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The beast and the craven fool 
25th-May-2010 07:21 am
wound man
Everyone knows the story of The Beauty and the Beast. But I only care about one part of that story.

The old man is riding home to his 3 daughters (Beauty, of course, being one) in the middle of the night. It's snowing and he's lost and fears he's near death. His clothes are ragged and his saddle bags are empty. But alas - he sees hope, a miracle! A castle light approaches! He enters the gate of this dwelling but meets no one. He calls around and still, no one greets him. He stables his horse and enters the front door of the residence, all the while calling for the owners. None great him, but there is a great fire in the hearth and a fine meal set on the table. He thinks they must be for him, so he eats his fill and finds a bedroom to sleep in. In the morning he finds his clothes have been replaced by fine, warm clothes and a good cloak. He goes to the stable for his horse and finds it was well cared for, and it's saddle bags have been filled with gold! He departs, thanking his kind benefactor for this unheard of generosity. On his way out, he passes a rosebush, with beautiful roses. Thinking the master of the castle wouldn't mind him taking a rose, after all, his generosity was so exceptional, he removes one, when suddenly he hears a roar and a giant, hideous beast appears. The man trembles as the beast shouts "after all I did for you, all i given you, saved your very life, this is how you repay me? You steal one of my roses, that which I PRIZE ABOVE ALL ELSE?!? For this, you must die!!!"

"I didn't know" the man whimpers, shakes, and begs. "I thought with all your generosity, you wouldn't begrudge me a single rose! Please, please spare my life, so I may return to care for my daughters."

Normally in this story, the Beast makes the man promise him to send him one of his daughters. His daughter, for a rose. But instead, the Beast forgives him, telling him never to do it again, or the price will be his death.

But craven, selfish fool that he is, the man returns to the Beast's castle from time to time, and steals a rose, and on the 20th time, the Beast catches him again.

"You continue to do this? Knowing the price was death?"

"Well, I thought your reaction to my taking of a mere rose to be irrational. And since they were so beautiful, I couldn't help myself. Surely you'll not kill me over the 21 roses I have now taken from you? I mean, they are just roses."

"But I TOLD you, they are what i value above all else, take my riches, my horses, my servants, my home, but do not touch my roses! They are all I value in this life! Now you MUST die!"

So, what should be the man's fate?

What should be the man's fate for betraying the Beast's generosity so many times?

he should be killed by the Beast
nothing, he should go on about his way, learning nothing, living out his life free to steal, hurt, etc. just as he wishes
25th-May-2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
The man has been shown leniency before, but was too stupid to take it and run. His impending death's his own damn fault; don't take a risk if you aren't prepared to accept the consequences.
25th-May-2010 05:27 pm (UTC)

The old guy shouldn't have even been allowed a third chance, IMHO. I know that sounds harsh, but.
25th-May-2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
The problem is that the rose for a daughter works in the sense of fairy tale logic/ethics/morality in that sense of these are my jewels. Here, the Beast doesn't follow those rules, and then, when caught, the Old Man appeals to reason, or not just reason, but that sort of 'limited myopia' of rational economic actors.

It wouldn't really make sense under either pattern for the Beast to kill the Old Man. Under the latter, the Beast is pretty well under the "fool me once" sort of logic and should buy a fence or a door or something, since this seems to be the least secure castle ever. Under the former, however, the Old Man's going to get his comeuppance some other way, like coming home to discover his wife with another man, only to have her retort this the 20th such man she's slept with, all because he clearly did not value her enough.
25th-May-2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
To say the person couldn't learn unless he were put to death is a jaded view at best. Personally, I think the Beast would have been able to get his point across if he took something the man holds as valuable as he holds his roses. Not some kind of bargain, but that he should just take, as that's what the man did.
1st-Jun-2010 04:37 am (UTC)
If the Beast wishes the Old Man's death, then so be it. The Beast values the roses more than the Old Man's life and happiness, and why shouldn't he, so he should put the Old Man to death as the law of his castle requires. The Beast certainly doesn't love the Old Man, nor owe him anything, so there is no reason to think he should do anything other than kill him. The Old Man, being in such a state as to repeatedly do something that endangers his life, may even welcome it, for reasons that aren't explained sufficiently in this story.
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