There once was a rich man who had six children -- three daughters and three sons. After a lifetime of good luck, the man suddenly fell upon hard times. His house burned down, and his ships sank at sea.
He and his children were forced to move into a small cottage in the country, where they lived on food that they grew themselves. His two oldest daughters were very unhappy. They were sure that no young gentlemen would want to marry them now that they were poor. But the man's youngest daughter, named Beauty, was always hopeful.
One day, Beauty's father heard that one of his ships had sailed safely into harbor. He decided to go to the port to see this for himself, even though it was a long ride. "What special gifts would you like me to bring you?" he asked his children the night before he left.
"I would like a beautiful new dress," his eldest daughter said.
"Please bring me a handsome pocket watch," the middle son said.
After all the children gave their requests, he turned to Beauty and said, "My sweet child, what can I bring you?"
"Nothing, Father," Beauty said. "Nothing but your safe return home."
"Surely you want something," her father said.
Beauty replied, "If you see one, I would like to have a rose." Beauty missed the gardens at their old home.
Beauty's father set off on his long journey. He reached the port safely but discovered that his ship had been robbed. He was now poorer than he was before. Sadly, he began the long journey home.
It got colder and colder in the forest. It started to snow so hard Beauty's father could barely see the trail ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a row of flowering trees. Then he felt a warm summer's breeze on his face!
He went a little farther and found himself in the middle of a beautiful warm and
summery garden.The snow instantly melted off his coat, and the warmth returned to his numb fingers and toes.
Beauty's father had stumbled upon an enchanted castle. The castle was surrounded by gardens, lush green bushes, and a magical fountain. He was delighted to see that there was no snow in front of the castle.
Beauty's father went to the door of the castle and knocked. He waited, but no one answered the door. Then he pushed the huge door open with all his might and stepped into the castle.
Go to the next page to find out what happened once he was in the castle.