The golden goose
La oca de oro
Riflessioni e considerazioni
(original Italian draft L'Oca d'oro - Riflessioni e considerazioni)
Those who don’t know Fairy Tales think they’ll just find the usual morals.
However within fairytales lie deep truths, not obvious facts.
The lead character doesn’t earn it, he obtains it through other means.
In Fairy Tales the classic virtues hold no value.
The Simpleton holds no merit in his surpassing of the King’s trials.
He is neither smart, nor skilled. He never even realizes that it’s always the little old grey man helping him.
As towards the end, the old man says “I’m doing all of this because you were kind to me since the start”, we could be persuaded that the story is aiming to praise the Simpleton’s good will.
All in all, however, the Simpleton is not a good person.
He acts horribly towards those who are left stuck to the goose, girls, priests, workers. He makes them run around. He takes them to the princess for her amusement.
In this fairytale there are no wit, skill, dedication and good will is not rewarded, as this fairytale is not trying to lie. In real life success often goes to those without any special qualities, or often who is certainly worth less than others. He’s dumber, less skilled and works less.
For years I kept painting The Golden Goose and giving it to children, wondering if it was just a practical joke or if it carried some sort of message.
The Simpleton is a good for nothing fool, as his father says and everyone else knows. And he does nothing to prove otherwise.
Once they found the goose anyone else would try to draw something out of such a treasure, he instead goes to the inn and the morning after he just goes wherever his legs will take him, goose tucked under his arm with a line of people behind him.
The thought that he could become someone who is liked by others doesn’t even brush through his head.
He shouldn’t be eating as soon as he enters the woods. He should be cutting wood, as everyone at home expected him to do and keep the food for later.
His brothers had dutifully gotten to work after explaining to the little old grey man that they couldn’t have given him anything or once their work was done they would have found themselves hungry and exhausted.
Reason always keeps misery into consideration (See “The Sweet Porridge”). The Simpleton doesn’t. He doesn’t worry about the future.
He doesn’t fill the need to fulfill his duties. Everyone knows that he’s a fool, he doesn’t even have a name, he’s just “The Simpleton”. He is therefore completely free from the reason for his own importance, he doesn’t need to hold any responsibilities.
He shares his food with the first person he encounters, not because he feels for him, but for the simple company of someone while eating.
He isn’t saddened by the fact that his mother gave him less than his brothers, he simply tells the little man that it’s all he has to offer.
The King never holding to his word is unfair, but he doesn’t seem to show suffering, he simply goes through the tests.
He doesn’t have any self-respect, that’s not worthy of consideration to him.
Not even the Goose he cares about.
The goose is like a perfect storm that elevates someone, a brand, a music song to the apex of success.
It gives popularity, through the good and the bad and it often leads to stress, burning out, fear of “losing it”.
But our Simpleton is a happy-go-lucky fool, who sees the comedic side of the situation and makes the princess laugh.
The Goose has now lost all its importance and the story never mentions it again.
The Simpleton only cares about what he wants.
He wants to go to the woods? That’s his destination now.
He wants to make the princess laugh? He does so.
He wants to marry her, and become king? In the end things go the way he wants.
Complaining about fairy tales princesses being limited to being objects to marry and succeed is natural, but superficial.
It is now widely accepted to consider two components to the human personality, a male side, rational and scientific (Reason, Logo, Yang) and a female side, intuitive and sentimental (Soul, Ying) and praising their eventual harmonic fusion.
Fairy Tales eending in marriage allude to this fusion. And the princess who can’t laugh is the female component, the Soul, whose emotions and fragility often leading her to sadness.
Either that, or the princess can be seen as the truer and more profound aspiration. That one purpose that once it’s found we know we want with all our heart. That secret dream that if it became part of our lives would make us feel like kings. Becoming a singer, a writer, living in our personal heaven on earth, becoming who we always wanted to be.
Most of the times we won’t even dare to think what this should be, as we’re far too involved in what we should do, what we should be and our responsibilities.
Instead, if we were free, if we didn’t let anyone and anything push us around we could one day reach the town with the princess we want to marry.
The princess laughs hard and loud when she sees the Simpleton make fun of anyone trying to have their way with him.
With a laughing Soul and the certainty of what we want, we can begin to think about leading a happy life.
But we’re not done yet!
The king who keeps submitting trials is a lot like reality.
Once an objective is completed, instead of a reward lies another obstacle in our path.
Skill, wits, effort are never enough.
The Simpleton doesn’t quit. But he doesn’t kill himself over the impossible. He isn’t affected by feelings of inadequacy, he simply takes it for grant from the start that he wouldn’t be able to make it.
Whenever he is looking for the little old grey man, he knows he can find him in the woods.
He doesn’t need to ask, he always encounters someone whose needs seem to perfectly fit into the solution to the trial the King has given him, what the others need coincides with what he needs. He doesn’t need to ask, all he does is offer opportunities, like at the beginning he wasn’t charitable as much as he was needing for company.
That’s what the story is trying to teach!
It is the Simpleton who marries the princess and becomes king because he holds the merit and virtue of being the Simpleton.L'oca d'oro
The golden goose
La oca de oro
Riflessioni e considerazioni