Bluebeard

There was a man who was as feared as he was respected. His very appearance was able to spark fear in the community; the man’s beard was as blue as the night sky.

Bluebeard decided that it was time to take a wife. He put on his best clothes and set out on his best horse to visit all the unmarried women. On the edge of the forest he found a widow with three beautiful daughters. He felt that any one of the three would make a fine wife, so he stopped and invited the four women to dinner.

The widow, sensing there was something wrong, initially told him no. The two oldest daughters, sensing there was something wrong, turned down his invitation. The youngest daughter thought that he wasn’t so bad and protested-but was shushed by her elders.

Bluebeard was undeterred and returned the next day with pretty ponies and bearing gifts. The widow was still wary but allowed Bluebeard to take her family on a ride in the forest. Seeing how well-mannered he was and how nice the ride went, she allowed her daughters to go to his castle for dinner.

Her two eldest daughters still felt there was something wrong with the man. There was a danger that they didn’t trust. The youngest looked at him and thought, he’s not so bad. His hair’s not so strange. He has a nice estate. He’s rich. He would make me a fine husband. So when he asked for her hand, she agreed to the marriage.

Everything was fine for the youngest daughter and her husband. Eventually however Bluebeard had to go away on business. He left his wife in charge of the house and gave her a keyring. Bluebeard told her that she could explore the castle as long as she didn’t open the door that the smallest key unlocked.

His wife invited her sisters to the castle, being unwilling to be there alone. They were impressed with its size and decorations. The two pressed her to go exploring with them, being that the estate was so large. The three went about trying all the keys in all the doors.

All but one. Every key but the smallest was identified and explored. The smallest key seemed to have no door. The girls were determined and finally found a door in the basement that they had overlooked. It was an odd door, both very small and very ornate. The key fit the lock and they crept inside.

The sisters were horrified. The room was stacked floor to ceiling with bones and the floor was stained with blood. They quickly left and slammed the door. The two eldest begged their sister to come home with them.

‘Oh no’, the eldest cried, ‘You’re bleeding!’

The key was oozing blood.

Just then they heard the gates open. Bluebeard was returning home. The two sisters crept out and hid in the garden.

Bluebeard found his wife covered in blood. Knowing exactly what happened, he screamed,

‘You opened the door, so now you’ll rest with my other wives!’

The youngest sister, thinking fast, begged for fifteen minutes to prepare herself for her fate. Bluebeard reluctantly agreed, but told her that she had only fifteen minutes to live.

She called out the window to her sisters, where are our brothers?

They are coming, we have summoned them, they called back.

Ten minutes, called out Bluebeard.

Where are our brothers?

They are coming. We see dust in the distance.

Five minutes.

Where are our brothers?

They are coming. They are at the gates.

Just as Bluebeard reached for his wife to kill her, her brothers broke into the room. They fell on the man like a storm, leaving nothing but a stain on the floor when they were done.

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