Most books, movies, and of course Disney related things, are usually inspired by real people. Beauty and the Beast being no different.
Petrus Gonsalvus, AKA “The Man of the Woods”, was born in 1537 looking like a cute baby Wookie. Petrus was born with Ambras Syndrome, in layman’s terms, you are super-duper hairy all over your body. Much like the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, minus the mass amounts of muscles. And I don’t believe Petrus had talking furniture as roommates.
Needless to say, people in the 1500’s weren’t very accepting of unique individuals. The townspeople locked him in an iron cage and fed him raw meat. At age ten, he was shipped to King Henry II of France as a gift for Ol’ Henry’s coronation.
Luckily for Petrus, King Henry did not see him as a freak or an animal. King Henry wanted to ‘experiment’ on Petrus by giving him the opportunity to obtain the same education as a nobleman! Petrus excelled, even learning three languages. His accomplishments gave him a teeny tiny bit more acceptance of others.
When King Henry died in a jousting match in 1959, his wife Catherine de Medici wanted to perform her own ‘experiment’. Basically, she wanted to know if Petrus had a baby ‘would the child also have Ambras Syndrome’. Catherine then found him a wife, a woman also named Catherine.
Petrus and Catherine indeed made little hairy babies, four out of their seven children had Ambras Syndrome. Queen Catherine was all sorts of happy that she took part in creating a ‘wild family’.
Due to Christians claiming he was not worthy of a human burial, there is not a death certificate for Petrus. He is believed to have died around 1618. All in all, even with the scrutiny he received, Petrus had a pretty good life once he met King Henry. Loving wife, children, and even grandchildren. Yay for Petrus!