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February 16, 2018 at 07:06 AM UTC

Just a question or 2….

If you could make Goose Girl longer, would you??

Are there going to be any shorts?



February 10, 2018 at 08:41 PM UTC

I was recently reading the original Beauty and the Beast story by the French lady w/ the V—– whatever-I-forget name, and I was struck by the class consciousness and horrors at “interbreeding”. Beast’s Moma was so upset that Beauty was the daughter of a merchant, and argued, very prettily, with the fairy til the fairy explained that Beauty was actually a changeling – a descendant of a human ROYAL and her fairy sister! (how’s that for interbreeding?) Now why’s royal moma so stuffy about it? I think divine right of kings, and all that, requires reinforcements through clear class separation and protecting the lineage. That’s why morganic marriages were a threat to the established social order, but okay for queens as second marriages after childbearing age. And why English kings had to give permission before any noble could marry – I suppose to preserve the “genetic pool” that they could select (or in Henry’s case, “cull”) wives from. It’s … an interesting justification for class that we’ve forgotten… I’m trying to be generous with past generations. 🙂 But social order was kinda important when faced with invaders: who’s the rightful leader, cuz we gotta make some quick decisions here! But there were clearly a lot of internal abuses. Anyway within Kitty’s world, Kitty has thoroughly beaten it to bits with this generation of Loire’s royal marriages :D.

Edel E.M.

February 09, 2018 at 10:30 PM UTC

I think we can take the moral to be broader and address the class conflict between royalty and commoners/servants. Royalty are born to their station, but many rulers take for granted their need to relate to their subjects and have wisdom. Many rulers just practice power or expect loyalty. Bitterness and resentment will eventually grow, and rebellion will be inspired with especially weak, especially distant, or especially cruel rulers.

So, the servant girl was able to create and enact a plan of betrayal and rebellion with the queen and princess, because they were not good rulers. But the servant’s plan was found out and thwarted by the king, who is a wise and ideal ruler.


February 09, 2018 at 10:36 PM UTC

Now THAT sounds like a moral I could get behind!

Sadly it seems like most scholars are fixated on the coming of age vs listen to your elders theories, but I like your take away a lot more. (It’s like a reverse Machiavelli’s Prince!)

Edel E.M.

February 09, 2018 at 10:44 PM UTC

☺ I think it is definitely easier and right to focus on the chamber maid’s actions and how she relates to royalty. The focus should not be on the princess when her actions don’t really make any sense and her intentions are not clear. Add the fact that the princess still gets a happily ever after in spite of all this, and I really think bitterness and strained relationships between royals and their subjects are central to the story.


February 09, 2018 at 10:58 PM UTC

I actually read a really interesting article about the story that questioned whether the princess was actually good. The article pointed out that both the princess and her mother can obviously do magic–something that is historically only done by villains and good fairies–and that it’s possible the maid was being forced to do everything by the princess’s magic arts.

It is food for thought!


February 10, 2018 at 05:09 PM UTC

I love your version of the goose girl, and the way you always try to find the moral of the story, whick makes it a lot more interesting. The romance does seem a bit rushed, though i suppose that is understandable seeing as its a short story. I have to ask, though, are there going to be more twelve dancing princess posts?
Thank you for another wonderful story!

Goose Girl and Weird Symbolism

I’m just going to put it out there, the symbolism and the moral of the original Goose Girl story is awfully muddled. In fact, it seems like the Brothers Grimm–who are usually quite clear cut in their morals–can’t decide if they are telling a coming of age story, or a tale to remind kids to listen to their elders.

Here’s my case:

So the old queen is sending her beautiful daughter off to a far away country to get married–a pretty clear transition from girlhood to adulthood, right? Well some of the weirder parts of the story drive that point home, specifically the handkerchief with the three drops of blood on it.

In my research I found several reasons for why the handkerchief was important–some explanations said it was divine proof of the princess’s royal identity, others say it places the princess under the old queen’s care and protection. But what everyone agrees on, is that the handkerchief ties the princess to the queen and by losing it, she severs the bond between them which is how the maid manages her takeover.

So let’s recap: The princess is traveling to a foreign country BY HERSELF to get married, but because she steps entirely out of her childhood she ends up dooming herself and the maid takes over. (That’s not exactly an encouraging coming of age tale.)

The princess’s continued action doesn’t make it any better either. When they arrive at the kingdom of her husband-to-be, she stands around in the courtyard and does NOTHING until the old King (not her intended) basically asks “Why is there a random girl doing nothing in my courtyard?”

Her inattention continues, even to the point where when Falada–who is called her faithful steed–is KILLED. Indeed, the princess shows no signs of growing up at all until Little Conrad tries to pluck her hair and she sicks the wind on him. After that, she grows a little more proactive, but she only speaks to the King because Conrad complained about her so if this really was a coming of age story it’s a pretty poor one. (“Sit on your bum, kids, and one day you too will be crowned princess because one of your co-workers complained to HR!”)

The Goose Girl by Walter Crane.

I did read a few explanations that argued that princess is displaying meekness and sweet temperament–which prove her divine status as a royal. These same explanations claimed that her return to her royal status just shows that nobility is more than just a title but is something you’re born with that will eventually reveal itself. Honestly I think that’s a load of horse droppings–birth does NOT make you better or lesser than someone. Plus this doesn’t really help the coming of age argument anyway, all it does is make a case for the many childish kings/queens from history.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the actions of the old King that point to the story of being more of the “listen to your elders” instructive parable.

The King notices the princess when she arrives, actually listens to Little Conrad and then summons the princess, and he’s also the one who figures out how the princess can get around her vow by telling the stove, and he’s the one who handles the chambermaid when her betrayal is revealed.

But the whole bit at the start–where the old queen bids farewell to her daughter in what is clearly a bid for the childhood-to-adulthood-narrative–kinda messes up the King’s often overlooked wisdom and intelligence.

Personally, I’m more inclined to go for the ‘listen to your elders’ moral, but I admittedly have very little patience for heroines who aren’t proactive or even just productive.

But what do you think, Champions? Does the original story make a little more sense, now? What kind of story do YOU think it is?

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