Once upon a time, in a very far-off country, there lived a merchant who had been so fortunate in all his undertakings that he was enormously rich. As he had, however, six sons and six daughters, he found that his money was not too much to let them all have everything they fancied, as they were accustomed to do.But one day, a most unexpected misfortune befell them. Their house caught fire and was speedily burnt to the ground, with all the splendid furniture, the books, pictures, gold, silver, and precious goods it contained. However, their father received the news that one of his ships, which he had believed to be lost, had come safely into port with a rich cargo. All the sons and daughters at once thought that their poverty was at an end. Only the youngest daughter had any doubt but that they would soon again be as rich as they were before. Only Beauty did not ask for anything.
Her father, noticing her silence, said "And what shall I bring for you, Beauty?" "The only thing I wish for is to see you come home safely," she answered. Her father was pleased, but as he thought that at her age she certainly ought to like pretty presents, he told her to choose something. "Well, dear father," she said, "as you insist upon it, I beg that you will bring me a rose...."