Perrault, C. Perrault, Charles. Lit2Go Edition. June 05,
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Perrault, C. Perrault, Charles. Lit2Go Edition. June 05, There was, some time ago, a gentleman who was very rich. He had fine town and country houses, his dishes and plates were all of gold or silver, his rooms were hung with damask, his chairs and sofas were covered with the richest silks, and his carriages were all gilt with gold in a grand style. But it happened that this gentleman had a blue beard, which made him so very frightful and ugly, that none of the ladies, in the parts where he lived, would venture to go into his company.
Now there was a certain lady of rank, who lived very near him, and had two daughters, both of them of very great beauty. Blue Beard asked her to bestow one of them upon him for a wife, and left it to herself to choose which of the two it should be. But both the young ladies again and again said they would never marry Blue Beard; yet, to be as civil as they could, each of them said, the only reason why she would not have him was, because she was loath to hinder her sister from the match, which would be such a good one for her.
Still the truth of the matter was, they could neither of them bear the thoughts of having a husband with a blue beard; and besides, they had heard of his having been married to several wives before, and nobody could tell what had ever become of any of them. As Blue Beard wished very much to gain their favour, he asked the lady and her daughters, and some ladies who were on a visit at their house, to go with him to one of his country seats, where they spent a whole week, during which they passed all their time in nothing but parties for hunting and fishing, music, dancing, and feasts.
No one even thought of going to bed, and the nights were passed in merry-makings of all kinds. In short, the time rolled on in so much pleasure, that the youngest of the two sisters began to think that the beard which she had been so much afraid of, was not so very blue, and that the gentleman who owned it was vastly civil and pleasing.
Soon after their return home, she told her mother that she had no longer any dislike to accept of Blue Beard for her husband; and in a very short time they were married. About a month after the marriage had taken place, Blue Beard told his wife that he should be forced to leave her for a few weeks, as he had some affairs to attend to in the country.
He desired her to be sure to indulge herself in every kind of pleasure, to invite as many of her friends as she liked, and to treat them with all sorts of dainties, that her time might pass pleasantly till he came back again.
This is the key of the great box that contains the best plate, which we use for company, this belongs to my strong box, where I keep my money, and this belongs to the casket, in which are all my jewels. Here also is a master-key to all the rooms in the house; but this small key belongs to the closet at the end of the long gallery on the ground floor. This, my dear, you must not enter, nor even put the key into the lock, for all the world.
If you do not obey me in this one thing, you must expect the most dreadful punishments. When Blue Beard was gone, the friends of his wife did not wait to be asked, so eager were they to see all the riches and fine things she had gained by marriage; for they had none of them gone to the wedding, on account of their dislike to the blue beard of the bridegroom.
As soon as ever they came to the house, they ran about from room to room, from closet to closet, and then from wardrobe to wardrobe, looking into each with wonder and delight, and said, that every fresh one they came to, was richer and finer than what they had seen the moment before. At last they came to the drawing-rooms, where their surprise was made still greater by the costly grandeur of the hangings, the sofas, the chairs, carpets, tables, sideboards, and looking-glasses; the frames of these last were silver-gilt, most richly adorned, and in the glasses they saw themselves from head to foot.
In short, nothing could exceed the richness of what they saw; and they all did not fail to admire and envy the good fortune of their friend. But all this time the bride herself was far from thinking about the fine speeches they made to her, for she was eager to see what was in the closet her husband had told her not to open.
So great, indeed, was her desire to do this, that, without once thinking how rude it would be to leave her guests, she slipped away down a private staircase that led to this forbidden closet, and in such a hurry, that she was two or three times in danger of falling down stairs and breaking her neck.
When she reached the door of the closet, she stopped for a few moments to think of the order her husband had given her, and how he had told her that he would not fail to keep his word and punish her very severely, if she did not obey him.
But she was so very curious to know what was inside, that she made up her mind to venture in spite of every thing. She then, with a trembling hand, put the key into the lock, and the door straight flew open. As the window shutters were closed, she at first could see nothing; but in a short time she saw that the floor was covered with clotted blood, on which the bodies of several dead women were lying.
These were all the wives whom Blue Beard had married, and killed one after another. At this sight she was ready to sink with fear, and the key of the closet door, which she held in her hand, fell on the floor.
When she had a little got the better of her fright, she took it up, locked the door, and made haste back to her own room, that she might have a little time to get into a humour to amuse her company; but this she could not do, so great was her fright at what she had seen.
As she found that the key of the closet had got stained with blood in falling on the floor, she wiped it two or three times over to clean it; yet still the blood kept on it the same as before. She next washed it, but the blood did not move at all. Early in the same evening Blue Beard came home, saying, that before he had gone far on his journey he was met by a horseman, who was coming to tell him that his affair in the country was settled without his being present; upon which his wife said every thing she could think of, to make him believe she was in a transport of joy at his sudden return.
The next morning he asked her for the keys: she gave them to him; but as she could not help showing her fright, Blue Beard easily guessed what had been the matter. After going a good many times backwards and forwards, as if she was looking for the key, she was at last forced to give it to Blue Beard. You have been in the closet on the ground floor! Very well, madam: since you are so mighty fond of this closet, you shall be sure to take your place among the ladies you saw there.
The poor woman now begged a single moment to say one prayer. You have had too much already. Just at this instant a loud knocking was heard at the gates, which made Blue Beard wait for a moment to see who it was. The poor wife, who was almost as dead as her husband, was not able at first to rise and embrace her brothers; but she soon came to herself; and, as Blue Beard had no heirs, she found herself the owner of his great riches.
She gave a part of his vast fortune as a marriage dowry to her sister Anne, who soon after became the wife of a young gentleman who had long loved her.
Authors Books Genres Collections Readability. Readability: Flesch—Kincaid Level: 6. The embedded audio player requires a modern internet browser. You should visit Browse Happy and update your internet browser today!
I had no idea Red Riding Hood and Cinderella were in this ballet. I've only seen two versions of this ballet before. One was a recording of an old Nureyev performance which only included the cat dance and the Bluebird dance at the end and the other was the Matthew Bourne version, which was highly reimagined the fairies were vampires. It was a little weird even for me. Fairy tale scholar R.
The Blue Beard tale is a dark story of deceit, death, murder, blood and forbidden chambers. These legends usually encompass horrific tales of murdering noblemen and insecure husbands and are not for the faint hearted. Some of these original tales also have dark, gruesome themes. There was a man who had fine houses, both in town and country, a deal of silver and gold plate, embroidered furniture, and coaches gilded all over with gold.
Bluebird and other fairy tales of Charles Perrault
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