"Blaubart" - Blue beard
* 1889 in Wolfhagen † 1926 in Kassel
Etching in brown ink. Size of plate: 22.6 x 14 cm.
"Bluebeard" is a French folktale, the most famous surviving version of which was written by Charles Perrault and first published by Barbin in Paris in 1697 in Histoires ou contes du temps passé. The tale tells the story of a wealthy man in the habit of murdering his wives and the attempts of the present one to avoid the fate of her predecessors. "The White Dove", "The Robber Bridegroom" and "Fitcher's Bird" (also called "Fowler's Fowl") are tales similar to "Bluebeard". The notoriety of the tale is such that Merriam-Webster gives the word "Bluebeard" the definition of "a man who marries and kills one wife after another". The verb "bluebearding" has even appeared as a way to describe the crime of either killing a series of women, or seducing and abandoning a series of women.
In one version of the story, Bluebeard is a wealthy and powerful nobleman who has been married six times to beautiful women who have all mysteriously vanished. When he visits his neighbor and asks to marry one of his daughters, they are terrified. After hosting a wonderful banquet, the youngest decides to be his wife and goes to live with him in his rich and luxurious palace in the countryside, away from her family.
Bluebeard announces that he must leave for the country and gives the palace keys to his wife. She is able to open any room with them, each of which contain some of his riches, except for an underground chamber that he strictly forbids her to enter lest she suffer his wrath. He then goes away, leaves the palace, and the keys in her hands. She invites her sister, Anne, and her friends and cousins over for a party. However, she is eventually overcome with the desire to see what the secret room holds, and she sneaks away from the party and ventures into it.
She immediately discovers that the room is flooded with blood and the murdered corpses of Bluebeard's previous six wives hanging on hooks from the walls. Horrified, she drops the key in the blood and flees the room. She tries to wipe the blood stain off the key, but the key is magic and the stain can't be removed from it. Bluebeard unexpectedly returns and finds the bloody key. In a blind rage, he threatens to kill his wife on the spot, but she asks for one last prayer with Anne. Then, as Bluebeard is about to deliver the fatal blow, Anne and the wife's brothers arrive and kill him. The wife inherits his fortune and castle, and has his six dead wives buried. She uses the fortune to have her siblings married then remarries herself, finally moving on from her horrible experience with Bluebeard.
From the Wikipedia page Bluebeard.