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Otherwise swear that thou wilt return and
place thyself at my disposal."

So the merchant swore, and taking his rose mounted his horse and rode
home.

As soon as he got into his house his daughters came rushing round him,
clapping their hands and showing their joy in every way, and soon he
gave the necklace to his eldest daughter, the chain to his second
daughter, and then he gave the rose to his youngest, and as he gave it
he sighed. "Oh, thank you, Father," they all cried. But the youngest
said, "Why did you sigh so deeply when you gave me my rose?"

"Later on I will tell you," said the merchant.

So for several days they lived happily together, though the merchant
wandered about gloomy and sad, and nothing his daughters could do
would cheer him up till at last he took his youngest daughter aside
and said to her, "Bella, do you love your father?"

"Of course I do, Father, of course I do."

"Well, now you have a chance of showing it"; and then he told her of
all that had occurred with the Beast when he got the rose for her.
Bella was very sad, as you can well think, and then she said, "Oh,
Father, it was all on account of me that you fell into the power of
this Beast; so I will go with you to him; perhaps he will do me no
harm; but even if he does better harm to me than evil to my dear
father."

So next day the merchant took Bella behind him on his horse, as was
the custom in those days, and rode off to the dwelling of the Beast.
And when he got there and they alighted from his horse the doors of
the house opened, and what do you think they saw there! Nothing. So
they went up the steps and went through the hall, and went into the
dining-room and there they saw a table spread with all manner of
beautiful glasses and plates and dishes and napery, with plenty to eat
upon it. So they waited and they waited, thinking that the owner of
the house would appear, till at last the merchant said, "Let's sit
down and see what will happen then." And when they sat down invisible
hands passed them things to eat and to drink, and they ate and drank
to their heart's content. And when they arose from the table it arose
too and disappeared through the door as if it were being carried by
invisible servants.

Suddenly there appeared before them the Beast who said to the
merchant, "Is this thy youngest daughter?" And when he had said that
it was, he said, "Is she willing to stop here with me?" And then he
looked at Bella who said, in a trembling voice, "Yes, sir."

"Well, no harm shall befall thee." With that he led the merchant down
to his horse and told him he might come that day week to visit his
daughter. Then the Beast returned to Bella and said to her, "This
house with all that therein is thine; if thou desirest aught clap
thine hands and say the word and it shall be brought unto thee." And
with that he made a sort of bow and went away.

So Bella lived on in the home with the Beast and was waited on by
invisible servants and had whatever she liked to eat and to drink; but
she soon got tired of the solitude and, next day, when the Beast came
to her, though he looked so terrible, she had been so well treated
that she had lost a great deal of her terror of him. So they spoke
together about the garden and about the house and about her father's
business and about all manner of things, so that Bella lost altogether
her fear of the Beast. Shortly afterwards her father came to see her
and found her quite happy, and he felt much less dread of her fate at
the hands of the Beast. So it went on for many days, Bella seeing and
talking to the Beast every day, till she got quite to like him, until
one day the Beast did not come at his usual time, just after the
midday meal, and Bella quite missed him. So she wandered about the
garden trying to find him, calling out his name, but received no
reply. At last she came to the rose-bush from which her father had
plucked the rose, and there, under it, what do you think she saw!
There was the Beast lying huddled up without any life or motion. Then
Bella was sorry indeed and remembered all the kindness that the Beast
had shown her; and she threw herself down by it and said, "Oh,
Beast, Beast, why did you die? I was getting to love you so much."

[Illustration: _Beauty and the Beast_]

No sooner had she said this than the hide of the Beast split in two
and out came the most handsome young prince who told her that he had
been enchanted by a magician and that he could not recover his natural
form unless a maiden should, of her own accord, declare that she loved
him.

Thereupon the prince sent for the merchant and his daughters, and he
was married to Bella, and they all lived happy together ever
afterwards.




[Illustration: Reynard]

REYNARD AND BRUIN


You must know that once upon a time Reynard the Fox and Bruin the Bear
went into partnership and kept house together. Would you like to know
the reason? Well, Reynard knew that Bruin had a beehive full of
honeycomb, and that was what he wanted; but Bruin kept so close a
guard upon his honey that Master Reynard didn't know how to get away
from him and get hold of the honey. So one day he said to Bruin,
"Pardner, I have to go and be gossip--that means god-father, you
know--to one of my old friends." "Why, certainly," said Bruin. So off
Reynard goes into the woods, and after a time he crept back and
uncovered the beehive and had such a feast of honey. Then he went back
to Bruin, who asked him what name had been given to the child. Reynard
had forgotten all about the christening and could only say,
"Just-begun." "What a funny name," said Master Bruin.

A little while after Reynard thought he would like another feast of
honey. So he told Bruin that he had to go to another christening; and
off he went. And when he came back and Bruin asked him what was the
name given to the child Reynard said, "Half-eaten." The third time the
same thing occurred, and this time the name given by Reynard to the
child that didn't exist was "All-gone,"--you can guess why.

A short time afterwards Master Bruin thought he would like to eat up
some of his honey and asked Reynard to come and join him in the feast.
When they got to the beehive Bruin was so surprised to find that there
was no honey left; and he turned round to Reynard and said,
"Just-begun, Half-eaten, All-gone--so that is what you meant; you have
eaten my honey." "Why no," said Reynard, "how could that be? I have
never stirred from your side except when I went a-gossiping, and then
I was far away from here. You must have eaten the honey yourself,
perhaps when you were asleep; at any rate we can easily tell; let us
lie down here in the sunshine, and if either of us has eaten the
honey, the sun will soon sweat it out of us." No sooner said than
done, and the two lay side by side in the sunshine. Soon Master Bruin
commenced to doze, and Mr. Reynard took some honey from the hive and
smeared it round Bruin's snout; then he woke him up and said, "See,
the honey is oozing out of your snout; you must have eaten it when you
were asleep."

Some time after this Reynard saw a man driving a cart full of fish,
which made his mouth water. So he ran and he ran and he ran till he
got far away in front of the cart and lay down in the road as still as
if he were dead. When the man came up to him and saw him lying there
dead, as he thought, he said to himself, "Why, that will make a
beautiful red fox scarf and muff for my wife Ann." And he got down and
seized hold of Reynard and threw him into the cart all along with the
fish, and then he went driving on as before. Reynard began to throw
the fish out till there were none left, and then he jumped out himself
without the man noticing it, who drove up to his door and called out,
"Ann, Ann, see what I have brought you." And when his wife came to the
door she looked into the cart and said, "Why, there is nothing there."

Reynard in the meantime had brought all his fish together and began
eating some when up comes Bruin and asked for a share. "No, no," said
Reynard, "we only share food when we have shared work. I fished for
these, you go and fish for others."

"Why, how could you fish for these? the water is all frozen over,"
said Bruin.

"I'll soon show you," said Reynard, and brought him down to the bank
of the river, and pointed to a hole in the ice and said, "I put my
tail in that, and the fish were so hungry I couldn't draw them up
quick enough. Why do you not do the same?"

So Bruin put his tail down and waited and waited but no fish came.
"Have patience, man," said Reynard; "as soon as one fish comes the
rest will follow."

"Ah, I feel a bite," said Bruin, as the water commenced to freeze
round his tail and caught it in the ice.

[Illustration: Bruin Gets a Beating]

"Better wait till two or three have been caught and then you can catch
three at a time. I'll go back and finish my lunch."

And with that Master Reynard trotted up to the man's wife and said to
her, "Ma'am, there's a big black bear caught by the tail in the ice;
you can do what you like with him." So the woman called her husband
and they took big sticks and went down to the river and commenced
whacking Bruin who, by this time, was fast in the ice. He pulled and
he pulled and he pulled, till at last he got away leaving three
quarters of his tail in the ice, and that is why bears have such short
tails up to the present day.

Meanwhile Master Reynard was having a great time in the man's house,
golloping everything he could find till the man and his wife came back
and found him with his nose in the cream jug. As soon as he heard them
come in he tried to get away, but not before the man had seized hold
of the cream jug and thrown it at him, just catching him on the tail,
and that is the reason why the tips of foxes' tails are cream white to
this very day.

[Illustration: Bruin Carries Reynard]

Well, Reynard crept home and found Bruin in such a state, who
commenced to grumble and complain that it was all Reynard's fault that
he had lost his tail. So Reynard pointed to his own tail and said,
"Why, that's nothing; see my tail; they hit me so hard upon the head
my brains fell out upon my tail.



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