Once upon a time, a beautiful maiden was walking through the forest when out of nowhere, a king stepped out of his golden coach and proposed to her. Frightened by his beard, which was totally blue, the maiden objected to marrying her suitor. Her father couldn’t believe his good luck, and after nagging his daughter relentlessly, she finally consented. However, the beard was so blue, it made one shudder somewhat to look at it, and so the maiden went to her brothers for some help.
“Dear brothers,” she cried, “if you hear me scream, drop everything at once and come to my aid immediately.” The brothers promised to do this, and said, “Farewell, dear sister. If we hear your voice, we will jump on our horses and be there as soon as possible.”
Then, the maiden hopped into the coach with Bluebeard and off he went with his new queen to a splendid castle, which was now also hers and would have made both of them very happy were it not for the king’s blue beard that, no matter how hard she tried, frightened her beyond belief.
One day, he had to go on a long journey and gave all the keys to the entire castle to the queen under one condition: she could go into every room and look at everything with the exception of one particular room, which was forbidden to her.
“If you open it,” he threatened her, “you will pay for it with your life.” The queen promised to do as he asked.
As soon as he left, she wasted no time opening every door one right after the other and saw many treasures that must have been gathered from around the world. Soon there were no more doors to open, except for the forbidden room. It was the only thing left on her mind. Curiosity gnawed at her as she turned the golden key over in her hand, wondering what was behind the last door. The queen would have willingly given up looking behind all the other doors if she could have just seen what was worth hiding in the last room. Since the key was made out of gold, she believed that something precious must be inside.
There was nothing precious inside. Instead, blood rushed towards the queen and she saw only carnage. The skeletons of dead women were hanging from the walls. Some still even had flesh on their body. Horrified by the ghastly scene, she slammed the door shut, accidentally dropping the key into a puddle of blood.Terrified that Bluebeard might discover what she had done, the queen tried to wipe away the blood, but to no avail; the bloodstains could not be erased. Out of desperation, she thrust the key into a pile of hay, thinking it would absorb the blood left on the key, but it was hopeless.
The next day, Bluebeard returned to the castle and asked for his keys back first thing. Heart pounding, the queen brought the bunch of keys back to the king as he requested, hoping he wouldn’t notice the golden key was missing. However, after counting all the keys, he looked straight into her eyes and said, “Where’s the key to the secret room?”
His queen blushed red as the blood she had seen. “It’s upstairs,” she stammered, “I misplaced it. I shall go and look for it tomorrow.”
“You’d better go now, dear wife. I need it. Today.”
“Oh, I might as well tell you. I lost it in the hay. I’ll have to go and search for it first.” Bluebeard was angry.
“You haven’t lost it,” he said. “Now you’ll enter the room whether you want to or not because you did not listen to me.”
The queen brought the key, still stained with blood, back to Bluebeard.
“Prepare yourself for your own death,” he told her, “because you shall die today.” Bluebeard grabbed a knife and started to sharpen it on the bottom step.
“Before I die, let me say my prayers,” the queen asked, and ran upstairs. As soon as she got to the window, she yelled to her brothers for help as loud as she could. Finally, she saw her three brothers riding as fast as they could towards her rescue just before her head was suddenly jerked backwards as Bluebeard grabbed her by the hair. He was just about to plunge his knife into her heart when her three brothers tore their sister from his hands.
Once their sister was safe, the brothers went back to cut down Bluebeard with their swords. Afterwards, they hung him up next to the women he killed, and took their sister home with them.
Then, all the treasure that was once Bluebeard’s became hers.