Once there was a very rich man. He lived in a beautiful house, and had a beautiful garden. The rich man had a blue beard: so he was called "Blue Beard."
Near the rich man’s house there lived a poor woman. She had three sons, and two beautiful girls. The name of one of the girls was Ann; the name of the other was Fatima. Blue Beard wanted to marry one of the girls; but the girls did not want to marry Blue Beard.
Ann and Fatima did not want to marry the rich man because his beard was blue. Blue Beard had married many wives, but his wives had gone away. No one knew where his other wives had gone. The girls did not want to marry Blue Beard and become his wife, because no one knew where his other wives had gone. So their mother said to Blue Beard, "My girls do not want to marry you."
Then Blue Beard said, " Come and live in my house for some days." So they went and lived in Blue Beard’s house. It was a very beautiful house, and Blue Beard was good to them in many ways.
Fatima said, "His beard is blue, but he is not a bad man. He is very good in some ways. So I will marry him."
So Fatima married Blue Beard and went to live in the beautiful house.
Some days went by. Then Blue Beard said, "I shall go on a journey.’ Then he gave Fatima the keys of all the rooms in the house. He said, "This is the key of that little room; do not open the door of it. …Say that you will not open the door of the little room!"
Fatima said, "I will not open the door of that little room."
Then Blue Beard went away.
When Blue Beard was away, all Fatima’s friends came to see her. She showed them the rooms, and what a beautiful house it was; but she did not open the door of the little room.
The friends went away. Then Fatima said, "Shall I open the door of that little room now? Why did he say, "Do not open it’? I want to see what is in the little room."
Fatima took the key; she went to the door of the little room, and opened it. In the room she saw all Blue Beard’s other wives. They were dead!
The key fell from her hand. When she took it up there was a red mark on it.
She shut the door. Then she took the key to her room. She said, "Blue Beard will see the mark on the key; he will know that I have opened the door of the little room, and he will kill me, as he killed all the other wives." She rubbed the key with a cloth, but the mark did not go away. She washed the key in hot water, but the mark was not washed away. She rubbed the key on a stone, but she could not rub the mark away.
Blue Beard came back. He called Fatima, and said, "Give me my keys." Fatima gave him the other keys; but she did not give him the key of the little room. He said, "Where is the key of the little room?" She said, "I will bring it." She went and brought it; and he saw the red mark. He said, "You have opened the door of the tittle room. Now you shall die."
She fell at his feet:" Give me some hours to live," she said.
He said, "I will give you one hour."
Fatima had three brothers. Her brothers had said, "We shall come and see you today;" but they had not come. She said, "If my brothers come in this hour they will save me."
Her sister Ann was in the house. She called to her, "Sister Ann, Sister Ann, go to the window and see if my brothers are coming."
Sister Ann went to the window; she said, "I see no one coming."
Fatima waited a little; then she cried, " Sister Ann, Sister Ann, do you see anyone coming?"
Sister Ann said, "I do not see anyone; no one is coming."
Blue Beard called, "Fatima!"
Fatima said, "Sister Ann, Sister Ann, is anyone coming?"
"I see a little dust," said Sister Ann, "very far away."
Blue Beard called, "Fatima, come down."
"Sister Ann, Sister Ann," Said Fatima, "is there anyone in the dust?"
"I see men in the dust," said Sister Ann.
Blue Beard called, "An hour has gone by. Come down, Fatima, and I shall kill you."
" Sister Ann, Sister Ann, are three men in the dust?"
Blue Beard called, "An hour has gone by. If you do not come down, I shall come up."
"I see three men," said Sister Ann.
"They are my brothers!" said Fatima.
Fatima said, " Sister Ann, Sister Ann, call to them to come and save me."
Blue Beard called. "I am coming up," he said.
"Sister Ann, call to them, Sister Ann!"
Blue Beard came to the door.
The door opened: Blue Beard caught Fatima’s arm.
The three brothers came in, and killed Blue Beard.
So Fatima was saved.