Like all husbands who discovered Jealousy and Suspicion, he stalked her.
He thought his doubts and anger were justified when she walked up to a man who was beautiful beyond words, certainly more handsome than he could ever imagine to be in this or any other lifetime. She had her back towards him but he saw the shoulders slouch as she reached him. Suddenly, as if aware they were being watched, the man stared directly into the husband’s eyes and smiled. He was taken aback. How could that man have seen him? He was hiding in a barn at least 20 metres apart. Yet those light grey eyes pierced him through all that distance.
Then before his eyes he saw the man turn into a wild boar. He saw the boar rip off his wife’s robes and mauled her. He wanted to run and save her until he realized they were fornicating. He stood, enthralled and appalled at the same time. He saw it devour the same body he had been with the night before and many nights before that. He saw the boar trailing its saliva down every nook and cranny of his wife’s body. Then he saw his wife’s eyes, dispassionate and lifeless.
When the deed was done, it attacked her. It stomped its hoofs on her ribs and smashed it. Then it greedily chewed and ate away her legs until there was nothing left but her head and her upper limbs.
Her head disconnected itself from her limbs and suddenly flew to the window of the barn he was in. She screeched, begging to be let in. She pressed up her face against the glass and stared into his disbelieving eyes. The head banged constantly against the window until it finally slid to the ground, leaving trails of black blood.
He fainted. Or maybe he fell asleep. In his sleep he dreamed that he died, run over by a carriage. He saw his young wife picked up his head that rolled over from under the carriage and wept. The carriage didn’t stop; the passers-by didn’t come over to help. They merely whispered and pointed at the young widow.
He saw his wife went to meet the Devil to set up a deal. He didn’t ask for her soul, he asked for her love. In his ability to turn into anything he pleased, he was able to have all the women he wanted, but he wanted someone who could love him even if he was a Beast. And so the deal was struck.
He saw the fountain of youth. He saw the bodies in there, the way they glistened underwater. The way their blood sparkled like rubies from their disconnected bodies under the sunlight.
He woke up from his dream, sweating. His wife was by his side, peering curiously at him. He marveled at the way his wife’s beauty seemed to be frozen in eternity. He saw his hair turn white, his face old beyond his years. After that, he fell extremely ill and never became the same again.
It went on for years.
And so it was written that the wife was Beauty, the Devil was the Beast. And the old man who was Beauty’s father? That was her husband.