Once upon a time there was a shoemaker who had three sons and a goat. The sons had to help him in his trade, and the goat had to nourish them with her milk. In order for the goat to get good, delicious food every day, the sons took turns and led her out to graze in a meadow.
One time Hans returned home at noon and found Trina sleeping again in their room. So he took his knife and cut off her dress at the knees. Trina awoke and thought: 'It’s time now to go to work.' However, when she went outside to work and saw that the dress was so short she became frightened and wondered whether she really was Trina and said to herself: 'Am I or am I not Trina?'
The younger brother was surprised that the cat could talk but apparently got over that pretty fast and did what the cat asked. After the cat donned his fancy new boots, he gathered up a burlap sack of wheat and went walking away on his back feet. Using the wheat to trap some fat partridges, the cat then went off in search of a king.
Well, for a nice change of pace we have a maiden that is being sought by a man and when she realizes how thoughtless and rude he is, she sends him packing. This is one of the few stories we've had that shows a fairytale maiden taking charge of her agency and deciding her own fate, though admittedly, it does take a bit.
A miller, who was so poor that he had nothing else but his mill and a large apple tree behind it, went into the forest to fetch wood. While there he met an old man who said: 'Why are you torturing yourself so much? I’ll make you rich if you promise to give me what’s behind your mill. In three years I’ll come and fetch what’s mine.'
A little louse and a little flea were living together in a house and were brewing beer in an eggshell when the louse fell in and was scalded. Then the flea began to scream as loud as he could, and the little door to the room asked: “Why are you screaming, little flea?”
Okay! So this is a relatively short story that has just an unbelievable number of variations and adaptations. I'll be using the Grimm story in this entry but we will discuss some of the variations because they are important to the conversation. Having said that, there are surprisingly few images of this variation so I included the entire story instead.
In reading the story, it's wildly obvious that this is a Christian allegory. And while I immediately understood the reference to "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," I was a little thrown as to who the Goose Boy actually was. I mean, I may know an absurd amount when it comes to mythology and folklore but the Bible has never been an area of focus for me. So my first thought was that it was about King David, of "David and Goliath" fame.
The basic theme of all of these stories, however, is that little girls that stray from the path will find themselves at the mercy of a Big Bad Wolf (or another vicious beastie). And no, in the Western versions we're not talking about actual wolves. IT'S A METAPHOR, PEOPLE!
Mother Holle is a little like Baba Yaga in that she has a fearsome visage and she may offer help or hindrance, depending on how she feels about you. Unlike Baba Yaga, however, Mother Holle's motivations are much simpler: she really just wants someone to fluff her bed every morning.