Sunday, 22 April 2012

Fairy Tale Review: G is for 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'

Hmmm, one never knows what can crop up when reviewing a fairy tale. Imagine my surprise when I opened my version of Andrew Lang's Green Fairy Book only to discover a tale called The Story of the Three Bears which made no mention of a little girl named Goldilocks. Not to be deterred, I next visited Maria Tartar's famous collection; she noted that The Story of the Three Bears by Robert Southey (1837) in fact had no little girl in it at all; an unnamed old woman is the intruder in his version. The little girl first makes an appearance only later in the 1850 version by Jospeh Cundall, and Goldilocks was subsequently named as such by Flora Annie Steel in her 1918 collection of English fairy tales.

Luckily for me, the version with Goldilocks in it was included in Maria Tartar's book *huge sigh of relief*, so I'm gonna go ahead and review that one as planned!:)

Ah, this has to be the cutest fairy tale of them all:) The story takes place in a forest, in which is placed a cosy little home belonging to three bears: the Little, Small, Wee Bear; the Middle-sized Bear; and the Great, Huge Bear. These were neat and tidy creatures, polite and well-mannered and generally good-hearted. And they never locked their doors. *ahem: lesson to be learned here, people*:)

Well, what happens to bears who do not lock their doors? They get visited by intruders when they're away from home, of course. And what a rude intruder visits the Three Bears... In strolls Goldilocks, easy as you please, after making sure no one's at home (hmmm, obviously she's practised at this kind of thing). She proceeds to sample the bears' breakfasts and try out their chairs and beds. Being a bit bigger than the Wee Bear - and apparently liking his porridge the best - she eats it all up, proceeds to break his chair after sitting on it, and then takes refuge in his bed (because it fits her the best).

When the Bears return home, they're amazed to see their food and furniture so misused. Goldilocks is soon discovered sleeping in Wee Bear's bed, and once awoken by the little fellow's "shrill" voice, she beats a hasty retreat from the house, never to be seen by the Bears again.

I have to tell you, this was the strangest story to revisit out of everything so far. I mean, it's a short tale, and a pretty straightforward one, but I was really surprised to discover just how much of a - of a delinquent - Goldilocks was!:) The poor Wee Bear, with all his stuff wrecked in such a cavalier manner...:)

A pleasant thought however was that the story really turns stereotypes of people vs animals/monsters on its head. Here, it is the human who is pretty uncivilised, whilst the Bears are polite and courteous and everything one would think bears are not. It was nice to see a story told so cleverly without being preachy; its effortless execution left me thinking about how well we often misjudge the nature of little girls and large bears alike, metaphorically speaking:)

Goldilocks and the Three Bears also left me wondering if I should review next a similar tale - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - as it features also an intruder waltzing into the beds of strangers with very little consideration; I suppose we'll never know if Goldilocks had as much cause for her behaviour as Snow White did. Or perhaps *gasp* they were one and the same? Hmmmm:)

Well, that's it for now. It's been a long three weeks this April; don't know how I would have made it this far without the generous support of those who've stopped by the blog and commented on my entries; couldn't keep going without the wonderful interaction with you guys, so thank you for all your encouragement! And I hope to have a few more posts up soon before the challenge is over. Ciaos to all:)

Share/Bookmark Subscribe

No comments: