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For all the #women who’ve ever felt disregarded, ignored, used, or silenced – you’re not alone.

It’s a #FolkloreThursday - #WomensDay story thread called

THE GOOSE GIRL
Or
“Blow Me (One Last Hat)”

IMAGE: Title card for "The Goose Girl", Robert Anning Bell, 1912
Once upon a time, a long-ruling Queen had a daughter (who we’ll call Gigi, which is long for GG which is short for Goose Girl) who she loved very much. Nice to see some genuine familial affection for once, generally it’s the parents causing the mayhem.
The time had come for Gigi to leave home & travel to a distant kingdom where her fiancé, the prince waited. As she was Queen’s only child, the departure was, emotional.
QUEEN: WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH
GIGI: Mom, calm down.
Q: [sobbing] I JUST LOVE YOU SO MUCH
Q: Here, take another 10 sets of silverware. And goldware. You need jewels? Have some jewels.
G: Mom, this is too much!
Q: Nothing's too good for my baby! Here, take my lady-in-waiting Barb to escort you!
BARB: UGHH babysitting’s worse than chamber pot duty.
IMAGE: ‘The Goose Girl’, published in 1902 in volume 8 of Ver Sacrum, Maximilian Liebenwein
Side note: One companion & NO guards to escort a PRINCESS and SO MUCH TREASURE across AN ENTIRE COUNTRY? Queen, I love you but I see where Gigi gets her too-gentle nature.
Both ladies got a horse to ride: Barb’s was an old nag, Gigi’s was a beautiful mare named Falada who could talk (Not that it matters because Falada is taciturn to the point of absurdity.)
Here’s where I have one tiny glimmer of sympathy for Barb because I want a talking horse too
QUEEN: I have one last gift for you, darling.
BARB: Can we hurry UP, I’m BORED
QUEEN: [pulls out a knife]
BARB: ...you’ve piqued my interest.
Queen cuts her fingers (one finger seems sufficient, but what’s the point of being a literal fairy tale queen & not milking it for every bit of drama) & drips 3 drops of blood onto a white handkerchief.
QUEEN: Take care of this! It’ll help you!
GIGI: … with WHAT?
Gigi tucked the bloodkerchief safely in her bosom and she & Barb set out. It was warm out so she soon grew thirsty.
GIGI: Oh good, a stream. Would you please get me some water, Barb? I’d do it, but this corset -
BARB: No, you spoiled brat! I’m not your servant!
G: um
GIGI: [thinking] Doing what she says is easier than fighting about it. Maybe she’s right. Maybe I AM spoiled. This is my fault.* [out loud] May I have my cup, please?
BARB: No. Use your hands. It’s what you deserve.
GIGI: … okay.

*ladies, raise ya hand if that sounds familiar
You might ask, “Why is Gigi accepting this poor treatment?” Maybe she, like many women had been socialized into a role of peacemaking, feelings of inadequacy, and shame. Maybe she was just thirsty. Who's to say. (spoiler it’s the 1st thing) Either way, Gigi knelt by the stream.
IMAGE: Illustration 1889 edition of 'The Blue Fairy Book' H.J. Ford, 1889
GIGI: Lord, what is going ON right now?
BLOOD DROPS: You’re telling us! If your mother knew you were tolerating this, her heart would break!
G: It’s not a big deal, get off my back. Bosom. Whatever.
BD: It’s the principle of the thing! This isn’t right!
G: Can’t hear, drinking.
Gigi was “humble” as the story puts it (not necessarily a bad quality) (IN MODERATION) so she mounted up & rode on. Gigi was also one to forgive & forget, emphasis on forget, and current* events slipped from her mind.
*not sorry
The day was still hot & Gigi grew thirsty again.
GIGI: Hey, a stream! Barb, would you please get me some water?
BARB: ...We *just* went over this.
G: We did?
B: I’m not your servant, get your own water, & drink with your hands like an animal.
G: Oh, right, that.
Gigi again bent to drink.
G: Lord, what am I *doing*?
BLOOD DROPS: Yeah, show some backbone!
G: But it’s hard!
BD: Your mom’s heart would break!
G: My heart’s not feeling awesome either, thanks for asking.
As she drank, the blood-charm fell unnoticed into the water & was carried away. This was good in that it ended the blood’s guilt trip but bad in that it made Gigi “weak & powerless.”
Uh, Queen? Protection charms that actively harm you when compromised are not actually effective.
Unfortunately. Barb DID notice.
BARB: Omg she lost the protection! I have power over her!
(Hold up, story. If Gigi only becomes powerless when Barb points it out, was the charm even real? Is this some Dumbo’s magic feather nonsense?)
As Gigi went to mount her horse:
BARB: Uh-uh. You ride the nag.
GIGI: But -
B: I’m the princess now!
G: No you’re *not*! Falada, a little help here?
FAL:
G: Dang it, Falada.
B: But first give me your clothes. And jewels. And life. Jk, I already took the last one.
B: Last thing. Swear to the open sky you’ll tell no living person what just happened.
G: Are you kidding? I’m telling everyone!
B: Fine, I’ll just kill you here.
G: Falada! Stomp her!
FALADA:
G: Fine, I’ll swear, but only because I don't want to ride a JERK HORSE.
Now, they took oaths pretty seriously back then. You vow something, you have to keep your word at the cost of forfeiting your soul or something. (Luckily, the only thing more powerful than an oath was a loophole, but we’ll get to that.)
GIGI: psst pssst falada psst
FALADA:
GIGI: i’ve been thinking, *i* swore not to tell anyone, but *you* didn’t
F:
G: Ehhh?
F:
G: Ehhhhhhhhhh?
F:
G: dammit, falada
MAID: I CAN HEAR YOU I AM LITERALLY RIDING ONE-HALF OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS CONVERSATION
Finally, they reached the fiance’s kingdom, where the court eagerly awaited their arrival.
Luckily for Barb, back then clothing took the place of government-issued ID, so when she & Gigi arrived, everyone thought “Oh, the one in the fancy dress is definitely the princess."
PRINCE: Darling! You’re here! [Helps BARB dismount]
BARB: Heyyyyyyy… you! I’m so excited to see you, um, honey!
GIGI: now’s your chance, falada
FALADA: fight your own battles, princess
PR: Did your horse just say something?
BARB: NO! Let’s go meet your dad!
Everyone rushed into the castle, leaving Gigi alone in the courtyard.
(Wow, rude.)
However, Gigi wasn’t *quite* alone, as the Old King was watching her from a window. And in the biggest shocker in this story, it’s not for horrible creepy reasons.
PRINCE: Father, meet -
KING: Sure, anyway who’s your friend in the yard? She’s so … what's the word… in possession of a certain inherent goodness & nobility.
BARB: I hired her on the road to help with my bags. Which are unpacked. So she can leave.
K: No, I like her.
BARB: ffs
BARB: Fine, whatever, let's find her something to do. Something gross.
KING: Hmm… we’re pretty well-staffed. I suppose she could help Conrad tend the geese.
BARB: Are they the really mean kind of geese? Do they bite?
K: Yes.
BARB: Perfect.
BARB: Hey, uh, Mark? Mike? Mack?
PRINCE: Steve.
B: Husband! I need a favor.
P: Anything, my love!
B: You know the horse I rode in on?
P: Yes!
B: Cut her head off.
P: ...Please say she’s rabid.
B: Nah, I just hate her.
P:
B: And she tried to throw me?
P: I guess that’s better?
Barb didn’t want to risk Falada speaking up & exposing her, even though the most dramatically satisfying moment to do so had passed.
PRINCE: I’ll see it’s done. Oh god i need a bath
BARB: Great! Bonus, we’ll have something to leave in the beds of our enemies!
P: Wow.
Word of Falada’s death reached Gigi. She was sad, but you know what? Finally, for the first time in her life, she had had the f*ck ENOUGH.
GIGI: Hey, Knacker? Got a job for you. It’s a little weird.
KNACKER: If I didn't like weird I wouldn’t have gone into animal corpse business.
Revolutions can begin in the smallest of ways. Saying “no.” Saying “enough.” Saying “me too.”

Sometimes they begin by hiring someone to nail the severed head of your murdered pet on a wall on a public thoroughfare.

WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS
Illustration 1889 edition of 'The Blue Fairy Book' H.J. Ford, 1889
Through loyalty, magic, or benign zombie infection, Falada(‘s head) could still speak. When Gigi & Conrad approached...
FALADA: Alas, young queen!
GIGI: Oh, look who’s chatty Why didn’t you talk earlier?
F: One, don’t blame the victim, two, then you wouldn’t LEARN anything.
F: Anyway, if your mother knew about all this, her heart would break.
G: Again with the mom stuff! Anyone care how *I* fee?
F: Maybe you should do something about it, then.
CONRAD: Are you talking to that rotting horse head?
G: She’s not alive, it doesn’t count!
C: … wat
When they reached the meadow, Gigi decided to put up her hair in braids. This is symbolic of her growing maturity as this was the hairdo of an adult woman, but also it was good sense because it gave the geese one less thing to peck at.
Gigi’s hair was incredibly shiny & golden & so lovely that Conrad has the absolute GALL to ask her for a few strands. FYI, the only time it’s appropriate to make that request is if you’re a dwarf trying to save Middle Earth and even then you’re on some shaky goddamn ground.
Illustrations from ‘The Brothers Grimm,” Heinrich Vogeler, early 1900s
However, our girl is slowly starting to realize that the blood drop charm was never necessary The ability to say “F*ck off” was inside her all along.

GIGI: No, I’m not giving you my hair, are you KIDDING.
CONRAD: Fine, I’ll just take some.
G: The hell you are, pal.
GIGI: [singing] Blow, wind, give Conrad’s hat a spin
Make him chase it all around until my hair’s not down!
WIND: Done! [blows CONRAD’S hat off]
CON: [chasing hat] No! I need that so people can tell who I am!

Image: ‘Household stories of the Bros. Grimm,” Walter Crane, 1914
Thanks to her foray into elemental magic, Gigi was able to do her hair in peace while Conrad chased his hat. By the time he got back, it was all pinned up, and he was so angry he gave her the silent treatment for the rest of the day (no great loss)
NEXT MORNING
GIGI: Head’s up, Falada!
FALADA: If your mother knew her heart would break!
GIGI: I think I’m getting the hang of it, actually. “It” being “self-reliance & strength.”
CON: Would you get a move on? The longer we stand still, the higher the chance of getting pooped on.
MEADOW:
CON: Hey, gimme some of your hair.
GIGI: Hard pass.
CON: Then I’ll just -
GIGI: Wind! [CONRAD’S hat blows off]
CON: Dang it! [runs off]
GIGI: You’ll just run around like a fool is what you’ll just.
Gigi puts her hair up, Conrad comes back & gets angry, and the day proceeds. When they got back that night, Conrad was SO indignant about Gigi’s besting him that he lodges a complaint with none other than the KING, dear god the entitlement on this one.
KING: You’re telling me you want the goose girl fired because she won’t let you pull her hair out?
CONRAD: Yeah!
KING: … leave immediately.
CON: Wait, wait, did I mention the necromancy?
KING: No! Next time lead with that!
CON: Every day, she does this call-&-response with that spooky old horse-head someone hung on the wall. She’s like, “Hi Folderol” & the horse is like, “Slay, queen, you’re breaking your mama’s heart” or something.
KING: Huh.
KING: Tomorrow I want the both of you two drive the flock out as usual.
CONRAD: Aw man, that’s the one thing I asked not to do!
KING: Then report to HR for sensitivity training. Asking her for HAIR, what is the MATTER with you.
The next morning, King hid near HorseHead Gate as Gigi & Conrad approached.
GIGI: Hey, Falada, how’s it hanging.
FALADA: Alas, young queen -
KING: Hmmm.
FAL: If your mother knew -
GIGI: - her heart would break, yeah, I know, see you tonight.
Apparently King had a background in espionage* because he was able to secretly follow GooseDuo all the way to the meadow. There he hid in a convenient thicket and watched as the daily hair-snatching drama played out.
*Alternate theory: Royal ghillie suit
GIGI: If I comb my hair, are you going to grab at it?
CON: Yup!
G: Goddammit, Conrad.
KING: Yeah!
CON: Who said that?
KING: ...plants!
GIGI: See? Even the plants think you’re a jerk.
GIGI: Not today, chump. Blow, wind -
WIND: On it! [CON’S hat blows away]
CONRAD: Who could have predicted this outcome? [chases it]
GIGI: [yelling after] NOT FUN WHEN PEOPLE TOUCH YOUR STUFF WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT, IS IT?

Illustration for "The Goose Girl", Robert Anning Bell, 1912
That evening:
KING: Gigi, a word?
GIGI: Yes, sire?
KING: Zombie horse, royal title, airbending. Explain.
GIGI: I really, REALLY wish I could, but I can’t talk to you about any of that.
KING: Why not?
GIGI: You're alive.
KING: Tell me.
GIGI: I can’t.
KING: Tell me.
GIGI: I *can’t*.
KING: Tell me.
GIGI: Listen, it’s my prerogative to tell or not tell my story, especially if doing so could get me hurt! Which it will!
KING: Isn’t it your responsibility to tell people?
GIGI: It👏absolutely👏is👏not.
GIGI: I’m sworn to secrecy, albeit on pain of death. I keep my vows.
KING: I respect that. Which is why I want you to tell the entire story [leads GIGI into a small room] to this stove.
G: It’s not a magic stove, right? Won’t come alive or anything?
K: No.
G: Just checking.
KING: Hang on. Wait 30 seconds, *then* start.
GIGI: ...okay then.
[KING leaves. Rapid footsteps. Door slams. A muffled ‘clank’ & an “Ouch!” comes from the other side of the wall.]
GIGI: Weird. Anyway, pull up a chair, stove, do I have a story for YOU.
[LATER]
GIGI: … meanwhile I’m working as a goose girl, not that I’m complaining, the work is nice, but it sucks that I’m here through my own passivity. My mom’s heart’d break to see me reduced to this, The helplessness, I mean, again, not the job. Love those geese.
As Gigi finished her tale, the door opened. King stood there, his arms full of beautiful, royal clothing, and he said those three incredibly powerful words.

KING: I believe you.
[SOON]
KING: Wow! You look like a completely different person in royal clothing!
GIGI: Is everyone face blind in this kingdom?
K: Steve, come here!
PRINCE: Yes, Fath - WOW who’s that?
GIGI: It’s me! Your true bride!
PRINCE: Oh thank GOD.
Once Prince Steve was filled in, King enacted a needlessly dramatic plan (set him up w/ Gigi’s mom STAT) where Gigi attended a feast that night in a dress so dazzling that Barb didn’t recognize her.
BARB: [to KING] This your date, you cradle-robber?
KING: Charming.
KING: Riddle time! Say you’re a princess.
BARB: Did that!
KING: Your servant steals your identity.
BARB: HA!
KING: And forces you to feel complicit by silencing you.
BARB: Wow, this chick knows her stuff!
PRINCE: [dry heaves]
GIGI: [sotto] Right?
KING: What, in your opinion, would be a suitable punishment for the servant who did this?
B: Hmmm. I’d have the servant stripped naked in the square, Game of Thrones walk of atonement style.
PRINCE: Yikes.
B: I’m just getting’ warmed up, babe.
PR: oh god
BARB: Then you put the servant in a barrel -
KING: [taking notes] Uh-huh…
B: - studded on the inside with nails -
KING: [slowly stops writing]
B: - which is dragged by white horses down the main road until she’s dead.
KING: what is WRONG with you
KING: Thank you for devising your own sentence!
BARB: What!
GIGI: Surprise! It’s me!
BARB: Gigi? Impossible! That’s not your dress! And how did they find out? You swore not to tell!
G: I’ll swear again right now. F*ck you.
Normally, the story ends with the above-described execution & Gigi’s wedding, but uh-oh here comes a NON-CANONICAL EPILOGUE!

KING: Barrel time!
GIGI: No.
PRINCE: What?
GIGI: No. I won’t allow Barb’s execution, let alone in so gruesome a fashion, let’s all take a breath, people.
GIGI: Let her live. She can herd geese.
BARB: I actually love geese, they’re nasty as I am.
KING: What would your mother think about this?
G: I’m thinking for myself now. Hey, Barb, can you believe how well this worked out?
B: Hate you, hate your guts.
G: Ah, like old times.
The moral is: Your story is your own to tell or not tell. If you do, as crappy as the world seems, you WILL find people who believe & support you.

2nd Moral: BELIEVE VICTIMS OF ABUSE.

3rd moral: Don’t commit identity theft. You’ll get nailed every time.
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