Like other fairy tales, there are many different versions of the basic tale of “Beauty and the Beast.” While the Disney movie is typically what comes to the minds of most people when they hear that title, there is so much more literature on the topic than people are aware, and a lot of the stories have huge differences among them.

In Straparola’s “The Pig King,” a beastly, royal pig searches for a bride. He ends up cycling through a set of three sisters before finally finding acceptance with the youngest one. Because she accepts him and his love despite his appearance, he reveals to her his truly handsome self, and they are able to live a happy life together.

Roman mythology has a tale that is somewhat similar to “The Pig King” in the story of Cupid and Psyche’s romance. In the story, people praise Psyche because of her beauty, and Venus, Cupid’s mother becomes jealous, ordering Cupid to destroy Psyche’s reputation. Because Psyche is cursed, men still admire her beauty, but none want to marry her. Psyche ends up married to Cupid, who will not reveal himself to her, so she believes him to be a monster.

The fact that Psyche cannot actually see Cupid is a critical difference between the tales. In the other versions of the story, the beauty can see that the beast is physically unattractive, whereas Psyche is burdened with not knowing whether or not her husband is a “monster.” This causes Psyche to try to see her husband physically. When she sees his attractiveness, he leaves and she laments losing him. Unlike the beauties of other tales, Psyche judges people based on appearance.

Psyche, like the beauty in “The Pig King,” has two sisters. Like the sisters in other versions, they are afraid of the monster they believe exists. However, they are never married to the beastly character. When they discover that Cupid is beautiful, and he has left Psyche, they clamor to be with him despite the fact that they are both married already. Similarly to the sisters of other tales, these two meet their doom because of their actions.

However, like fairytales, the Cupid and Psyche myth ultimately ends happily. Psyche must atone for her mistakes, Cupid rescues her, and they live happily ever after just as all princess-like characters do.

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