Beauty and the Beast

Activity

  1. Practise the exercise, asking pupils what they observed about the sense of touch. The important thing is not to list the things realised through touch, but rather that one can be brought into the present moment through touch.
  1. Introduce and read the story ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
  1. As in previous weeks, ask the pupils to consider an important theme in the story, and why they think it is so. Give
  1. Working in small groups of four or five, children should discuss the identified themes and choose the one they think is the
  1. Briefly returning to work as a class, review the nature of philosophical
  1. Working with their group theme, each group should now turn it into a philosophical question. After a suitable time, these should be written on the board. If necessary, groups can give any explanation of their
  1. Making a link between questions on the board (and possibly using an appropriate one to begin) use the ‘Questions for Thinking’ to stimulate
  1. To close, connect the questions on the board, and what has been covered through the
  1. Introduce the ‘Thought for the Week’. 

Beauty and the Beast

The traditional story of Beauty and the Beast reminds us that there is more to beauty than just the outward physical. It reminds us to look beyond the obvious before making judgements about things. There is also beauty of conduct – the way we behave, with all the associated feelings and attitudes.

There was once a merchant who had three daughters. Just before he set off on a busi- ness trip, he asked them what they would like him to bring back for them.

‘A necklace please, father,’ said the eldest.

‘A gold chain for me please,’ said the middle daughter.

But the youngest daughter, whose name was Bella, just shook her head. ‘I want nothing, father,’ she said. ‘Just bring yourself back safely.’

‘Nonsense,’ said their father. ‘I want to bring you a gift.’

Bella thought for a moment. ‘Then I would like a rose, please.’

The merchant went about his business and he bought the necklace and the gold chain for his two eldest daughters but decided to leave the rose until last so that it would be fresh. Then he forgot about it.

He was almost home when he suddenly remembered the rose and started to look around for somewhere to buy one. As he turned a corner he saw a beautiful garden and there, in the centre of a circle of lawn, was a rose bush laden with blooms.

The merchant got off his horse, walked through the great wrought iron gates and stepped onto the grass circle. Surely the owners wouldn’t miss one rose. He chose a deep red rosebud and plucked it off the bush.

CRASH! A loud noise filled his ears and there, in front of him, stood a hideous beast. Its eyes were red and glaring, its lips curled back from a cluster of pointed grey teeth. Three horns protruded from the green scaly skin of its head and long strings of saliva dripped from its black tongue.

‘Thief!’ growled the beast. ‘You are stealing my roses.’ The merchant explained about the gift for his daughter. ‘That is no excuse! Your life is forfeit.’

‘Oh please,’ begged the merchant. ‘Please spare my life. I have three daughters to support and care for. I am really sorry for stealing your rose.’

‘I shall spare your life on one condition,’ said the beast. ‘Seven days from now you must bring me your youngest daughter.’

The merchant arrived home to a great welcome from his daughters and gave them their gifts, but the youngest daughter could tell that something was wrong and he was unhappy. Eventually he told her about the beast and the condition it imposed to spare his life.

‘I will go, father,’ said Bella, bravely. So the next day they set off.

Like her father, Bella was shocked when she saw the beast and could hardly bare to look at his ugliness. The beast told the merchant that he could visit Bella every week and that he meant her no harm.

Bella was shown to her luxurious rooms and over the next few weeks she had everything she wanted. She only had to ask for something out loud and some invisible servants brought it to her. The beast hardly ever appeared. Bella spent the long days walking in the vast gardens or reading books.

It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But Bella began to get lonely. Apart from seeing her father or sisters once a week she never saw anyone else at all.

On one of the rare times when the beast appeared, Bella asked him to walk with her in the garden. Then she told him about her father and sisters and of her mother who had died when she was a child.

Bella talked more and more with the beast. He was so kind and thoughtful that she lost her fear of him and the walks in the garden became a daily event that she looked forward to. She told him about her life and her interests and her hopes.Then one day the beast did not appear. Bella felt really disappointed and she waited an hour before going to look for him. She searched the whole great house, looking in rooms she had never been in before, but she couldn’t find the beast.

Then, as she passed an open window, she heard cries and groans of pain coming from the front garden. Down the stairs she ran, through the front door and out to the very rosebush from which her father had plucked the rose. There was the beast, lying on the ground with blood pouring from a great wound in his chest. He was gasping for breath and twisting in agony.

Bella fell on her knees beside him. ‘What’s happened? Who did this to you?’

‘The people of the village,’ whispered the beast. ‘They think I am evil. They don’t like me living here.’

Frantically she tore off a piece of her skirt and tried to staunch the flow of blood. ‘Oh please don’t die, beast,’ she wept. ‘Please don’t die. I love you so much.’ There was a flash of bright light and suddenly a prince stood before her, his handsome face smiling with love and gratitude. ‘You have broken the spell!’ he said.

Bella wiped her eyes and stared at him in bewilderment.

‘I was enchanted by an evil magician,’ explained the prince. ‘And the spell could only be broken if a maiden declared her love for me of her own free will. You did that. Ugly as I was, you still loved me.’

Bella and the prince were married and . . . Lived . . . happily . . . ever . . . after!

QUESTIONS FOR THINKING

  1. What do you think made Bella say she would go to live at the Beast’s house?
  1. Was this decision brave or foolish? Give reasons for your opinion.
  1. How did Bella’s relationship with the Beast change? What was the cause of the change?
  1. When Bella said she loved the Beast what do you think it was that she loved?
  1. Has anyone ever changed what they thought about someone once they knew them better?
  1. Are there different ways of thinking that someone is beautiful? What are they?
  1. Are there different types of beauty? (If children need help with ideas – beautiful ideas, beautiful conduct, beautiful things we appreciate through the senses.)
  1. When we say someone or something is beautiful, what is it we mean? Are we clear about what we mean?
  1. What do you think beauty is?