A traditional French legend by Charles Perrault


Bluebeard was a very rich man. He had a big house. But he was alone. He did not have a family. In the past, he had married.  He had married ten times. Bluebeard married ten beautiful wives but they all mysteriously died.

Bluebeard married and remarried. With each marriage, the people suspected Bluebeard. The rumor was that Bluebeard had killed the ten wives.

One day, Bluebeard announced, “I am looking for a wife.”  The people of the village were nervous.  The girls refused to marry Bluebeard.

One family had two beautiful girls. The family was very poor.  One day Bluebeard arrived and said to the father: “You have two beautiful girls.  I will offer you a vast fortune … if one of your daughters marries me. “

The father was very poor and desperate. He accepted the offer. He said, “’Girls, one of you will marry Bluebeard.”  The younger girl was only fifteen.  She cried and cried.  The older sister was twenty.  She protected her younger sister.  “I volunteer.  I will marry Bluebeard,” said the courageous girl.

Her father was happy, but the girl was very sad.  She was forced to marry Bluebeard.

Blue Beard had a big house, almost a palace.  There were one hundred rooms in the house.  The girl arrived at the house, and she was nervous.  “I am the eleventh wife who entered Bluebeard’s house.  But I will end the same way as the other ten wives.”

The poor girl was devastated … but she had consolation:  she was rich. She had a big house.  Most of the time she had her independence. For long periods of time, Bluebeard traveled.  He traveled on the ocean. He was a pirate and he traveled long distances.

When Bluebeard traveled, his wife was free. Bluebeard gave her the keys to the house. Bluebeard said:

“Here are the keys. You are free to go anywhere. You are free to do anything. The servants will give you anything! But you must obey one rule. Never go in the cellar. The cellar is for ME! You are not allowed! Do not enter it!”

“Yes, I promise. I promise not to go to the cellar,” said the wife.

“Wife, if you are sad, invite your family. Your family can visit you,” said Bluebeard.

“Thank you!” said the wife.  She imagined her father and her sister, and she was not so sad. She wrote a letter, an invitation to her family.

Her father wrote a letter back: “Thank you for the invitation. Yes, I will come to your house. See?  It is good to be rich.”

The wife was happy.

But the woman was curious.  The conversation with Bluebeard was bizarre.

“Don’t enter this room!” said Bluebeard.  But why not?  The wife suspected the room was important. “I suspect that the secret room reveals the mystery of the first ten women,” the woman said to herself.

Secretly, she walked down to the cellar.  She walked to the secret room. She had the key … and she turned it. She entered the secret room. Immediately she cried in terror! There were ten corpses. Ten skeletons of ten dead women were hanging in the room. There was a pool of blood. There were instruments of torture. “I married a monster!” screamed Bluebeard’s wife.

At the same moment, Bluebeard returned. He noticed that his wife had entered the secret room. He was furious.  Bluebeard prepared to attack his wife.

At that moment, the girl’s father arrived. He saw Bluebeard.  He was very nervous. He silently entered the room. Suddenly, he attacked Bluebeard.  Bluebeard was dead.  Finally the ten wives got justice!

“Father, thank you! You saved me!” said the girl. She hugged her father.  Finally, Bluebeard was forced to pay for his crimes.  And now Bluebeard’s wife had a big house; she and her family were rich.  Most importantly, she and her family were safe.