Once upon a time, in the fair land of France, there lived a very powerful lord, the owner of estates, farms and a great splendid castle, and his name was Bluebeard. This wasn’t his real name, it was a nickname, due to the fact he had a long shaggy black beard with glints of blue in it. He was very handsome and charming, but, if the truth be told, there was something about him that made you feel respect, and a little uneasy…
Bluebeard often went away to war, and when he did, he left his wife in charge of the castle. He had had lots of wives, all young, pretty and noble. As bad luck would have it, one after the other, they had all died, and so the noble lord was forever getting married again.
“Sire,” someone would ask now and again, “what did your wives die of?”
“Hah, my friend,” Bluebeard would reply, “one died of smallpox, one of a hidden sickness, another of a high fever, another of a terrible infection… Ah, I’m very unlucky, and they’re unlucky too! They’re all buried in the castle chapel,” he added. Nobody found anything strange about that. Nor did the sweet and beautiful young girl that Bluebeard took as a wife think it strange either.