A rich man lives in a big city near the sea. He has got three daughters and three sons.
One daughter is called ‘Beauty’ because she is very beautiful. The other two daughters are called Rosalind and Hortensia. They are lazy and unfriendly. They like going out and having fun. They both want to find a rich husband. They do not like Beauty because she is beautiful.
Beauty has got long red hair. She is kind and friendly. She likes staying at home and reading books. She also likes playing the piano.
Beauty’s father is a merchant. One day he loses all his money because his ship is lost at sea.
‘My dear children,’ he says sadly, ‘I haven’t got much money. We’re poor. We must leave this big house and go and live in the country.’
‘Oh, dear!’ say the two sisters. ‘We’re poor — this is terrible!’
‘What bad luck!’ say the three brothers.
‘We have to work now,’ says Beauty’s father.
‘Work?’ say the two sisters. ‘No, we don’t want to work! And we don’t want to live in the country.’ They start to cry.
Beauty is sad but she says, ‘Let’s not cry! We can work and be happy without money.’
The family goes to the country and lives in a small house. Beauty gets up at four o’clock every morning to clean the house and cook. Then she washes the family’s clothes in the river. The three brothers work in the country.
Rosalind and Hortensia do not work. They do nothing all day. They sleep all morning and walk in the woods in the afternoon.
‘I’m unhappy,’ says Rosalind. ‘I don’t like the country because there’s nothing to do.’
‘We can’t go to the theatre and wear nice clothes,’ says Hortensia. ‘And we haven’t got any friends.’
‘Look at Beauty,’ says Rosalind angrily. ‘She works and she’s happy in this terrible place.’
Beauty’s father says, ‘Dear Beauty, you work a lot and you’re always happy. You’re a wonderful daughter.’