This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Saturday Rave: Bluebeard

Heroines of fairy stories are noted for their beauty and sweetness, but brightness tends to be optional.

Bluebeard is a very silly story, and its heroine is sillier yet. Its saving grace is that it's so over-the-top that by the time it finally comes down to earth it's in such a bizarre place that we accept everything.

' "You must die!" said Bluebeard, and taking hold of her hair with one hand he went to cut off her head.

His poor young wife, filled with terror, begged him to give her one last moment of life.'

If you want logic, or balance, or humanity, then...well, let's face it, you shouldn't be reading fairy tales. But if you fancy something torrid and full of terror, gore, and savagery, then you'll enjoy this one.

It's got unwashable blood in it, and a last-minute rescue - and a villain unsurpassed in his villainy, too.

This story was first written down by Charles Perrault. It may have been based on an early Breton king most spendidly called Conomor the Accursed. But on the whole I doubt it.

Word To Use Today: terror. This word comes from the Old French terreur, from the Latin terrēre, to frighten, which is related to the Greek word trein, to run away in terror.


  1. This is a genuinely nasty story and wasn't there a rumour that it might have been based on the story of Gilles de Rais? I love it! The Angela Carter version is super, too.

    1. Yes, you're quite right about the unspeakably foul G de R.

      And some time I must have a good rave about the sublime Angela Carter.