When I was much too young, I had a huge, illustrated copy of Grimm’s fairy tales, and I would read them over and over, and imprint the grotesque illustrations on the insides of my eyelids. After a full month of nightmares inspired by Bluebeard, my beloved book was confiscated and hidden in the cupboard under the stairs, where I had to sneak-read it, and force myself not to be afraid. Reading Angela Carter as a teenager, all of my nightmares were rewritten by her reimagined fairy tales, and this one is my favourite.
First published in The Bloody Chamber, Gollancz, 1979. Currently available from Vintage Classics