Beauty and the BeastOnce upon a time, in a very far-off country, there lived a
merchant who had been so fortunate in all his undertakings that he
was enormously rich. As he had, however, six sons and six
daughters, he found that his money was not too much to let them all
have everything they fancied, as they were accustomed to do.
But one day a most unexpected misfortune befell them.
Their house caught fire and was speedily burnt to the ground, with
all the splendid furniture, the books, pictures, gold, silver, and
precious goods it contained; and this was only the beginning of
their troubles. Their father, who had until this moment
prospered in all ways, suddenly lost every ship he had upon the
sea, either by dint of pirates, shipwreck, or fire. Then he
heard that his cler