The Many Tales of Bluebeard
There are three different variations of “Bluebeard” which all involve the themes of curiosity and disobedience. The other two tales, “The Robber Bridegroom” and “Fitcher’s Bird” both involve women who are to be wed to murders. “The Robber Bridegroom” tells of a young girl who is to be wed to a man she has never met and therefore goes into the dark forest to meet the mysterious man. When she arrives, an old women warns her that her future husband is a murder who will kill her after they wed. The young girl hides behind a barrel and has another girl’s finger land on her lap who her supposed husband is killing right in front of her. At their wedding, the girl tells of her strange dream but ends her story by showing the finger, proving her husband’s cruelty and having him executed.
The story of “Fitcher’s Bird” is about three daughters who are each married off to a sorcerer. When the first two daughters arrive at the sorcerer’s house, he gives them an egg and tells them not to drop the egg, and a set of keys but forbids them to go into one room. Curiosity gets the better of both sisters who go into the room and find a bloody basin filled with chopped up women. The sisters drop the enchanted egg into the blood pool and because the blood will not come off, the sorcerer knows they disobeyed him and presumes to chop them up. The third daughter places the egg in a safe spot and when she enters the forbidden room, she revives her sister and has the sorcerer unknowingly carry them back to their home. The third daughter decorates a skeleton and places it in a window, disguises herself as a bird, and convinces people coming to the wedding that the skeleton is her peering out of the window. When the third daughter’s family comes to rescue her, they lock the sorcerer and his cronies in his house and burn them to death.
The story of “Bluebeard” tells of a wealthy man who is not liked by women due to the unnatural color of his blue beard. When Bluebeard marries, he tells his wife he must depart on a journey. He gives his wife a set of keys and forbids her from entering one room and if she does, he might “do anything”. Curiosity overcomes the young girl who opens the door to find Bluebeards past wives murdered, hanging dead on the walls. Surprised, the girl drops the enchanted key into a pool of blood. Bluebeard returns and finds the blood on the key and gives his wife thirty minutes to pray before he murders her. The young girl has her sister get their brothers to come rescue her from Bluebeards superfluous home. The brothers arrive at Bluebeards and presume to kill him, causing the girl to inherit all of his wealth and riches.
All of these tales involve the power of curiosity and disobedience. In “The Robber Bridegroom,” the young girl curiously wonders into the dark forest to meet her husband who turns out to be a murder. The other two tales involve young girls which go into a forbidden room that results in their almost termination by their husbands who are also murders. All girls disobey their husbands which is frowned upon during the time period because the man was supposed to run the house and be obeyed by his wife no matter what. The two tales involve an enchanted key or egg which symbolizes their loss of innocence when they find the murdered victims, and ultimately leads to their downfalls with their husbands. Although, all the characters in the tales are resourceful enough to find means of escaping their husbands and having them killed as a consequence for their sins. I am partial to “Fitcher’s Bird” because the girl opposes to marrying a man she doesn’t know, and finds a way to defeat her potential husband using her wit. Despite the other two characters relying on others to help them, the young girl in “Fitcher’s Bird” is smart enough to come up with her own detailed plan to escape the sorcerer.