Submissive Women vs. Assertive Women – Which is Better? …
Once upon a time, in the fair land of France, there lived a very powerful lord, the owner of estates, farms and a great splendid castle, and his name was Pinkbeard. This wasn’t his real name, it was a nickname, due to the fact he used to have a long shaggy pink beard. He was very handsome and charming, but, if the truth be told, there was something about him that made you feel respect, and a little uneasy since his beard turned yellow…
Pinkbeard often went away to work, and when he did, he left his wife in charge of the castle.
He had a young, pretty and noble wife and three sons.
As bad luck would have it, a powerful witch appeared when he was away and put a spell on his three sons turning them into monkeys, and so the noble lord was forever sad.
“Sire,” someone would ask now and again, “what did your wife and kids die of?”
“Hah, my friend,” Pinkbeard would reply, “they died of a yellow fever. Ah, I’m very unlucky, and they are unlucky too! They’re all buried in the castle chapel,” he added. Nobody found anything strange about that. Nor did the sweet and beautiful young girl that Pinkbeard took as a wife think it strange either.
Anna went to the castle accompanied by her sisters, who said:
“Oh, aren’t you lucky marrying a lord like Pinkbeard?”
“He really is very nice, and when you’re close, I can see glints of pink as folk say his beard once was!” said the bride, and the two sisters giggled delightedly. Poor souls! They had no idea what lay in store for them!
A month or so later, Pinkbeard had the carriage brought round and said to his wife, “Anna Darling, I must leave on a business trip for a few weeks. But keep cheerful during that time, invite whoever you like and look after the castle. Here,” he added, handing his bride a bunch of keys, “you’ll need these, the keys of the safe, the armoury and the library keys, and this one, which opens all the room doors.
Now, this little key here,” and he pointed to a key that was much smaller than the others, “opens the little room at the end of the great ground floor corridor. Take your sisters wherever you want, open any door you like, but not this one! Is that quite clear?” repeated Pinkbeard. “Not this one! Nobody at all is allowed to enter that little room. And if you ever did go into it, we would go into such trouble that it’s better that you don’t!”
“Don’t worry, husband,” said Anna as she took the keys, “I’ll do as you say.” After giving her a hug, Pinkbeard got into his carriage, whipped up the horses and off he went.
The days and years went by. Anna invited her sisters to the castle and showed them round all the rooms except the one at the end of the corridor. This is how it was that Pinkbeard and Anna lived happily ever after.
Wait! Wait! Wait!
Is this how you want the story to end? Of course not!
“Why shouldn’t I see inside the little room? Why? Why is it forbidden?” asked her sisters again and again. Well, she thought about it so much that she ended up bursting with curiosity, until one day she opened the door and walked into the little room… Of all ghastly horrors! Inside, three little monkeys were playing cards!
The three monkeys turned to her and said, “Please, let us out, we want to play in the garden.”
Anna had a kind heart and so she freed them. Then, they all started screaming, going wild and jumping all over and out of the room.
“Wait! Wait! Wait!” she called at them running after them out of the room and down the corridors to the garden. “Come back! Pinkbeard will find out now that I have freed you and I will be in big trouble,” said Anna.
“No we won’t return unless you do what we ask you to,” said the three monkeys.
“Anything you say,” replied Anna.
“We want you to go with us to the lake by the chapel, once we eat pink bananas growing there we will be freed of the spell the witch put on us.”
So that is what had happened to Bluebeard’s kids! Thought little Anna.
She followed them to the lake and all they saw were yellow bananas.
“What should I do?” asked Anna.
“Look inside the lake,” said the three little monkeys.
The girl summoned up her courage and bent down her knees, looking at the lake surface, seeing nothing but her own reflection. Then she saw the witch, everything happened too fast, the witch grabbed Anna’s hand and pulled her inside the lake.
They struggled there, as the three monkeys were running around the lake, screaming and shouting, unable to help Anna.
“Brothers, I can see Pinkbeard coming!” called out one of the monkeys from top of the banana tree that very moment.
The witch made a horrible face, “You all will die!”
Anna struggled hard, “Please, please don’t kill me. I never did anything!”
“Yes, you never say a word for eternity!” snarled the witch, opening her mouth wide, exposing her sharp teeth.
The poor girl screamed, “Have pity on me!”
But the witch fiercely replied, “No! You must die!”
“Oh, no! No!”
“Give me the keys,” and Anna hurriedly tried to fight back.
“You went into the little room, didn’t you? Well, you’ll go back again, this time for good, along with the other three monkeys. You must die!”
“Wait! Wait! Wait! I beg you!”
“You must die!” she repeated. Just then, when she was about to bite Anna’s delicate neck, when Pinkbeard burst into the garden.
Drawing his sword, he leapt inside the water, the witch tried to flee, but she was caught and killed. Her blood filled the water, colored red, and then it happened that when they looked up the trees the yellow bananas changed color to pink, then when Anna looked at her husband, she could see that his beard was pink.
The monkeys ate each a banana and they turned into young handsome boys.
Pinkbeard and Anna were happy to see the young boys and they all hugged each other.
“What happened to me? How could I forget my sons?” asked Pinkbeard.
“The witch put a spell on you, but now we are together, safe and brave,” said Anna.
Pinkbeard and his family were now back together. The castle was completely renovated and they lived happily ever after.
“Curiosity, has its charm,
Though sometimes causes a bit of harm.
A thousand new discoveries arise each day.
With due respect, ladies, the thrill is right,
For as soon as you act, the problem goes away,
And the gain one earns is never slight.”
By the author
Playing with the tale of Bluebeard by Perrault I came up with a different one ‘Pinkbeard’ with not so much blood and with morals more fit for modern times.
It is obvious that the message of the original story Bluebeard was to shut any sense of curiosity by young girls. I believe that in old times young girls did better following their husbands’ orders however, in modern times, developing a sense of curiosity in young girls does better to them.
It’s simply overwhelming to imagine that Perrault could condemn a woman for opening a room in what is now her own house rather than the serial killer husband. Bruno Bettelheim sees the act of opening the forbidden door as evidence of the wife committing adultery in the absence of her husband. The fact that the chamber is at the end of a long hallway clearly indicates sexual connotations, he claims. Although I certainly agree stories can have hidden meanings and that “Bluebeard” has been interpreted in a variety of ways, its simplest meaning is a cautionary one, to women. What it really says is and that I wished to emphasize with my version is:
Protect yourself and your loved ones.
Considering the things women have to deal with, it’s scarcely surprising that they have learned this particular lesson as even in modern times it is still a challenge.
As we join together, forming networks of human concern about the future, we will find the strength and wisdom needed to create a better future for all.
Raising humanity on a new path
It all starts with YOU!
With playful regards,