Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Use Somebody by 2CELLOS.

There is a fantastic, now long-buried series Sarah Beth Durst did when she was writing her Into the Woods & Out of the Woods books where she took obscure fairy tales and gave a dash of commonsense commentary to them. I highly recommend them. Who needs kittens when you can have a laugh out loud fairy tale story?

It has been so long since she had updated that I decided it was time to add to the menagerie. Bluebeard is both famous and at the same time really not. I was so creeped out as a child at finding the dead wives hanging up in the room like old coats. There was even a picture in my book, complete with trickles of blood running along the grout. Yeah, stuff for the not faint of heart. But is one that has stuck with me, so that is the one I want to do today...

Blue Beard (from Charles Perrault)

There was once a man who had fine houses, but was so unlucky as to have a blue beard, which made him so frightfully ugly that all the women and girls ran away from him.

Of course, with all that wealth no one could have possibly recommended a good dye for him.

One of his neighbors, a lady of quality, had two daughters who were perfect beauties. He desired of her one of them in marriage, leaving it up to her which of the two she would bestow on him.

Hey, what’s one girl against another? It’s like picking out cans of soup, right?

 Neither of them would have him, and they sent him backwards and forwards from one to the other, not being able to bear the thoughts of marrying a man who had a blue beard. Adding to their disgust and aversion was the fact that he already had been married to several wives, and nobody knew what had become of them.

I love that the blue beard is their first and foremost aversion. The rest can all be worked out. Long story short, he courts both of them, and the youngest decides his beard may not be quite so blue after all. No mention to the MIA wives. Glamor magazine would be so proud for putting your priorities right.

As soon as they returned home, the marriage was concluded. About a month afterwards, Blue Beard told his wife that he was obliged to take a country journey for six weeks at least, about affairs of very great consequence. He desired her to divert herself in his absence, to send for her friends and acquaintances, to take them into the country, if she pleased, and to make good cheer wherever she was.

Aww, perhaps the most amicable arranged marriage after all. Especially compared to one where you’re not being nearly eaten by a dragon and given away as prize money. Free reign of the house ain’t bad.

Lots of keys (including all the stores of his gold and treasuries, strongboxes, apartments and the whole shebang, oh yeah, don’t touch that tiny key which leads to a completely nonessential part of the house. Little key = bad, remember.

“Open them all” he told her. “Go into each and every one of them, except that little closet, which I forbid you, and forbid it in such a manner that, if you happen to open it, you may expect my just anger and resentment."

“Anger and resentment?” So… no second helpings of cupcakes after dinner kind of angry?

She promised to observe, very exactly, whatever he had ordered. Then he, after having embraced her, got into his coach and proceeded on his journey.

Her neighbors and good friends did not wait to be sent for by the newly married lady. They were impatient to see all the rich furniture of her house, and had not dared to come while her husband was there, because of his blue beard, which frightened them.

Dude, this guy’s beard must be REALLY BLUE. Like, neon blue.

They ran through all the rooms, closets, and wardrobes, which were all so fine and rich that they seemed to surpass one another.

After that, they went up into the two great rooms, which contained the best and richest furniture. They could not sufficiently admire the number and beauty of the tapestry, beds, couches, cabinets, stands, tables, and looking glasses,

On and on and on. You get the idea. Let’s just say they liked the stuff. A lot.

They ceased not to extol and envy the happiness of their friend, who in the meantime in no way diverted herself in looking upon all these rich things, because of the impatience she had to go and open the closet on the ground floor.

Wow, dude. Really? It hasn’t even been a DAY yet. I get hungry slower than this. Go count the silverware or something. You have the key to every strongbox in the house. Go on a vacation! Buy a ham!

She was so much pressed by her curiosity that, without considering that it was very uncivil for her to leave her company, she went down a little back staircase, and with such excessive haste that she nearly fell and broke her neck.

Well that was sudden. You know, there are some very emotionally passionate people in this story.

Having come to the closet door, she made a stop for some time, thinking about her husband's orders, and considering what unhappiness might attend her if she was disobedient.

No cupcakes and no ham, for starters.

But the temptation was so strong that she could not overcome it. She then took the little key, and opened it, trembling. At first she could not see anything plainly, because the windows were shut.

There are WINDOWS in this place? He is not lacking for audacity, that’s for sure.

After some moments she began to perceive that the floor was all covered over with clotted blood, on which lay the bodies of several dead women, ranged against the walls.

Considering he married them all at different times and being out in the open and all, you really have to wonder what state of decay they are in. If not, this guy would own the market on embalming.

(These were all the wives whom Blue Beard had married and murdered, one after another.)

Just in case you couldn’t piece it together on your own.

She thought she should have died for fear, and the key, which she, pulled out of the lock, fell out of her hand. After having somewhat recovered her surprise, she picked up the key, locked the door, and went upstairs into her chamber to recover; but she could not, so much was she frightened.

The guests are apparently forgotten. Don’t worry, I’m sure they can find their way out. Along with all those gilded mirrors and tapestries and… No no, don’t trouble yourself. You just have dead bodies in your basement and you’re probably next.

Having observed that the key to the closet was stained with blood, she tried two or three times to wipe it off; but the blood would not come out; in vain did she wash it, and even rub it with soap and sand. The blood still remained, for the key was magical and she could never make it quite clean; when the blood was gone off from one side, it came again on the other.

If it was magical, then why let her in at all? There are so many Wizard Weasley Wheeze jokes you could pull with a magical key like this! But hey, maybe he has a rule where he can’t kill them until they look. Why not? We’ll go for that.

Blue Beard returned from his journey the same evening, saying that he had received letters upon the road, informing him that the affair he went about had concluded to his advantage.

After less than a day, including traveling time. Let’s say the magic key has a magic homing beacon as well. And did anyone check the silver?

His wife did all she could to convince him that she was extremely happy about his speedy return.

The next morning he asked her for the keys, which she gave him, but with such a trembling hand that he easily guessed what had happened.

"What!" said he, "is not the key of my closet among the rest?"

"I must," said she, "have left it upstairs upon the table."

"Fail not," said Blue Beard, "to bring it to me at once."

After several goings backwards and forwards, she was forced to bring him the key. Blue Beard, having very attentively considered it, said to his wife, "Why is there blood on the key?"

"I do not know," cried the poor woman, paler than death.

Lying is not going to help you at this point. At this point it is most prudent to look for sharp, pointy objects to defend yourself with.

"You do not know!" replied Blue Beard. "I very well know. You went into the closet, did you not? Very well, madam; you shall go back, and take your place among the ladies you saw there."

Upon this she threw herself at her husband's feet, and begged his pardon with all the signs of a true repentance, vowing that she would never more be disobedient. She would have melted a rock, so beautiful and sorrowful was she; but Blue Beard had a heart harder than any rock!

"You must die, madam," said he, "at once."

You heard the man. Not in an hour, not after elevensies, at once.

"Since I must die," answered she (looking upon him with her eyes all bathed in tears), "give me some little time to say my prayers."

"I give you," replied Blue Beard, "half a quarter of an hour, but not one moment more."

Oh, so apparently not at once. What a nice, psychopathic, serial-killing husband!

When she was alone she called out to her sister, and said to her, "Sister Anne" (for that was her name), "go up, I beg you, to the top of the tower, and look if my brothers are not coming. They promised me that they would come today, and if you see them, give them a sign to make haste."

Where on earth has her sister been skulking to be in that kind of calling distance? Does she sleep with her under her bed? And of course, never mind about looking for a window or knife or anything. Apparently you blue-boyed husband isn’t guarding you while you say your prayers.

Her sister Anne went up to the top of the tower, and the poor afflicted wife cried out from time to time, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see anyone coming?"

Still waiting for that knife. Or handy rope made of sheets. Oh course if she is on the ground floor it would be a hope skip and jump out the unguarded window. But that would be too easy.

And sister Anne said, "I see nothing but a cloud of dust in the sun, and the green grass."

 Don’t worry your head about finding rope or knife either, Anne.

In the meanwhile Blue Beard, holding a great saber in his hand, cried out as loud as he could bawl to his wife, "Come down instantly, or I shall come up to you."

"One moment longer, if you please," said his wife; and then she cried out very softly, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see anybody coming?"

And sister Anne answered, "I see nothing but a cloud of dust in the sun, and the green grass."

"Come down quickly," cried Blue Beard, "or I will come up to you."

"I am coming," answered his wife; and then she cried, "Anne, sister Anne, do you not see anyone coming?"

"I see," replied sister Anne, "a great cloud of dust approaching us."

"Are they my brothers?"

"Alas, no my dear sister, I see a flock of sheep."

"Will you not come down?" cried Blue Beard.

You should go down to your death. I mean, he has asked politely three times.

"One moment longer," said his wife, and then she cried out, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see nobody coming?"

"I see," said she, "two horsemen, but they are still a great way off."

"God be praised," replied the poor wife joyfully. "They are my brothers. I will make them a sign, as well as I can for them to make haste."

It couldn’t possibly be any other two riders on the face of the earth. At least this girl has faith, even if she doesn’t have an ounce of sense.

Then Blue Beard bawled out so loud that he made the whole house tremble. The distressed wife came down

Voluntairly? You’re kidding me, girl. I think you know what he plans to do.

and threw herself at his feet, all in tears, with her hair about her shoulders.

That’s your last defense? Something else has GOT to have crossed your mind by now.

"This means nothing," said Blue Beard. "You must die!" Then, taking hold of her hair with one hand, and lifting up the sword with the other, he prepared to strike off her head. The poor lady, turning about to him, and looking at him with dying eyes, desired him to afford her one little moment to recollect herself.

"No, no," said he, "commend yourself to God," and was just ready to strike.

At this very instant there was such a loud knocking at the gate that Blue Beard made a sudden stop.

He has excellent hearing if he is inside the house.

The gate was opened, and two horsemen entered. Drawing their swords, they ran directly to Blue Beard. He knew them to be his wife's brothers, one a dragoon, the other a musketeer; so that he ran away immediately to save himself; but the two brothers pursued and overtook him before he could get to the steps of the porch.

Outside, apparently. Eh, who needs secrecy now anyway?

Then they ran their swords through his body and left him dead. The poor wife was almost as dead as her husband, and had not strength enough to rise and welcome her brothers.

I’m pretty sure he is more dead than you.

Blue Beard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all his estate. She made use of one part of it to marry her sister Anne to a young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another part to buy captains' commissions for her brothers, and the rest to marry herself to a very worthy gentleman, who made her forget the ill time she had passed with Blue Beard.

And all the newly-introduced deus ex machina characters (except Anne. But she didn't have a name until 3/4 of the story) all live happily ever after! :)