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Bluebeard

A bogey, a merciless tyrant, in Charles Perrault's Contes du Temps. The tale of Bluebeard (Chevalier Raoul) is known to every child, but many have speculated on the original of this despot. Some say it was a satire on Henry VIII., of wife-killing notoriety. Dr. C. Taylor thinks it is a type of the castle lords in the days of knight-errantry. Holinshed calls Giles de Retz, Marquis de Laval, the original Bluebeard. This Giles or Gilles who lived at Machecoul, in Brittany, was accused of murdering six of his seven wives, and was ultimately strangled and burnt in 1440.

“The Bluebeard chamber of his mind, into which no eye but his own must look.” —Carlyle.

Campbell has a Bluebeard story in his Tales of the Western Highlands, called The Widow and her Daughters. A similar one is No. 39 of Visentini's collection of Italian stories. So is No. 3 of Bernoni's collection.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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