The Goose Girl is a classic fairy tale that was recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Here’s a retelling of the story, staying true to its original plot.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess whose mother, the queen, arranged a marriage for her with a prince in a distant land. As the princess set off, the queen gave her a protective charm, a handkerchief with three drops of the queen’s blood, and a faithful talking horse named Falada.
“Remember, my child,” said the queen, “keep this handkerchief safe, and let Falada guide you.”
Upon their journey, the princess’s waiting maid grew envious of her and forced the princess to switch roles.
“Take off your royal gown and give it to me,” demanded the maid, “or I shall leave you here in the wilderness.”
Fearing for her life, the princess complied. The maid also forced the princess to swear not to reveal their new arrangement to anyone or she would be killed.
Upon arriving at the kingdom, the maid presented herself as the bride, and the true princess was reduced to a goose girl. The king, noticing the goose girl’s noble demeanor, asked her story.
“I’m but a poor maid,” she replied, hiding her true identity.
The talking horse, Falada, was about to reveal the truth, but the false bride ordered it killed. The real princess begged the slaughterer to hang Falada’s head under the gateway where she passed daily.
“Oh, Falada, there thou hangest,” the princess would lament each day.
Falada would respond, “Alas! Alas! If thy mother knew this, her heart would surely break.”
The king, growing curious, sent his oldest servant to listen to the goose girl’s laments. The servant reported back, and the king confronted the goose girl.
“Fear not. Your secret is safe with me,” assured the king. Encouraged, she revealed the truth.
The king arranged a banquet, inviting both the false bride and the true princess, who was dressed in her royal attire. During the feast, he posed a question to the assembly: “What punishment does one deserve who deceives their lords and masters?”
The false bride, unaware of her impending doom, replied arrogantly, “Such a one deserves no better fate than to be stripped naked and put in a barrel studded with sharp nails, and to be dragged through the streets by two white horses until dead.”
“You have pronounced your own sentence,” declared the king. He then revealed the true identity of the goose girl.
The princess was restored to her rightful place, and the treacherous maid received the punishment she had described. The prince and the true princess were finally married, and they lived happily ever after.
Follow Up Questions
- What do you think the princess felt when she had to pretend to be the goose girl? Can you describe a time you felt something similar?”
- “If you could talk to Falada, the talking horse, what would you ask him and why?”
- “If you had a magical power like in the story, what would it be and how would you use it to help others?”
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