The Memoir Project: Childhood stories

“Once upon a time’s” and “Happily Ever After” have such a powerful imprint on a child’s development, through the lessons and themes that characters and scenarios raise. From Brothers Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson to even 1001 Arabian Nights, I was impressed more than any story from Revelations or the Gospels.

Despite my unhealthy obsession with Disney, my favourite fairy tales would hardly be accepted by Sir Walt, or even classified lower than PG13. I was kind of shocked when I thought long and hard about the prompt, that I had quite the morbid upbringing, or rather interest.

One story that stuck with me is the story of the infamous Bluebeard. Bluebeard is a wealthy aristocrat, feared by his society and discriminated against by his terrifying blue-black beard. He has been married many times but no one knows what became of them. He finally manages to convince a young woman into visiting him and then marrying him- she goes off to live with him in his castle. However, while the newlyweds are enjoying life, Bluebeard announces that he must leave for business and he gives the keys to his castle to his new wife. The keys open doors to rooms which contain his treasures which she may enjoy while he is away, however there is one door to a small room that she must not open under any circumstances.  She promises her husband that she will obey his wishes and he leaves. Immediately as any woman would, she is overcome with curiosity to see what the forbidden room contains- despite warnings from her sister. However the wife uncovers a terrible secret, a floor drenched in blood and the bodies of her husband’s former wives hanging from hooks on the walls. Her husband finds her in the room and threatens to kill her so that she may join the row of previously-curious-ex-wives. However she is saved by her brothers somehow and the moral of the story is that the poor bride was never curious again.

Now, I hope you don’t think so low of me that I listen to this misogynistic crap. I was one of the most curious people I know. I see myself committing that same act of going into the forbidden room, except for the fact that I’d most likely not marry dear Blackbeard. I mean a history of disappearing wives, come on? My nosiness will most likely be my demise. There’s a story my father often tells of the day he almost killed (in a fond sense) my grandmother. There was a shooting in the neighbourhood and my grandmother decided it would be a splendid idea for me to tag along so that we could see what was happening. To see dead bodies? To get shot? My dad was horrified! It made sense to me though, to head towards the gunfire. The youngest of FOMO.

It was an early sign that I was wary and curious as a child and that that characteristic would only be exacerbated as I grew up. It’s quite amusing to reflect on that and to realise my obsession with morbid tales.

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