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Beauty and The Beast
A Fantasy



There once was a women, fire, called the slave. She went on two legs, wore clothes and was a human being, but nevertheless she was in reality a slave.. She had learned a good deal of all that people of good intelligence can, and was a fairly clever woman. What she had not learned, however, was this….to find contentment in herself and her own life.

The cause of this apparently was that at the bottom of her heart, she knew all the time, that she was in reality not a woman, but a slave Clever people might argue the point whether she truly was a slave, whether, that is, she had been changed, before birth perhaps, from a slave into a human being, a woman, or had been given the soul of a slave, though born as a human being: or whether, on the other hand, this belief that she was a slave, was no more than a fancy or a disease of hers. It might, for example be possible that in her childhood she was a little wild and disobedient and disorderly, and that those who brought her up had declared a war of extinction against the beast in her; and precisely this had given she the idea and the belief that she was in fact actually a beast, with only a thin covering of the human woman. On this point one could speak at length and entertainingly, and indeed write a book about it. The slave, however, would be none the better for it, since for her it was all one whether the slave had been bewitched or beaten into her, or whether it was merely an idea of her own. What others chose to think about it or what she chooses to think of herself was no good to her at all. It left the slave inside her just the same.

And so the slave had two natures, a human woman and a slave one. This was her fate, and it may well be that it was not a very exceptional one. There must have been many women who have had a good deal of the dog, or the fox, of the fish or the serpent in them without experiencing any extraordinary difficulties on that account. In such cases, the woman and the fish lived on together and neither did the other any harm. The one even helped the other. Many a woman indeed has carried this condition to such enviable lengths that she has owed her happiness more to the fox or ape in her then to the woman. So much for common knowledge. In the case of fire, however, it was just the opposite. In her the woman and the slave, the beast, did not go the same way together, but were in continual and deadly enmity. One existed simply and solely to harm the other, and when there are two in one blood, and in one soul who are at deadly enmity, then life fares ill. Well, to each her lot, and none is light.

Now with our fire it was so that in her conscious life she lived now as a slave, now as a woman, as indeed the case is with mixed beings. But, when she was a slave, the woman in her lay in ambush, ever on watch to interfere and condemn, while at those times, that she was woman, the slave did just the same. For example, if fire, as a slave, had a beautiful thought, a desire to please, to serve, to perform. Then the woman inside bared her teeth at her, and laughed and showed her with bitter scorn how laughable this whole pantomime was in the eyes of a woman, of a woman who knew well enough in her heart what suited her, namely to trot along over the grounds and now and then engorge herself in the sights of men, teasing them, yet never yielding. Then, womanly seen, all human activities become horribly absurd and misplaced, stupid and vain. But it was exactly the same when fire felt and behaved as a woman, and showed others whom she was. For then the slave part of her lay in ambush and watched the woman, calling her brute and a beast, spoiled and embittered for her, all pleasure in her life simple and healthy and wild slave’s being.

Thus it was then with the slave, and one may well imagine that fire, did not have an exactly pleasant and happy life of it. This does not mean, however, that she was unhappy in any extraordinary degree Even she, who has no slave in her, may be none the happier for that. And even the unhappiest life has its sunny moments and its little flowers of happiness between sand and stone. So it was, then, with the slave too. It cannot be denied that she was generally happy, and she could make others happy also, that is, when she loved them, became devoted to them, loyal. For all who she loved saw always only the one side of her. Many loved her as a refined and clever and interesting woman, and were horrified and disappointed when they had come upon the slave in her. And they had to because fire wished, as every sentient being does, to be loved as a whole and therefore it was just with those whose love she most valued that she could least of all conceal and belie the slave. There were those, however, who loved precisely the slave within her, the pleasing one, the one to serve, perform, be used, and these found it peculiarly disappointing and deplorable when suddenly the wild loving slave was also a woman and had hankerings after goodness and refinement, and wanted to hear Mozart, to read poetry and to cherish human ideals. Usually these were the most disappointed and angry of all; and so it was that the slave brought her own dual and divided nature into the destinies of others besides herself, whenever she came into contact with them. Knowing deep in her slave heart, her slave being, that the woman would go to rest quietly and peacefully, and the slave would live and strive to be pleasing, to serve, if the right Master walked into her life. A Master that would treat her always as the slave she was, the beast she desired to be. Would keep her on a short leash, control every aspect of the slaves being, and so her search and her inner battle continues.

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