There was, some time ago, a gentleman who was very rich. He had fine town and country houses, his dishes and plates were all of gold or silver, his rooms were hung with damask, his chairs and sofas were covered with the richest silks, and his carriages were all gilt with gold in a grand style.
But it happened that this gentleman had a blue beard, which made him so very frightful and ugly, that none of the ladies, in the parts where he lived, would venture to go into his company.
Now there was a certain lady of rank, who lived very near him, and had two daughters, both of them of very great beauty. Blue Beard asked her to bestow one of them upon him for a wife, and left it to herself to choose which of the two it should be.
But both the young ladies again and again said they would never marry Blue Beard; yet, to be as civil as they could, each of them said, the only reason why she would not have him was, because she was loath to hinder her sister from the match, which would be such a good one for her.
Still the truth of the matter was, they could neither of them bear the thoughts of having a husband with a blue beard; and besides, they had heard of his having been married to several wives before, and nobody could tell what had ever become of any of them.
As Blue Beard wished very much to gain their favour, he asked the lady and her daughters, and some ladies who were on a visit at their house, to go with him to one of his country seats, where they spent a whole week, during which they passed all their time in nothing but parties for hunting and fishing, music, dancing, and feasts. No one even thought of going to bed, and the nights were passed in merry-makings of all kinds.
In short, the time rolled on in so much pleasure, that the youngest of the two sisters began to think that the beard which she had been so much afraid of, was not so very blue, and that the gentleman who owned it was vastly civil and pleasing.
Soon after their return home, she told her mother that she had no longer any dislike to accept of Blue Beard for her husband; and in a very short time they were married.