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Fairy Tale Heronies: Beauty and the Beast
Natural Media, 5 January AD 2012
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This is the sixth picture in a ten part series entitled Fairy Tale Heroines. I chose to recreate these characters, capturing the essence of their story in one picture. I want each picture to be complex, unique, and interesting. Perhaps some of them will even have a little twist. ;)

As a side note, this was the hardest picture to draw, thus far. I wanted the beast to look beastly, while still keeping his humanity. Really hard! Kudos to Disney on how well they were able to pull this off.

La Belle et la BĂȘte is a traditional fairy tale that was adapted in 1756 to become the very popular Beauty and the Beast.

A wealthy merchant lived in a mansion with his three daughters, all of whom were very beautiful, but only the youngest is pure of heart. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea, and he and his daughters must therefore live in a small farmhouse and work for their living. After some years of this, the merchant hears that one of the trade ships he had sent off has arrived back in port, having escaped the destruction of its compatriots; therefore, he returns to the city to discover whether it contains anything of monetary value. Before leaving, he asks his daughters whether they desire that he bring them any gift upon his return. His two elder daughters ask for jewels and fine dresses, thinking that his wealth has returned; Belle is satisfied with the promise of a rose, as none grow in their part of the country. The merchant, to his dismay, finds that his ship's cargo has been seized to pay his debts, leaving him without money to buy his daughters their presents.

During his return, he becomes lost in a forest. Seeking shelter, he enters a dazzling palace. He finds inside tables laden with food and drink, which have apparently been left for him by the palace's unseen owner. The merchant accepts this gift and spends the night. The next morning as the merchant is about to leave, he sees a rose garden and recalls that Belle had desired a rose. Upon picking the loveliest rose he finds, the merchant is confronted by a hideous 'Beast', which tells him that for taking his (the Beast's) most precious possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The merchant begs to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him give the rose to Belle, only if the merchant will return, or his daughter goes to the castle in his place.

Belle does go to live with the Beast and, in the end, meets her Prince Charming.