A “book curse” is an actual curse printed in a book to discourage any potential thief from stealing it. They were common in medieval European manuscripts, but date back much earlier. The first known book curse is from about 600 BCE! The King of Assyria had a curse inscribed on the back of his collected tablets.
So as some of you know, within the next week or so, I’ll be publishing the short story, Wild Child, which is about the merchant staying with the Beast at the castle and his paternal love breaking the spell. Nothing major. Just a quick short story that you can polish off in five minutes. To be fair, the original story was a short story as well.
But speaking of the original story: L E T ‘ S T A L K A B O U T T H E E N C H A N T R E S S, S H A L L W E?
A lot of you may have seen that post going around (it’s pretty popular) saying that there should be a Disney movie similar to Maleficent that focuses on the enchantress because I mean she’s horrible right, she cursed an 11 year old?
You don’t know the half of it!!!
First off, she was a fairy in the original, not an enchantress. The good news is that she didn’t curse him when he was a child. The bad news? She seduced him (as an adult) because he didn’t return her affections!
Now this original version was basically plagiarized by another French novelist (both of these writers were women by the way; female writers ftw) who made it into more of the story that we’re familiar with today.
Now the original story has a lot of other elements to it too like the fact that Belle is descended from that same fairy and that she’s magical and that Beast’s mother is still alive. I don’t care about any of that frankly.
What I do care about is the notion that a fairy turned a man into a beast when he failed to return her affections! Kinda puts a whole new spin on the fact that unless he found true love, he will forever be a beast, doesn’t it?
So keep all of this in mind when I say…I have another idea for a story! Oh, you all knew it was coming. Just like you know this is coming:
Hear me out!
Beauty and the Beast, my version, which draws influence from Villeneuve’s version, Beaumont’s version, the Disney version (in the sense that it’s going to be a whimsical romance),
In this version, the prologue talks about how the prince of the kingdom was visited by an enchantress every night. The enchantress would attempt to seduce him but the prince would send her away. Fed up, she curses him into being a beast the merchant (Belle’s father) is a huge jerk who’s lost in the forest and finds the castle. Thinking that it is mostly abandoned, he just starts stealing as much as he possibly can. The Beast confronts him and sentences him to a life of servitude. The merchant breaks down bawling and says that he is too old to perform labor. (The Beast just sort of stares at him and looks at the heavy objects that he was about to steal.) In the end, The Beast takes pity on him and agrees that he can send one of his children in his place.
So the merchant returns home to where his three sons and three daughters are waiting. He tells the youngest daughter, who is blind and is pretty much their own servant (borrowing a bit from Cinderella here) that she needs to go live in the castle. Belle is horrified but is forced to go along with it.
The Beast is genuinely shocked that the merchant would be heartless enough to send his blind daughter to a life of servitude and is even more shocked when she tells him that she’s been a servant her whole life.
And he just sort of casually says, “You know, being a giant beast and all, I could probably just kill them all. If you wanted. No pressure.”
And she laughs and says that she’ll think about it. The two start off with a great, light, relationship because there is n tension. He isn’t a jerk because…really the whole idea of him being a jerk was Disney-only. She isn’t afraid of his appearance because she can’t see him. He tells her that she won’t actually be his servant and that there’s no need - the castle is enchanted.
“Oh, you mean your entire staff was transformed into furniture so they now have really creepy faces and horrific implications?”
“No. What? No. I mean it’s enchanted. It’s a magical castle.”
That night, she wakes up when she overhears The Beast screaming at someone. She makes it to the foyer right when he slams the door.
“B-Beast, who were you talking to?”
“Oh. Nobody. It’s nothing. Just this enchantress who has been trying to seduce me every single night for the past ten years or so. As it happens.”
And this is when things get fun because forget about the two of them living together in the castle. No, no, they’re hunting down this enchantress! Because he’s a gigantic beast why wouldn’t he be able to kill her? So the two set off into the forest together. And of course, along the way, they end up bonding.
They eventually confront the fairy but of course, she’s magical and puts up a good fight. So while they’re in the midst of this battle, the fairy tells the Beast that nobody could ever love him and Belle angrily says, “I could.” Which causes The Beast to transform back into a prince in the middle of the fight. (”Well, that was bad timing.”)
The newfound prince banishes the fairy from the kingdom in a hilariously anticlimactic scene and he and Belle go back to the castle to live happily ever after.
So it’s very lighthearted to the point where it could almost be considered a pastiche. And it won’t be very long. Just a bit over a short story. Possibly a novelette?