Page 26. " all covered with saddle sores, lame and aching "

Traveling on horseback might sound romantic, but the inconvenience and physical hardship can best even the most accomplished rider. The constant motion of riding across a great distance can give way to the development of saddle sores--a condition that begins with an acne-like spot along the buttocks and develops into an abscess.

Page 37. " And Orpheus he became "
Orfeo ed Euridice
Public DomainOrfeo ed Euridice - Credit: Federico Cervelli

The famed poet and musician of Greek mythology, Orpheus is one of the few Greek heroes who descends into the Underworld and emerges unharmed, though heartbroken. An apt name for a musical canary, the story of Orpheus's journey to reclaim his lost love, Eurydice, may also be likened to Beauty's quest to reclaim the Beast when she believes him lost.

Listen on Spotify: Orpheus by Franz Liszt

Page 40. " small beer "

Small beer contains low levels of alcohol and was often served as a source of hydration for dayworkers, such as those with whom Beauty shares a drink. Often brewed at home, the alcohol in small beer could provide some protection against waterborne contagions.

Page 43. " learned to make charcoal "

It is a sign of Ger's trust in Beauty's ability that he teaches her to make charcoal. A blacksmith's shop requires vast quantities of charcoal to run smoothly, so Beauty's ability to make charcoal serves to provide fuel for Ger's forge as well as for their home. Charcoal is produced by heating of materials such as wood or bone char in a contained, oxygen-free environment.

After removing fallen trees with Greatheart, Beauty would have had easy access to wood for charcoal production.

Page 45. " the Minotaur "
Public DomainMinotaur - Credit: Dagrappler

A mythical being from Greek mythology. Part man and part bull, the Minotaur was imprisoned in the Cretan Labyrinth, designed by Daedalus. The Minotaur was the offspring of Pasiphae, wife of King Minos, and the Cretan Bull that Minos failed to sacrifice to the god Poseidon. In his anger, Poseidon punished Minos by making Pasiphae desire the Cretan Bull.

Page 45. " mother made me mind her with stories "

Illustration of Walter Stenström's The boy and the trolls or The Adventure
Public DomainIllustration of Walter Stenström's The boy and the trolls or The Adventure - Credit: John Bauer
Though many fairy tales, such Madame de Villeneuve's "Beauty and the Beast," were intended for adult audiences, fairy tales have long been associated with children and many have been rewritten for young audiences. As Ger suggests, fairy tales often served to instruct and warn children. Several theorists and psychoanalysts have examined the role of fairy tales in society; while their conclusions are varied, fairy tales are generally regarded as devices that help individuals gain insight into the ways of the world and examine their role in the scheme of things.