It’s a tale as old as time but the real life Beauty and the Beast, Catherine and Petrus Gonsalvus, lived tragic lives, treated like freaks of nature by European royalty.

The tale of Petrus and Catherine Gonsalvus have much deeper folkloric roots than the beloved fairy tale, but it matches those of the fictional couple.

This one’s a page turner.

The real-life story did not have a fairy tale ending

In the Disney version, Belle is an intelligent, strong-willed woman who goes to rescue her father and ends up falling for a man cursed to look like a beast.

But in spite of the curse, the Beast has a soft interior, including a fierce devotion to Belle.

The singing with the dishes, twirling through candlelit ballrooms, and fun snowball fights have the couple falling in love in the end.

It’s a fairy tale ending as their love breaks the curse, and the two live happily ever after.

But the real-life couple did not get a fairy tale ending. There was no curse to break either as the “beast” had to live with his condition for his whole life.