>The Goosegirl (Brothers Grimm collection)

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I’m going to be honest, The Goosegirl is one of the few, if not only, fairy tale so far I’ve come across that I actually don’t like.  Considering how many fairy tales are out there, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I found one and as I read more, I’ll no doubt find more.  Now let’s see if I can put my own personal bias aside and come up with an objective review………

The Goosegirl is a tale about a princess who has been promised to a prince in marriage.  This princess and a maid-in-waiting set off on the journey to the castle of the prince.  The queen gives the princess a talking horse and a handkerchief with 3 drops of her own blood on it.

Twice on the journey the princess asks her maid to get her some water to drink.  Both times the maid tells the princess to get it herself and so she does.  The 2nd time the princess drops the handkerchief with the queens blood.  That made the princess weak and fragile.  The maid forced the princess to change her clothes and act like the maid and the maid would present herself as the princess.

When they got to the castle everyone was fooled, but the king (the prince’s father) thought there was special about the maid (who we know is the real princess).  He finds a job for the girl as a goosegirl.

Later the king finds out the truth and restores her right (for lack of a better word).  The fake princess comes up with her own punishment when she was tricked into deciding what someone who betrayed their master should do.  She is put in a barrel, naked, with sharp pins all around and dragged around the street by two horses until she is dead.

It’s hard to say why I didn’t like this story to be honest.  In fairy tales we are used to magic and we don’t even question how a talking mirror can always know the truth or how a pumpkin turns into a chariot, but for some reason I don’t believe a handkerchief with 3 drops of blood is the source of a princesses “power” and somehow she becomes fragile and weak when she loses it.  I think the fact that I had to re-read the whole story (2nd time in 2 days) just to remind myself what this story is about is a fairly good indication of how little of an impression it had on me.

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2 Responses to >The Goosegirl (Brothers Grimm collection)

  1. >I don't remember reading this one when I was a child, but the Grimm fairy tales certainly are… grim. The "dragging death by torture" is something that wouldn't make it into a modern-day children's book, hunh?

  2. >Which is unfortunate. The violence in these stories are never stressed (no mention of blood, suffering, etc). Now I've never been accused of being a Christian, but I think it's important that children see "bad people" are punished. What's nice is that since these stories are fairy tales, everything is overly exaggerated – there is no mistaking who is bad.

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