Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors.
The number seven appears in fairy tales old and new. The most recognizable occurrence of this is the seven dwarfs in Snow White, a German tale that first appeared in 1812. Pictured are Snow and her septet of Doc, Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful, and Grumpy.
Another classic fairy tale featuring the number seven, this story involves a key and a young bride whose curiosity overwhelms her. She opens her husband’s forbidden room to find seven murdered wives hanging on the wall. Sixth and fifteenth century figures, on whom Bluebeard was allegedly based, included Conomor the Accursed and the serial killer Gilles de Rais.
Both Snow White and Bluebeard can be seen as versions of the Seven Deadly Sins: pride, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth, lust, and greed. While the dwarfs do not fall into each category, their characteristics could symbolize them: Grumpy, wrath; Sleepy, sloth; etc. Bluebeard’s wives are victims of his rage; however, they could also represent pride.
Numerically speaking, seven is lucky only in some instances.
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Fairy Tale Review intern Kelsey Blackman and poetry editor Jon Riccio.