In the year 1740, French author Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villenueve wrote La Belle et la Bete, and we all know that it turned out to be one of the most famous fairy tales of all time.
What we don’t know is that the author’s inspiration behind the story is a real life couple that lived a hundred or so years before he wrote the novel.
Pedro Gonzales was born with his face and body covered in thick hair, making him look like a werewolf. He has a rare condition which is now known scientifically as Hypertrichosis, or “werewolf syndrome” which causes thick hair growth on the entire body.
When he was around ten years old, he was captured and given as a gift to King Henry II of France. During those times, freaks of nature are considered as a status symbol for the Royals.
Showing no signs of aggression, the king decided to make a gentleman out of a werewolf. He was given fine clothes and was given the best education.
When the king died, the throne was succeeded by his widow Catherine, and she decided it was time for Pedro to marry. She picked one of her servant’s daughter as the bride, who, incidentally, is also named Catherine.
We can only imagine the horror on Catherine’s face when she saw her groom for the first time, but she managed to control her fears, and married this “beast.”
The most heartwarming part of the story is that Catherine saw past the outside appearance of this gentle man, and fell deeply in love with him, a noble and brave man shattered by a mysterious illness. They were blessed with seven normal children and lived happily ever after, just like the fairy tale.
Image via: Mirror