-->''"At first she saw nothing, for the windows were closed, but after a few moments she perceived dimly that the floor was entirely covered with clotted blood, and that in this there were reflected the dead bodies of several women that hung along the walls. These were all the wives of Blue Beard, whose throats he had cut, one after the other."''
-->-- '''''Bluebeard'''''

An old French Folktale ([[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/bluebeard/index.html online version here]]) written as ''La Barbe Bleue'' ("The Blue Beard") by Creator/CharlesPerrault in 1697, which later found its way into [[Creator/TheBrothersGrimm the Grimms']] first edition of 1812 as ''König Blaubart'' ("King Bluebeard"). (In various versions of the fairy tale the eponymous man is a king, sometimes a knight or other rich person.) The story starts with a rich gentleman, who is a widower, asking for the hand of a fair young maiden in marriage. After the wedding, he gives her a key-ring with the keys to all the doors of his mansion (or palace), with the request that if she loves him she must never, ever, ''ever'' use the golden key to open a certain door in the house.

Then he leaves the house on business, sometimes for days at a time, and the woman gets bored and eaten up with curiosity about [[ForbiddenFruit the door she is not supposed to open]], so finally she goes and opens it. (In some versions Bluebeard merely points out the key as forbidden, and the woman tries the key in all the doors of the house until she finds the right chamber.) When she opens the door, she finds the blood-spattered dead bodies of all the former wives of Bluebeard who he murdered for their money. She flees in horror and tries to act as if nothing happened, but when Bluebeard returns he invariably finds out what she has done, one way or the other (sometimes by finding traces of blood on her shoes or the key she dropped in fright), and threatens to kill her, too, for betraying his trust. Depending on the version of the tale, she is saved by the arrival of her relatives who kill Bluebeard, or, after having been locked up, manages to flee and alert the authorities.

A second Grimm variant, "Fitcher's Bird", indicates that the woman was only wrong insofar as she got caught. The heroine in "Fitcher's Bird" also "betrays his trust" to find the bodies of her sisters, but does so in a manner that he cannot detect, and therefore ultimately comes out on top.

An English version of the story, "Mr. Fox", has the heroine witness the villain murdering a previous bride, and confronting him at the wedding breakfast with the severed hand of the unfortunate lady. Shakespeare, in ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'', makes a reference to the recurrent rhyme in this version:
-->''For it is not so, and it was not so,''
-->''And God forbid that it should be so!''

This story has given name to a specific kind of SerialKiller, "TheBluebeard," who kills a succession of wives.

Is not [[CaptainColorbeard a pirate]].
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!!''Bluebeard'' and variations contain the following tropes:

* AnAesop
* AffablyEvil: The title character, though this demeanor quickly disappears when his wife betrays his trust.
* BeardOfEvil: The title character.
* BigDamnHeroes: The relatives, if they arrive in the nick of time.
* BrokenAesop: Perrault tries to explain that the curiosity is a flaw...but the lady finds out her husband is a serial murderer, escapes him and ends marrying a better guy.
* TheBluebeard: TropeNamer.
* CaptainColorbeard: Bluebeard isn't a captain, but his beard is colored.
* DamselInDistress
* DeusExMachina: The woman's relatives seem to show up out of nowhere, to kill Bluebeard at the very last minute.
** In the Georges Méliès film version, a good fairy brings the dead brides back to life.
** Subverted in the "Mr. Fox" variation, where it makes sense that her relatives are there to save her. She waits to expose Mr. Fox until she, he, and the rest of her family and suitors are at her pre-wedding breakfast.
* EggSitting: In ''Fitcher's Bird'', the sorcerer Fitze Fitcher carries young women and gives them an egg, then tells them to carry it everywhere except the sorcerer's room and to be very careful with it for a few days before he can marry them. Failure to pass the test results in [[CruelAndUnusualDeath the women getting dismembered]].
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: ''See the page quote''.
* ForbiddenFruit
* PeekABooCorpse: Several of them.
* RuleOfThree: In ''Fitcher's Bird'', the heroine is preceded by her two sisters, both of whom are caught peeking and killed.
* SchmuckBait: "You can open any door in the castle, but not ''that'' one." Right. Now, guess what she does next....
* SerialKiller
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Bluebeard may have been based on 15th century serial killer [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles_de_Rais Gilles de Rais]] (or de Retz). When you can say that an adaptation in which someone has a roomful of dead wives and a basin full of blood in their [[TortureCellar locked-away torture room]] is LighterAndSofter...
** Of course, there is also Henry the VII. GrimmsFairyTaleClassics lampshaded this.
* WealthyEverAfter: The wife is Bluebeard's only heir.
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!! Adaptions of the tale or appearances of the character in other works:

* Much like many other fairy tale/fable characters, Bluebeard was a prominent character in the comic book series ''Comicbook/{{Fables}}'' for several story arcs.
* "The White Road" by Creator/NeilGaiman is a version of the "Mr. Fox" variant, with a twist - [[spoiler: Mr. Fox may be innocent, having been framed by a {{kitsune}}.]] (That said, it's [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation very]] [[EpilepticTree ambiguous]] if you read the story closely.)
* Appears as episode 16 of the anime ''Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics''. Based on the Brothers Grimm's retelling, here the girl is named Josephine.
* Kurt Vonnegut's 1987 novel ''Bluebeard'' takes the fairy tale as inspiration.
* The ''Series/{{Grimm}}'' episode ''Lonelyhearts'' builds its main plot around a (very loose) interpretation of the Bluebeard story.
* Track 7 of SoundHorizon's ''Märchen'' is based on this fairy tale.
* The Caster class of Servant in ''Literature/FateZero'' is Gilles de Rais (the inspiration for the story), who refers to himself as Bluebeard.
* SoundHorizon's song "Aoki Hakushaku no Shiro" on their ''Marchen'' album is based around this story.
* A ballad ''Bridegroom'' by Creator/AlexanderPushkin is similar to "Mr.Fox" version. A merchant's daughter got lost in the woods and came back 3 days later after experiencing something horrible, which she refuses to tell. Later she is [[ArrangedMarriage forced to marry]] some man she is afraid of. At the wedding she [[AllJustADream retells a nightmare]], where she stumbles upon a strange house, hides and watches a wedding of a bandit leader that ends with the bride's murder and chopping her hand off. Then she asks her groom if he recognizes [[ThatWasNotADream the ring from that hand]]. The groom is promptly arrested, tried and executed.
* Russian folktale ''The Cat with the Golden Tail'' replaces Bluebeard with a ''bear'', who kidnaps girls and forces them to live in his house as his wife and housekeeper. He murders them for entering a forbidden storehouse with kegs of magic liquids (that can turn anything to gold, to silver, [[HealingSpring resurrect dead]] or [[GrimyWater heal wounds but kill the patient]]). He also ends up storing the corpses next to kegs.[[note]] The third girl resurrects her sisters, tricks the bear into carrying them all home and arranges the accident that kills him.[[/note]]
* Hungarian opera ''Blubeard's Castle'' (or ''Duke Blubeard's Castle'') by Bela Bartok and its TV and cinema adaptations stray rather far from the original into symbolism bordering MindScrew. Blubeard shows his fourth wife the rooms of his castle, one by one, uncovering depths of his psyche. The doors may just as well be [[TeleportersAndTransporters portals]] to someplace else and from the last room emerge three previous wives -- still alive and well -- who take the new one with them.
* Bluebeard is a darklord in the ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' setting for TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons, and featured in the first anthology. Mr. Fox also appears as a bogeyman in the ''Dark Tales and Disturbing Legends'' supplement.
* A villain named Bluebeard appeared in the 1949 PorkyPig short "Bye Bye Bluebeard", where he was wolf-like and did, indeed, have a blue beard. (He was [[VileVillainSaccharineShow far more evil]] than most ''LooneyTunes'' villains, tying poor Porky up and building a guillotine to use on him. Fortunately for Porky, this version is a VillainousGlutton who is saved when a mouse tricks him into eating bombs disguised as popovers.
* A memorial outside the exit to ''Franchise/TheHauntedMansion'' (at least the Orlando version) is dedicated to Bluebeard and his "Loving Wives":
--> Seven winsome wives
--> Some fat some thin
--> Six of them were faithful
--> The seventh did him in
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