|link to original here|
Alas my fair readers, I’ve purposely mislead you, for a goose is not a gumball machine. Even heart-of-the-city-girl that I am, I know the difference.
This folktale is most often linked with the idea of greed, but I think there’s something else embedded in the story we’ve lost. If it was merely about the egg, why wouldn’t we say it was a chicken or a duck who laid the golden egg? There are far too many references to geese in our older stories. Mother Goose. The Golden Goose. Aphrodite rode on the back of a goose.
There’s something, something about the goose. I just can’t put my finger on it. Here are a few bits that have sifted to the top of my research:
- “The history of the goose is steeped in both mythology and ancient symbolism (original link here).”
- “Apparently [the goose which laid the sun egg] was at one time sacred… The sun god Ra, of Egypt, was supposed to have been hatched from the egg which rose from the primordial deep (original link here).”
- “In China geese are still a symbol of marriage, because of their lifelong pair-bond (original link here).”
And to bring it to a more personal level, this is an experience my friend shared with me about her geese:
“My husband and I wanted geese and one of my former students who lived down the street had two they needed to find new homes for. The reason? The school bus stop was in front of their house and, while the children waited for the bus, the geese would chase and bite the kids. A new home was needed immediately. That's where we got lucky. So did the geese. So did the kids.
These geese were named Hondo and Jane. They were an item and spent all of their time together. On the morning of the first snow of the year, I went to my car to go to school and saw Hondo dead in the street. (Apparently they had both been sitting in the middle of the smooth, now white, pavement because it made a nice resting place, but a passing car or truck must have struck them.) Jane was nowhere in sight, but there was a trail of blood leading to the pasture behind our house.
My husband followed the blood and found Jane at the end of the trail. She had a puncture wound from the vehicle. Scott brought Jane into our unfinished basement and called the veterinarian who said most people wouldn't even bother. They'd just put her out of her misery. We decided we could clean the wound and apply the usual human medicine…Neosporin…and hope for the best.
Jane spent several weeks in the basement and never once made any attempts to bite us or hit us with her wings. She seemed to know we were trying to help her. After all of that time looking in her eyes, we could tell there was more there than dinner, and we never ate meat again.”
Now. I’m not necessarily saying you should stop eating meat (though it wouldn’t really hurt?). And I’m not saying you should start believing in God(s), fairies, and dragons (though that couldn’t really hurt either?)
What am I trying to say?
I’m not sure, exactly, except that it’s much too easy to just intone, “Don’t be greedy.” As evidenced by the results of the poll, and by peoples’ comments from Part 1, there’s a lot more involved in this scenario.
The heartache and moral for me in this folktale is not that the man has lost his magic gold dispensary, but that the goose has lost its magic life.
Because life is magical, whether we see it and acknowledge it, or not. Call it what you will, but there is a rhythm, a synchronicity here, and we’re all part of it somehow. I may not have been able to exactly identify what’s embedded in this story, today, but I can feel it there. I can tell there’s more.
And that is magic.
What about you and your experiences? What do you think the significance of the goose is in this folktale?
Total pages logged as of today: Visit my First Draft -- Deb Stats page to find out
Moment of Magic today:
I watch their shoulder muscles move as they fly and think, "Oh, how exhausting." Birds seem so frail. This is another reminder to me that things are never exactly what they seem.
I hadn't even thought about the actual goose in Part I. I focused more on a machine making the gold. I guess that might be a sign, too...ReplyDelete
Nah, nah, I was purposely trying to lead you away from thinking about the bird in Part 1. I wanted to get people's reactions about the gold-machine for this post, to see whether this folktale really is more complicated than it initially seems, or was I just reading into the story too much.Delete
Very interesting and well written. I never had thought about the fact that the goose is used so often.ReplyDelete
Thanks Kathy, that's so nice!Delete
I think of the goose as a strong hearty assertive creature. He (or she) is a fairly vibrant creature. It is the whole of the duck that is powerful and not the individual parts. I guess that could be true for art or community, teams, family, tapestries, great essays and cozy feeling homes. When we look for one thing, we just get a small part. When we look at the whole, we get a nice hearty goose full of promise.ReplyDelete
This is beautiful. I wouldn't have put all this together on my own, but I very much see where you're coming from. Nicely put, and nice imagery. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.Delete
I have a tendency to look for the deeper symbolism in these tales or to look at them from a different angle than the traditional view, too. I will have to mull the goose thing around a bit. I'm not terribly well-acquainted with geese in general, but now I'm curious what deeper meaning might be there.ReplyDelete
It's fun to think about while doing dishes, at the very least :) If your curiosity about geese leads to something more, definitely keep me updated. I would love to hear it.Delete
Geese plague our area like rats, so thanks for giving me a fresh vision of the,.ReplyDelete
This creates an image in my head of a goose sticking its head out of a mouse hole in the wall, then scurrying back in. Totally inaccurate and unrealistic, I know, and you said "rat" not "mouse," but. That's my thought, take it or leave it :)Delete
Ooh! I am so fascinated by this angle. I have so many thoughts just a-whirling around about it! May I do a post about it and link it back to your lovely blog and your goose questions? I am so intrigued by this!ReplyDelete
Ooo, yes! I'm glad my post caused such a storm in your thoughts, and for sure I'd love it if you posted what you're thinking. You've got me all excited, now, to read where you take this. Yay for ideas that continue to grow through the hands and hearts of multiple readers!Delete
Deb, just dropping back over to thank you for your heartfelt comment on my martini post. That means a lot to me that I can reach at least one reader. I'll be back again, following you.Delete
Hey Deb! I like the feel of your blog, too, and I definitely want to keep in touch! I liked your post. I never noticed the significance of geese in fairy tales before. Ducks and chickens appear, but they're always just ducks and chickens. Maybe geese were portrayed as magical more often because they're more intelligent and majestic than other domestic birds were at the time. Or maybe people like long necks, since swans make quite a showing in fairy tales as well. Interesting.ReplyDelete
Interesting, in fact, that you drew the comparison between geese and swans. In some of my research they were synonymous with each other, and the writers would end up saying something along the lines of, "swan-like creatures..."Delete
So yes, I was going to incorporate that into these posts somehow, that if you put swan and geese together, they are by far the most common birds you'll find in fairytales and folktales.
Interesting indeed. Great observation.
Just wanted to tell you that I've re-read this post about 37 times while I'm pondering geese and it gives me goosebumps every time.ReplyDelete
Goosebumps...? Again! Isn't it magical? The goose thing makes me all giddy now :)Delete
I'm flattered, and love that this post resonated so deeply with you. I love that you've taken the time to re-read it, and think about it, and put your own thoughts and experiences into this response: http://peripheralimages.blogspot.com/2012/03/whose-goose-are-you.html