Thinking about the Goose Girl: Storytelling and story making at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

story for syria
Photo: Fiona McDonald Joyce

With Spring just about to begin we spent a beautiful day at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve to raise money for Syria – an event organised by the wonderful Fiona McDonald Joyce.


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I told the story of The Goose Girl  but before that the children  made a story together choosing a character (person, animal or magical creature), an object and a second character from the Goose Girl: Princess, Hat, Horse.

princess, hat, horse

An astonishing tale resulted, of a horse that put on a magical hat which gave him spots, and a princess who tries to help him! So different from the tale of the princess setting off into the woods to go to her prince, and the maid who attempts to usurp her. The maid succeeds in deceiving everyone and is deposed only when the princess speaks out and tells her truth, her story.

But why would a princess agree to a lowly maid’s demands? Why would she fear her so much as to exchange clothes and her horse and even promise not to speak the truth when they reached their destination? This question has always niggled me – I found it difficult to accept that she did it through fear, and as I worked with the story, preparing to tell it, I suddenly understood: the princess agreed because she didn’t think for one moment that an explanation would ever be needed! After all, she had always been a princess and where she came from, everyone had known who she was. And she fully expected it to be the case when she and the cunning maid arrived at the new kingdom.

What a shock for her to realise that mostly people tend only to see one’s surface, to note only symbols and signs; they do not see beyond what is presented to them. One cannot hide one’s true self and hope to be discovered. Even the King, more perceptive than the others, needed to have the truth told to him, to be given the full story.

To reach our desires, our goals, the life we secretly want for ourselves, we must speak our truth. And like the King with his ear pressed to the stove pipe, we must listen well, and we must hear it.

The Goose Girl by Margaret Evans Price
The Goose Girl by Margaret Evans Price

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