Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. The first published version came out in 1740, written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. It was abridged in 1756, and then translated into English in 1757.
The story is fairly simple. The Beast was born a prince and cursed to live as a beast until he found true love. A young woman, Belle, goes to live with the Beast, after an agreement between the Beast and her father saves her father's life. The Beast and Belle become friends and Belle learns of all the enchantments in the Beast's castle. When she fails to return to the castle on time after a trip to see her family, the Beast nearly dies of heart break. Belle returns and confesses her love for the Beast, and her tears break his curse. They get married and live happily ever after.
The fairy tale has been adapted into new stories, films, and plays many times since its original publication. Disney adapted a musical animated film of Beauty and the Beast in 1991. A horror version came out in 1979, called The Virgin and the Monster. Disney adapted a stage production for Broadway that ran from 1999 to 2007, playing over 5,000 shows. Beastly, written by Alex Flinn, modernized the fairy tale and set it in Manhattan in 2007. It was later adapted into a movie. George C. Scott was nominated for an Emmy for his 1976 television performance of BatB.
This is probably my favorite fairy tale. The theme of love redeeming misdeeds is heartwarming, inspiring, and consistent. I was a child when the Disney musical came out. It filled me with wonder at the possibility that all the toys in my room, and the dishes in the kitchen, might be able to walk and talk! I'm sure I wanted to marry the little tea-cup.