Caring For Strangers


Folk tales throughout the ages have been told to express the sacred human duty of caring sacrificially for strangers. In these tales, a god, goddess, king, or queen disguise themselves as poor travelers in need of help. Those who provide shelter and care are richly rewarded by the royal or divine being; those who abandon the strangers are punished. One story that we still tell is Beauty and the Beast (directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise [Buena Vista Pictures, 1991]). In the Disney version, an enchantress disguised as a beggar woman knocks on the door of a castle, requesting shelter from the storm. When the prince denies her care and hospitality, she turns him into the beast his character has revealed him to be.