35-Beauty and the Beast: Prisoners

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35-Beauty and the Beast: Prisoners

The discussion post for the episode telling the original story of Beauty and the Beast.

Episode description:

This is not the Beauty and the Beast you've heard. It's not even the story the one you've heard is based on. That one is a super-pared-down version of an 18th century French novella. The original contains way too much description about fairy politics and power structures, 18th century Pandora, and an idea for a "Downton Abbey" reboot...with monkeys.

The creature of the week is Papa Bois, from Trinidad and Tobago. He will show you why regular exercise and a balanced diet of strangers lost in the forest will keep you healthy well into old age.

Listen here


The pig one is from a later story, but he looks like such a dapper gentleman that I had to include him. The one of the beast on the ground with the elephant trunk is from the original.

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The source

Even though the general themes of this story can be up to 6000 years old, this particular story was put down to paper in the 1800s, and you can find that version here.

In addition, here is a really interesting interpretation with some background.


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By |2018-03-15T14:46:37+00:00June 8th, 2016|Categories: Articles, Episodes, Podcast|Tags: , , , , |8 Comments


  1. Tolinieg December 15, 2016 at 7:06 am - Reply

    Where can I find that description of the fairy politics and power dynamics that is mentioned in the podcast?

  2. Anissa September 6, 2016 at 9:20 am - Reply

    This is one of my favorite episodes! Where can I find the original book to read (in English pls)? Thank you

  3. Maggie June 10, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

    I would like to suggest another reading of this story. If you interpret the story of Eros (Cupid) and Psyche as the achievement of immortality of the soul, in which humanity has to prove itself worthy to the gods, the connection to the story of Beauty and the Beast becomes a story of bringing the divine back to earth. Psyche takes the soul to the heavens so that we can access the spiritual and achieve the ethereal. Beauty does more or less the flip side of that, bringing the divine down to earth and infusing it into marriage and life on earth. The frightening and magical is transformed into the attractive and fulfilling, but very human, life. Why were Beauty and the prince noticeably attractive and why did Beauty have to be royalty to marry the prince? Because it is not people who are just living petty lives who can achieve this but people who are shining examples of mankind and who have been touched by the divine (fairies). Most interesting of all, both achieve this through love. Possible interpretation; love makes the soul divine and also improves our lives. Which circles around interestingly to De Villeneuve’s point, that marriage shouldn’t be just about an economic arrangement in which women are basically chattel and then housemaids and passive sexual partners, but in a true marriage there should be love and respect for the female’s role.

    • Jason June 11, 2016 at 11:39 am - Reply

      Really interesting reading – thanks for posting that!

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