Honest Myth:French-Bluebeard’s Bride

 

Illustration of Bluebeard by Edmund Dulac

Today’s story is called Bluebeard’s Bride.

There once lived an incredibly wealthy man. He was so rich and his life style was lavish, but he was incredibly ugly and had a blue beard. No woman in town wanted to marry him, even though he was so well off, because he was so ugly and because he had wives before who all died of various illnesses.

His neighbor was a high ranking lady with two beautiful daughters, and she wanted to marry one of her daughters to the wealthy Bluebeard. Neither wanted to marry him and used the excuse that they would hate to keep each other from marrying such a high ranked man.

He invited all the women in the town to his home and threw a large party for a week, and the youngest daughter decided to accept his hand in marriage after all the festivities. A month after their marriage, Bluebeard found that he had to leave to take care of some business for a week. He gave his new bride all the keys for their new home and told her that she was free to explore the home, spend money as she wished, and invite family and friends to the home to keep her company. He told her this all with the condition that she not open the closet at the end of the hallway or he would punish her. She accepted, and they kissed good bye.

Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910). The Blue Beard Tableau: Fatima Enters the Forbidden Closet; What She Sees There; Disposition of the Bodies (Invisible to the Spectators), 1868. Wood engraving.

She invited her friends and family, and together they had a large feast. As the guests marveled at all the splendor in the home, Bluebeard’s bride went to the forbidden closet. Though she feared any punishment, she opened the door and entered the room finding blood and dead bodies of women everywhere. In fear, she dropped the key of the closet in the blood, picked it up, locked the door, and ran back to her party.

At the end of the day, she noticed that the key was stained with blood that would not wipe off, because it was a magical key. Nothing she did could clean it.

Bluebeard returned home, and his wife tried her best to seem normal and happy. He asked for the keys, and she returned them to him. He noticed that the closet key was missing and in fear, she gave it back to him. Seeing the blood, he knew she disobeyed him and told her she would join his other wives in the closet. She fell to the ground, crying and begging not to kill her. He said no, but before he could kill her, her sister knocked on the door. She begged him not to hurt her until after her sister Anne left, and he agreed. She asked her sister if her brothers would also visit (attempting to hint at her to help), Anne answered no each time she asked. Finally, Bluebeard called his young wife to him, and right before he struck her, two officers, her brothers, arrived. They pursued Bluebeard and killed him.

In the end, Bluebeard’s wife inherited all his wealth. She used a part of it to pay her sister’s dowry and allow her to marry the man she loved. She used another part to aid her brothers to become captains. Lastly she herself remarried to a kind young man.

 

Check out more in depth story here: Perrault, Charles. ““Blue Beard”.” Fairy Tales and Other Traditional Stories. Lit2Go Edition. 0. Web. <http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/68/fairy-tales-and-other-traditional-stories/4858/blue-beard/>. June 10, 2018.