the balcony to his death. The wound is fatal and as the Beast dies, Belle tells him she loves him just as the last petal falls from the rose.
The spell is broken.
The Beast turns back into a handsome prince, the castle becomes beautiful again and the enchanted objects become humans.
The prince and Belle live happily ever after.
Capture Belle in all her glory with this beautiful figurine. Available to order now.