Friday, February 28, 2014

The Goose Girl -Guest Heart Thursday


I have loved story of the Goose Girl since I was a little girl.  A couple of weeks ago, I read the fairytale again--and a drawing of the brave Princess and her geese flew from my pencil into my sketchbook--yes, if you look closely, there are hearts to be found. 


Above is my reference photo.  This beautiful lady, my friend Theresa, is one of my best buddies.  

Here is my version of the story:

The Goose Girl

There once was a great kingdom whose kind and generous king died, leaving behind his Queen and their daughter, who was good and beautiful.  Of course, this girl had a Fairy Godmother who loved her.  When the Princess became a woman, as was the custom, she was betrothed to a Prince in a faraway kingdom. 

One of the most important traditions of the Prince’s kingdom, was the art of storytelling. All the people, great or small, had a story to tell, and if they didn’t, they made one up.  Each great feast day was celebrated by the telling of tales.  And happy were those who brought a new yarn to be heard.

Though the Prince and Princess had never met in person, they wrote many letters back and forth.  Having learned of  his kingdom's tradition of storytelling, the Princess worked very hard to learn the stories of her people--and even made up a few of her own to share.  

The tales she wrote in her letters intrigued the heart of the Prince with their brightness, wit and originality.  Over time, he fell deeply in love with the generous, loving nature of the Princess who had been promised to him. 

Then came the day the Princess was to leave for the kingdom of her Beloved.  The Queen provided all that was needed for her daughter to make the journey, including a maidservant.  Her Fairy Godmother gave the princess a talking horse who's name was Falada.

Before the journey, sensing danger, the fairy gave a lock of her own hair to the Princess and told her to take great care of it, as it would give her protection.  As the handmaiden watched from behind a curtain, the girl placed the lock of hair into a tiny velvet bag and hid it in her bosom.

In the tradition of those days, the Princess and her servant girl were surrounded by many soldiers.  But these brave men were not allowed to look upon the Princess, only drawing near to her if there was grave danger.  To this end, the Princess wore a long veil over her face so no man would see her.  Because she was not allowed to speak to any man until her wedding day, the maidservant, also veiled, told the soldiers the wishes of the Princess as they were made known to her.

Along the journey, the Princess and Noble Falada became great friends.  She told the horse imaginative, fantastic stories, confiding her thoughts, her hopes and dreams of true love.  She slept with her head pillowed against the horse's soft side and arose each morning with joy, knowing she would soon see her Beloved.

But the servant girl was jealous of her mistress, because of her good fortune to marry a Prince; her goodness, beauty and her friendship with the faery horse Falada.

As they traveled seemingly endless miles for many days, there came a subtle change between the servant girl and the Princess.  All became clear one afternoon, when the Princess became thirsty.  She asked her handmaiden to fetch some water from the creek, using the golden cup her Fairy Godmother had given to her for the journey.

The maidservant refused, taking the golden cup for herself.  "If you are thirsty, get off yourself, and stoop down to the water and drink."  She sneered, "I shall not be your servant any longer."

 The Princess was at loss at the girl's change of attitude, but she was so thirsty she knelt down and used her hands to drink from the stream's edge.  She cried, "Alas, what shall I do,"

As time passed, the evil handmaiden's attitude became more and more insolent.  One day, as the Princess knelt to drink, the tiny bag containing the protective lock of hair fell into the waters and floated away.  The maidservant observed this and knew the Princess was in her power. 

Under cover of darkness, the errant maid forced the Princess exchange clothing with her and the next morning she took Falada as her own, giving her mistress an ordinary horse to ride instead.  

The handmaiden had threatened to end Falada's life, holding a long slim dagger next the heart of the faery horse.  So to save her friend's life, the Princess held her silence and performed the duties of a servant.  As for Falada, the evil maid told the horse she would kill the Princess if even one word was said.

The maidservant then endeavored to befriend Falada, carrying tempting bits of carrots and apples in her pockets.  But the faery horse spurned the offered treats and spoke not.  This and the consistently kind response of the Princess, regardless of how she was treated, did nothing to win the servant girl's heart.  And so, her hatred and jealousy of the Princess grew.

As they approached their journey's end, the treacherous servant threatened to kill the Princess if she told anyone what had happened. But Falada the noble horse, saw all and held her tongue, patiently waiting to speak of all that had come to pass. 

When they arrived, before Falada could say one word, the Prince, believing the maidservant to be his bride, lifted her from the faery horse and bore her into his castle.

Alas, to keep Falada from speaking the truth, the evil handmaiden immediately had the noble horse killed.

The next thing the false princess did was to instruct the servants to put the real Princess to work at hard labor, but alas they could not find much for her to do.  At last, she was given the job of helping a young lad take care of the royal geese.  The name of the boy was Curdken.

When the true Princess discovered her friend had died, she tearfully begged the palace guardsman to nail Falada's head over the gate, so she could see her faithful friend each day as she drove the flock of royal geese beneath it. The guard took pity upon the lovely girl and did as she wished.

Now the Prince's father, the old King often amused himself sitting at his castle window, watching the townsfolk below as they moved through their day.  He immediately noticed the Princess who, despite her shabby clothing was as kind and dignified, as she was beautiful.   He wondered over the newcomer, comparing her genteel manners and sweet attitude to the arrogant and rude bearing of the false princess.

And it came to pass, early the next morning, as the Princess and Curdken drove the geese out through the gate, she looked upward to her old friend and said sorrowfully, "Falada, Falada, there you hang."

To the lad's astonishment, the dead horse answered, "Princess, beautiful bride, there you go.  Alas, alas! If your mother knew it.  Sadly sadly would she rue it."

Then the two drove the flock of geese from the city to a great green meadow starred with white flowers.  Mid-morning when the geese were napping in the tall grass, the Princess sat down upon a rock, to let down her hair, which gleamed as pure gold.  When Curdken saw her hair glittering in the sunlight, he stepped close, intending to pull a few strands of shining gold for himself.

But as he drew near, the Princess called, "Blow, breezes blow.  Let Curdken's hat go.  Blow breezes, blow. Let him after it go. O'er hills, dales and rocks, away it be whirled, till my golden locks are all combed and curled."

To the lad's utter frustration there came a wind, so strong it blew his hat from his head and he was obliged to chase it.  By the time he returned, she was done combing and curling her hair into a thick gleaming braid. 

At the end of the day, the Princess again spoke to Falada, and the faithful beast replied in the same manner as it had that morning.  The next day went much as the first.  The Princess greeted the horse head on the gate and it answered.  Once they arrived at the meadow and the geese were settled, she would let down her hair.  The moment Curdken tried to get close, away flew his hat.  And so it went on, day after day, week after week. 

Curdken's frustration faded in time, because the girl was kind to him and won him with her imaginative yarns and winsome ways.  So the boy, now suspecting there was much more to her story, found a way to speak to the old King.  

The King was more than happy to listen to the boy's strange tale and decided to see what was happening for himself.  The King followed along the next morning and watched all that came to pass.  When the little Goose Girl returned that evening the king took her aside, and asked her about what he'd seen.

The Princess burst into tears and said, "I cannot tell anyone, or I shall lose my life."

But the King was so sympathetic she was finally persuaded to tell the tale of her false maid servant. The king was outraged and ordered royal raiment to be put upon her.  Then he called for his son.  Placing the girl's hand into that of the Prince, the King told him the tale of the false handmaiden.

The Prince, who had been greatly put off by the bad attitude and rude behavior of the servant girl--so different from the dear lady he'd learned to love through her letters--rejoiced when he saw the Princess's sweet smile and noted her wonderful kindness and patience.  Then, holding her hand fast in his, he said, “Tell me a story.”  And with sparkling eyes, she did.

Without saying a word to the false bride, the King then ordered a great feast to be held to honor his son's upcoming marriage. The bridegroom sat at the head of the table, with the false princess on one side and the true one on the other.  Oddly enough, the evil handmaiden did not recognize the Princess in her new finery.

When everyone had eaten and were merry with drink, the King clapped his hands for the crowd's attention and rose to his feet.  Because it was a rare occasion, all the people became quiet in anticipation of a grand tale. 

Then the old king told the story of the Goose Girl.  Then he paused, looking out over the crowd.  New stories were greatly appreciated, but alas, this tale had no good ending, or justice to speak of.  The crowd shouted for more.  "This can’t be all there is.  We must know the end," they cried.

But the King resumed his seat and was silent until the crowd quieted.  Thoughtfully stroking his silver beard, the King asked the false bride what should be done with the handmaiden in the story who had committed such an offense against her mistress.

Said the false princess with an imperious wave of her hand, "Nothing better than this false woman should be stripped of every possession, and cast into the stocks for a week.  Allow the people of the kingdom to punish her by throwing rotten vegetables at her person, then banish her from the kingdom for the rest of her life. "

"You are this despicable, false maidservant," shouted the King leaping to his feet, pointing to the guilty servant girl.  "And as you have judged yourself, so shall it be done to you."   And so it was.  

The Princess's Fairy Godmother, hearing of faithful Falada's sad demise, visited the happy couple and restored the noble faery horse to life.  Thus the Prince was married to his true Princess. 

As for Curdken, the boy became a dear friend to the Prince and Princess, serving them well for the rest of their lives.  And of course, they all lived happily ever after.  (grin)

The Goose Girl, Copyright © 2014 by Beth L. Niquette 

I know--the ending of my tale is a bit less, er, macabre than the actual fairytale.  I just couldn't stomach the cruel punishment found in the original tale--that the evil maid servant should be thrown into a cask stuck round with sharp nails, and dragged through the city by two white horses, until dead.  Eeeeek!   I think rotten fruit and banishment is a MUCH better solution.  LOL

Have a lovely day and Happy Guest Heart Thursday!

For more heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.

3 comments:

aimee said...

Hi Beth!! I love your drawings -- they always have such a mystical fairy-tale like aura to them! xo

Leovi said...

Thank you very much, I remain enchanted by the beauty of the Princess!

Clytie said...

The drawing is perfect for the story - I do like YOUR ending better!