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Blue Beard

A popular tale in an oriental setting, from the French of Perrault, translated by Robert Samber (?1729).

A man of great wealth, but disfigured by a blue beard, and of evil reputation because he has married several wives who have disappeared, asks for the hand of Fatima, the younger of the two daughters of a neighbouring lady of quality. At last she is prevailed on to marry him. Blue Beard, called away on business, leaves the keys of all his treasures to his young wife, but strictly enjoins her not to make use of the key of a particular room. Overcome by curiosity, she opens this room and finds in it the bodies of Blue Beard's previous wives. Horror-struck, she drops the key, which becomes indelibly stained with blood. Blue Beard returns, discovers her disobedience and orders her death. She begs for a little delay, 'Sister Anne' sees her brothers arriving and Blue Beard is killed before he can carry out the sentence.
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