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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

With a great cimeter in his hand


closet upon the ground floor

is not here?" "Is it not?" said the wife, "then I must have left it on my dressing-table." "Be sure you give it me by and by," replied Blue Beard. After going a good many times backwards and forwards, as if she was looking for the key, she was at last forced to give it to Blue Beard. He looked hard at it, and then said: "How came this blood upon the key?" "I am sure I do not know," replied the poor lady, at the same time turning as white as a sheet. "You do not know?" said Blue Beard sternly, "but I know well enough. You have been in the closet on the ground floor! Very well, madam: since you are so mighty fond of this closet, you shall be sure to take your place among the ladies you saw there." His wife, who was almost dead with fear, now fell upon her knees, asked his pardon a thousand times for her fault, and begged him to forgive her, looking all the time so very mournful and lovely, that she would have melted any heart that was not harder than a rock. But Blue Beard only said, "No, no, madam; you shall die this very minute!" "Alas!" said the poor trembling creature, "if I must die, give me, as least, a little time to say my prayers." "I give you," replied the cruel Blue Beard, "half a quarter of an hour: not a moment longer." When Blue Beard had left her to herself, she called her sister; and after telling her, as well as she could for sobbing, that she had but half a quarter of an hour to live; "Prithee," said she, "sister Anne," (this was her sister's name), "run up to
the top of the tower, and see if my brothers are not in sight, for they said they would visit me to-day, and if you see them, make a sign for them to gallop on as fast as ever they can." Her sister straight did as she was desired; and the poor trembling lady every minute cried out to her: "Anne! sister Anne! do you see any one coming?" Her sister said, "I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which looks green."

In the meanwhile, Blue Beard, with a great cimeter in his hand, bawled as loud as he could to his wife, "Come down at once, or I will fetch you." "One moment longer, I beseech you," replied she, and again called softly to her sister, "Sister Anne, do you see any one coming?" To which she answered, "I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which looks green." Blue Beard now again bawled out, "Come down, I say, this very moment, or I shall come to fetch you." "I am coming; indeed I will come in one minute," sobbed his wretched wife. Then she once more cried out, "Anne! sister Anne! do you see any one coming?" "I see," said her sister, "a cloud of dust a little to the left." "Do you think it is my brothers?" said the wife. "Alas! no, dear sister," replied she, "it is only a flock of sheep." "Will you come down, madam?" said Blue Beard, in the greatest rage. "Only one single moment more," said she. And then she called out for the last time, "Sister Anne! sister Anne! do you see no one coming?" "I see," replied her sister, "two men on horseback coming; but they are still a great way off." "Thank God," cried she, "they are my brothers; beckon them to make haste." Blue Beard now cried out so loud for her to come down, that his voice shook the whole house. The poor lady, with her hair loose, and all in tears, now came down, and fell on her knees, begging him to spare her life; but he stopped her, saying, "All this is of no use, for you shall die," and then, seizing her by the hair, raised his cimeter to strike off her head. The poor woman now begged a single moment to say one prayer. "No, no," said Blue Beard, "I will give you no more time. You have had too much already." And again he raised his arm. Just at this instant a loud knocking was heard at the gates, which made Blue Beard wait for a moment to see who it was. The gates now flew open, and two officers, dressed in their uniform, came in, and, with their swords in their hands, ran straight to Blue Beard, who, seeing they were his wife's brothers, tried to escape from their presence; but they pursued and seized him before he had gone twenty steps, and plunging their swords into his body he fell down dead at their feet.


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