Once upon a time there was a boisterous, little boy who had the destiny of breaking an unbreakable curse. However, nobody knew of that destiny because the curse in question was only a myth. A fairy tale told by grandmothers to their grandchildren. In fact, that was exactly how the hero of our tale first learned of his providence.
The day Beau heard about the beast was an extraordinary one. He was seven-years-old and the Duchy of Guise was lit up from top to bottom for the upcoming ball. All the guests were ecstatic and even though little Beau was confined to his rooms for the evening, he was ecstatic as well. But his reasons had more to do with his grand-mère’s visit and less with dancing stately minuets.
“How about the tale of the Mighty Merman?” the Grand Duchess asked, flipping through the pages of Enchanteresse de Villeneuve’s Fabled Tales. She was going to read him a bed time story, as she always did when she came over. That was because she loved her grandson and didn’t much care for large gatherings. It was a perfect arrangement.
Beau shook his head. He had heard about the merman twice before.
“The Sleeping King then?” she offered.
The Duchess flipped through the book in search of something new, when she came upon, “The Tale of the Beast of Forêt des Loges.”
That piqued the boy’s interest, so the Duchess sat him on her lap and began.
“In a village long forgotten by the world, there lived a ghastly beast,” she read. “It resided amidst enchanted bake-ovens and timeworn cabinets that did nothing but spew cryptic nonsense at weary travelers.”
“How could a cabinet talk?” the little boy asked, sipping hot chocolate. It was a rare treat, even for the King of France, but Beau’s parents had acquired it from the New World a week ago and he didn’t let it go to waste.
The Duchess smiled. “Because of the enchantments, mon chéri. The beast, on the other hand, never took kindly to strangers and scared them away with its deafening roars.”
“The beast must have been very frightening, grand-mère.”
“Oh, it was the most frightening creature anyone ever saw” the Duchess said, lowering her voice down to a thrilling whisper. “Untamed fur covered it from head to toe, talons as sharp as kitchen knives constituted its fingers, and terrifying fangs sprouted from its mouth ready to devour children. It towered three meters tall, taller than any of the knights, and howled to the sky every blue moon. But the most frightening feature of all were its eyes.”
“They were yellow and bloodshot and spelled death for anybody who looked into them.”
The boy’s mouth gaped open, his imagination already toiling hard to conjure the beast up in all of its terrifying glory.
“But it’s said that the beast hadn’t always been a beast,” the Duchess continued, readjusting her hold on the wriggling child. “And the village hadn’t always been populated with enchanted objects. Many years ago it used to be a thriving town in Forêt des Loges. Every Market Day, merchants came from there to trade goods of the forest in exchange for spices and fruits. But then on a dark and stormy evening something terrible happened to the villagers.”
“The beast came?” Beau asked, wide-eyed. Chocolate was smeared all over his lips. Some drops had even gotten onto his vest but the Duchess didn’t scold him as his mother would have.
“No. In the village, there lived a girl as beautiful as a rose. Her hair was said to be long and bright like the flames of a dancing fire and her eyes so green that they made the forest envious. She was the daughter of a village gardener and even though they had no dowry to speak of, suitors flocked to her like flies to honey. And amongst those eager suitors was a sorcerer. He was tall and handsome but his heart was black as coal. He wanted the gardener’s daughter for himself and when she refused his hand in marriage, he cursed her along with the entire village. The girl found herself growing fur as thick as a wolf’s and fangs as sharp as a bear’s. ‘If I can’t have you,’ the sorcerer said, ‘no one else will’. And as she turned into a monster, the villagers turned into objects. The baker became an oven. The merchant became a sled. And the gardener became a bush of roses.”
Beau set the cup of hot chocolate on the tray and jumped off her lap. Then he raced across his vast quarters to retrieve a toy sword.
“What are you doing?” the Duchess asked.
“I’m going to kill the sorcerer and defeat the beast,” Beau shouted, brandishing his sword every which way.
The Duchess tsked. “You weren’t listening, were you?”
Beau ran around the lavish room, waging imaginary battles with embroidered pillows and velvet curtains. In his mind, he was a fearless knight tearing down all of his menacing enemies with a flick of a blade. “Take that and that.”
“If you defeat the beast,” the Duchess tried to speak over his loud cries, “you kill the girl.”
At that the boy stopped. “No grand-mère, I will defeat the beast to free the girl.” Then he went on with his horseplay, loud and exuberant as ever.
The Duchess smiled.
She couldn’t have known that her blue-eyed, lively boy was indeed fated to break the sorcerer’s evil curse. She couldn’t have known that his courage and goodwill would take him farther than anybody could ever see. And yet, her smile said otherwise.
But, in that instance, Beau was a mere child, not yet strong enough to fight the sorcerer, and the beast was a mere myth, not yet strong enough to rid herself of guilt. And there were still many harsh years the two had to overcome before their destinies could intertwine in a tale as old as time.
Hi guys, I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been really trying to get work done on my novel. This was just a little, cute short I decided to write after seeing Beauty and the Beast. Let me know what you think?
Now it’s back to work for me. Don’t forget to join the club, if you haven’t already.