|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?
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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.