September 17, 2010 at 12:10 am 4 comments

Once upon a time, there was a very rich man who had lots of silver, gold and beautiful houses. Unfortunately, the man also had a distinctly blue tinge to his beard, which for whatever reason scared away most of his potential lady friends.

One woman, however, had two beautiful daughters whom she was very keen to marry off to a rich man. Neither of the girls was particularly fond of Bluebeard, sadly, on account of his beard and because he had married several times before but no one really knew what had happened to his other wives. But Bluebeard threw a rather lavish week-long party at his country estate (is it me, or do you picture Pemberley?) and the youngest daughter decided that if she had to be married, it might as well be to someone filthy rich, blue beard or no.

Bluebeard was obliged to take a long trip shortly after the wedding, which I can only imagine pleased his young wife very much, especially since he told her to invite all of her friends to stay in his absence. He also gave her the keys to the wardrobes where he kept all of his silver and gold, his jewels, his cash and keys to all of his rooms. Among the keys was a small golden one, which she was not allowed to use.

“This is the key to the small closet at the end of the long gallery,” Bluebeard told his wife, “and you must never use it, or you will incurr my wrath and judgement.”

So Bluebeard went on his merry way and this wife went on hers. She had a marvelous time opening all the rooms and the wardrobes and inviting her friends and sister over to try on the jewels — and it was all fun and games until someone suggested they open the closet at the end of the gallery.

This is a fairy tale. This means that no matter what, the characters should obey all instructions given to them, or else they will end up missing their eyeballs or sorting seeds or something. But this girl obviously didn’t know this basic rule of fairy tales, because she took the key and opened the closet.

The closet contained the dead bodies of all of Bluebeard’s wives; the floor was clotted with blood, and the door was so covered that even the key became bloody. The girl was horrified and closed the door immediately, but she couldn’t scrub the blood off of the key.

Long story short, Bluebeard returned, discovered what his wife had done, and became incensed. He threatened to kill her, but she begged for a quarter of an hour in which to say her prayers. Bluebeard, despite being very angry and a serial killer, apparently was cool with sending his wife to her death with a shriven soul. But by the end of the quarter of an hour, her brothers had arrived and were able to kill Bluebeard.

She then inherited all of his wealth, married off her older sister and bought commissions for her brothers (this really is getting more Jane Austen by the minute). She also re-married and lived happily ever after.

Moral of the story? Marry the guy with the odd-colored beard — most likely you can kill him off and abscond with his wealth, even if you have to get your hands a little bloody first.


Entry filed under: Fairy Tale Friday.

An Ideal Plane-Read Library Loot: 9/20

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kim  |  September 17, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Wait, so why was his beard blue? This is what I want to know!

    • 2. SilverSeason  |  September 18, 2010 at 2:52 am

      So he could be called BlueBeard.

    • 3. Kate  |  September 19, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      No reason is given in the story — but it could just mean he was old, or blue could represent heartlessness. Not entirely sure!

      • 4. Susie  |  April 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm

        Please see FROM THE BEAST TO THE BLONDE by Marina Warner, and her chapter, “Demon Lovers: Bluebeard I.” She includes lots of fascinating history of this character and various theories about the “blueness” of his beard! “The colour blue, the colour of ambiguous depth, of the heavens and of the abyss at once, encodes the frightening character of Bluebeard, his house and his deeds, as surely as gold and white clothes the angels” (243). “Bluebeard is represented as a man against nature…” (242).


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