Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/109

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by a tomb. She tells him she can be released if he will venture to lift the stone from the tomb and kiss what then appears. Without giving it a second thought, the knight opens the tomb, and a horrible serpent with hissing tongue and venomous breath darts forth. Trembling with fear, he fulfils his promise, and that very instant the monster is transformed into a lovely fairy who overwhelms her benefactor with recompenses. This motif formed the subject of a drama in the last century by Gozzi in La donna serpente: fiaba teatrale tragicomica.

Finally many folk-stories on this subject may be quoted. In the tale of "Beauty and the Beast," the transformed prince begged the young maiden he had carried off on his back for a kiss. "No," answered she, "how could I kiss you who are so ugly and have seven horns on your forehead?" Then the beast went its way, and she saw it no more till one day she found it lying dead under a bush in the garden, whereupon she wept as she had never wept before, and cast herself down on the beast and kissed it. Then it returned to life, and the ugly beast became the handsomest prince her eyes could see.