Lessons from Fairyland: Bluebeard

|October 29, 2018

‘Twas the weekend before Halloween and I was looking for a house-hunting fairytale perfectly suited for the occasion. When what to my wandering mind should appear but the story of Bluebeard!

Synopsis: The rich and powerful (but hideously ugly) Bluebeard seems to have a lot of trouble keeping a wife. One brilliant bride after another mysteriously vanishes without a trace. So, he goes next door to see if he can borrow a new wife from among his neighbor’s many daughters. Bluebeard is given his pick of the litter and he chooses the youngest, best-looking gal in the bunch. He gives her a master key that unlocks every door in his castle but warns her never to enter the storage space downstairs. “It’s just a mess,” he says. Then he goes off somewhere, leaving her alone. Naturally, she heads straight for the forbidden storeroom, unlocks the door, sees the corpses of all the former Mrs. Bluebeards tidily organized on wall hooks, screams in horror and drops the key into a pool of blood on the floor. Turns out the key is magical and she can’t wash the blood away. Hubby comes home, sees the bloody key, nearly kills her but – just in the nick of time – her brothers show up to intervene. She inherits the chateau, does some major purging and remodeling, then remarries happily ever after.

Lots of conflicting meanings are contained in the story, among them: How curiosity can get females into trouble. How truth-seeking is liberating for women. How being an obedient wife is a matter of life and death in some marriages. How smart it is not to be an obedient wife.

When it comes to house hunting, the tale’s implications are more pedestrian: People always want to know what’s behind a closed door.

If it’s closed, they’ll open it. If it’s locked, they’ll ask why. If it’s stuck, they’ll pull harder. If there’s a sign reading “Cat inside. PLEASE do not open,” they will crack the door and take a peek anyway.

So, when selling a property, it’s best to be sure every door is open and every space accessible. This may mean cleaning out closets and storerooms, plus painting and staging them so they look fresh, clean and uncluttered. You don’t want any off-putting surprises to deter curious homebuyers from writing an offer.

Go ahead…nothing to worry about…just open it a tiny bit…Boo!

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Cynthia Cummins

Cynthia Cummins

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