A Thief's Reward
Once upon a time there was a servant out in the woods at midnight going for a walk. He loved the feeling of the full moon on his back and the way the forest looked at night. He had wandered so deep into the forest that he had become lost and did not know where he was. He heard a rushing stream and went in search of it. When he found the stream he followed it downhill to where he thought would be the town. Instead he found a giant gothic mansion. The man was so very cold and wet for he had fallen in the stream on his way to town. He wandered inside the mansion yelling, “Hello, is anybody in here?” He received no reply and kept wandering. He eventually came to a room barely lit with heads of various animals lining the wall. In the center of the room was a golden sword that glistened in the light. The servant quickly ran and grabbed the sword and made for the door. When he got far enough away from the mansion he examined his catch. It was a long-sword with a golden hilt and a silver blade. The hilt was adorned with a wolf head with ruby eyes. The servant felt a chill run down his spine as if he were being watched. He quickly scampered to the stream and followed it in the opposite direction eventually reaching the town.
Upon his arrival his daughters came out to see him. Ella and Beauty as they were known fetched him a blanket and a place by the fire. He retold his story and of the mansion he found. The youngest daughter Beauty wondered what else this mansion could hold.
One day her father said that he was going for another of his walks and asked if the girls wanted anything. Ella said that she wanted a beautiful necklace. Beauty wanted nothing but a single rose. The servant left in search of more treasures following the stream all the way back to the mansion. This time when he entered the mansion he hurried through all the rooms grabbing what he could. He eventually came to the top of the mansion with a giant ornate door that had beautiful carvings of beasts on it. He opened the door cautiously not to make a noise and entered to find a man sitting on a chair in the corner. His eyes glistened in the moonlight as his wolfish smile slowly grew. He said, “So you are the man stealing from me.”
The servant hurriedly tried to open the door to get away, but the door wouldn’t budge. He turned to find the man standing over him barring him from leaving. “Please sir, I have a family. Have mercy on me.”
The tall man looked down and said, “What family would a thief like you have?”
The servant replied, “I have two daughters. I am the only family they have in the entire world.”
The man’s grin widened even further and he said, “Then the payment for what you took will be but one of your daughters.”
The color drained from the servant’s face as he replied, “Please, sir, anything but that.”
The man pushed his face closer to the servant's, sniffed, and then said, “It is one of them or it will be you.” The servant bowed his head in fear and shame, nodded and turned to leave.
As he headed out the door he heard a voice behind him say, “I will be expecting her tomorrow. You shall bring her to me, or I shall come get her myself.”
When the man got home he said nothing to his daughters. He simply walked to his armchair sat down, and stared into the flames of the fire trying to conjure up some way of getting out of this deal. The girls asked him where their gifts were and father only looked away with a solemn face. Beauty didn’t know what had gotten into her father. He was not acting at all like she was used to. She decided to find out what had happened to him, since he would not tell her. That night she snuck out with the cover of nightfall and the light from a full moon. She followed the stream as her father had. Before she reached the mountain she heard a howl a ways off. She spun her head in all directions trying to find the source. As she turned her head back to the direction she was headed a black mass of fur and fangs was upon her. She felt a hot pain of claws raking against her abdomen. She opened her mouth to scream only to find herself unable as the jaws of the beast were around her neck. Before biting too deep they let up and the mass stepped back. She faded into unconsciousness to the taste of blood and the smell of wet dog.
When she woke up she was in a giant mansion with bandages on her abdomen and around her neck. She got up quickly and tried to make her way for the exit only to find her path blocked by a tall handsome man in a suit. He said, “Hello, my beautiful bride. I have been waiting for you to wake up for quite some time. I almost thought your father would not hold up his end of the bargain. I have been in need of a woman for quite some time. I am quite glad I finally have one.”
She looked at him with worried eyes and said, “What happened to me?”
The man smiled a warm but deadly smile and said, “You have been reborn. What is your name?”
She stuttered and said, “My... my name is Beauty.”
He waited a while and said, “You are now Baroness Beauty Wolfenstein. My name is Alexander Wolfenstein. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
Author’s Note: I decided to change a lot from the original Beauty and the Beast by Madame De Villeneuve the original writer of this tale. I kept the part about a man that got lost and found a mansion. In the original story however the man was an enormously rich man. I decided to make him a desperate man that had nothing so needed to go back to the mansion to take things of value. Instead of him taking a rose he took a sword. I also had the servant go back a second time and get caught the second time. In the original the beast demands one of his daughters. I thought it fitting to do the same for this tale. The beast in the original however, was much kinder. However, in my story the beast wanted the daughter regardless if she was willing. I also added the part to where she was transformed into werewolf. In the original she transforms the beast into a man. I thought it would be nice for the opposite to be true. I also added the part of following the stream leading to the mansion. I decided to mention the full moon several times in my story in hopes of alluding to the fact the man in the mansion was a werewolf. In traditional lore werewolves are transformed under a full moon and attack senselessly. I decided to steer away from that making the Baron attack strategically, not to kill but to turn.
Bibliography: Beauty and the Beast by Madame de Villenevue
Photo Cred: Dark Castle by Natalie Bernard