Hello my Fairy Tale Friday Followers!
I deeply appreciate each and every one of you who like and comment on my Fairy Tale Friday’s as I’m aware that these posts aren’t the most popular! As they take me some time to do I’m glad that there’s evidence people are reading them 😉
Today we join…
Goldilocks and the Three Bears wasn’t known as ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ when first published by writer Robert Southey in 1837 (he’s also famous for the poem, ‘What Little Boys Are Made Of’ BTW).
The original title was simply, ‘The Story of the Three Bears’ and though the plot follows what we know today there were two notable differences:-
- Goldilocks wasn’t a young girl with golden hair and a name that matched but a horrible old woman
- The three bears weren’t Daddy Bear, Mummy Bear and Baby Bear but three male bears of different sizes
The first change that occurred was to the antagonist herself and so a horrible old woman became Goldilocks. The second change was that three bears of differing sizes became a family. As with most changes to fairy tales, they stuck.
I guess you could say that version one wasn’t quite right, version two wasn’t quite right but version three was just perfect.
I’ll see myself out.
a family of bears (Daddy, Mummy and Baby) had made their porridge for breakfast but as it was too hot they went for a walk in the woods to let it cool. Because they were trusting and no one came into the woods (and they were bears) they left their door wide open.
As it happens someone else was out for a walk, a young girl named Goldilocks. During this walk she came upon the open door of a house and decided to go inside. On the table sat three bowls of porridge.
“Yum,” I’m guessing she thought. “I’m starving.” So she decided to try the porridge from the big bowl except it was too hot. Then she tried the porridge from the middle bowl but it was too cold. When she tried the porridge from the small bowl it was just right so she ate the entire thing.
Eating makes anyone want to sit and digest so that’s what she tried to do on the large chair but it was too hard for her to feel comfortable. The middle chair didn’t fare much better as it was too soft and she sunk straight through. The smallest chair was just perfect but unfortunately it was designed for someone much smaller than Goldilocks and when she put her full ‘just eaten a ton of porridge’ weight into it, it collapsed.
Instead of panicking like any normal person would do, the subtle art of destruction made her sleepy so Goldilocks made her way upstairs to have a nap.
Much like the chairs; the largest bed was too hard, the middle bed too soft but the small bed was just right so she lay down and fell asleep.
Meanwhile, the family of bears had finished their lovely walk and had worked up an appetite. But what’s this? Their door is wide open! Whaaaaa…..
They noticed that someone had sampled from Daddy Bear and Mummy Bear’s porridge but Baby Bears was all gone. They also noticed that someone had sat in all their chairs and broke Baby Bear’s.
Following the sounds of guilt free snoring (probably) they went upstairs to see the evidence of someone having slept (or tried to) in Daddy and Mummy Bear’s beds. But that’s when our observant Baby Bear noticed that someone was actually in his bed.
The Bears made an almighty noise which woke Goldilocks with a start. Seeing three highly irritated bears in front of her she realised it was best she make a run for it. So she did. And apparently got away from any breaking and entering charges.
I know last time I said I had a non complicated fairy tale but ‘Goldilocks’ is also pretty straight forward.
I’ve mentioned the changes that have occurred from Robert Southey’s version to the version we know but Robert Southey himself possibly borrowed from another tale called ‘Scrapefoot.’ In that tale there is no woman but a female fox who breaks into the bears home and it’s suggested that Robert may have misinterpreted what they were going for by the term ‘vixen.’
Robert decided that the villain of the piece was going to be a woman whose goal was destruction but over time this mellowed from a story about a vindictive woman to a stupid (and quite selfish) young girl who’s defining feature is her beautiful hair.
Some versions may have it that Goldilocks gets away while others that play out a tad darker has it so that those hungry bears are…. well, hungry. You can guess what becomes breakfast when porridge is off the table.
Goldilocks (or the old woman in the original) isn’t really portrayed as anything other than the ‘bad guy’ either through malicious intent (the old woman) or ignorance (Goldilocks) while the bears are seen as the ones who suffer.
The moral of the story is very much – treat others’ and their things the way you want to be treated otherwise you might be in for a nasty surprise.
But mind you, she does get away with it so maybe the true moral is crime does pay?!
It’s not a thought of mine but something interesting I learnt in my research into this story. There is something called the Goldilocks Principle. How cool is it that fairy tales have permeated our lives so much that we now have principles named from them?
I think it’s very cool but then I’ve always been a fairy tale nerd.
I’m confused as to how the bears porridge’s cool at different rates. Is it the size of the bowls?? Was Mummy bears bowl nearer the open door? Would Mummy Bear be disappointed when she returned to find hers was just too cold?
These are not important questions but I just gotta ask them.
Who the heck lets their small child wander in the woods where anthropomorphic bears live? Do people even know the bears are there?
Is this story a lesson in teaching us that we just have to try and try again until we get things right for us? That may be a positive learning from this!
Is Goldilocks someone who generally doesn’t care about others and what she’s doing or does she genuinely not see how it’s wrong?
In different versions of this tale she meets some varied fates (from getting away, to being eaten, to being impaled) but are some of those outcomes too dark and harsh for what could be a silly girl doing a silly thing?
Some people quite like the horrific outcomes. Is this proportional justice?! Are we just happy to see horrible things happen to people??
I’ve had more questions than thoughts on this one I think.
I have genuinely struggled to find any retelling’s from books, movies or TV shows. Why is this? Could it be that it’s hard to think of a way to do a decent retelling of Goldilocks in a way that doesn’t make a family of talking bears weird?
Yet somehow we do retelling’s of Red Riding Hood with joyful abundance and get away with it by humanising the wolf and making it all metaphorical. It seems a bit more difficult to humanise the bear family somehow but I’m not too sure why.
Maybe it’s difficult to find the metaphors? Maybe we are all sex obsessed and find the wolf a bit more dark and deadly and enjoy the metaphors that Red Riding Hood presents us. It’s a bit more dubious to do that with Goldilocks.
Or maybe we can’t quite get over the fact that someone who has is pretty, is young and has hair of gold could be the villain?
This was a tricky one to do but honestly the only way I could think of doing it would be to humanise the bears and have The Bear Family be a family of three who are either a) living their life happily and peacefully until a hellion Goldie arrives ala The Purge hell bent on ruining their lives or b) Goldie ends up in the wrong house where The Bear Family are all about kidnap and hostage taking.
Boy, I do go dark don’t I?
Well, they are fairy tales.
If all goes according to plan, the next Fairy Tale Friday is on Beauty and the Beast.
As always, let me know your thoughts on the fairy tale and I welcome discussion and suggestions for future Fridays!
This made me giggle…