Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bluebeard...A Fairy Tale

From Wikipedia:
""Bluebeard" (French: "La Barbe bleue") is a French literary fairy tale written by Charles Perrault and is one of eight tales by the author first published by Barbin in Paris in January 1697 in Histoires ou Contes du temps passé. The tale tells the story of a violent nobleman in the habit of murdering his wives and the attempts of one wife to avoid the fate of her predecessors."

Clearly, this French fairytale is not for the faint of heart. I came across some lovely photos by Tuttle Images, (as the one shown here), here, (linked on The Beautiful Necessity site), that retell the poem. Stunning photographs! Here is another version in story form.

Here is the text from the Walter Crane illustrated version of Bluebeard, published 1875.:

Bluebeard: A Fairy Tale

Once on a time there lived a man
hated by all he knew.
Both that his ways were very bad,
and that his beard was blue;
But as he was so rich and grand, and
led a merry life,
A lady he contrived at last to induce
to be his wife.

For a month after the wedding they
lived and had good cheer;
And then said Bluebeard to his wife,
"I'll say good-bye my dear;
"Indeed, it is but for six weeks that I
shall be away.
"I beg that you'll invite your friends
and feast and dance and play:

"And all my property I'll leave con-
fided to your care:
"Here are the keys of all my chests,
there's plenty and to spare.

"But this small key belongs to one small
room on the ground floor. --
"And this you must not open, or you
will repent it sore."

And so he went: and all the friends
came there from far and wide.
And in her wealth the lady took much
happiness and pride.

But in a while this kind of joy grew
nearly satisfied.
And oft she saw the closet door, and longed
to look inside.

At last she could no more refrain and turned
the little key.
And looked within, and fainted straight the
horrid sight to see:

For there upon the floor was blood, and on
the walls were wives
For Bluebeard first had married them, then
cut their throats with knives.

And this poor wife, distracted, picked the key
up from the floor.
All stained with blood; and with much fear
she shut and locked the door.

She tried in vain to clean the key and wash
the stain away
With sand and soap--it was no use. Blue-
beard came back that day:

At once he asked her for the key,--he saw
the bloody stain;--

"You have been in the closet once,
and you shall go again!"
"O spare me, spare me! give me
time, not kill me hastily!"
"You have a quarter of an hour,--
then, madam, you must die!"

"Come down!" cried Bluebeard, "time is
up!" With many a sigh and moan,
She prayed him for a minute more: he
shouted still, "Come down!"
"O sister Anne, look out, look out! and do
you nothing see?"
"At last I see our brothers two come riding

"Now spare me, Bluebeard--spare thy
wife!" but as the words were said,
And just as Bluebeard's cruel blade was
descending on her head,

In rushed the brothers with their swords,--
they cut the murderer down,
And saved their sister's life, and gained
much glory and renown;

And then they all with gold and plate and
jewels rare made free,
And ever after lived content on Blue-
beard's property.

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