The Golden Goose

The Golden GooseSummary

The Golden Goose is a story you’re probably at least a little familiar with. No, we’re not speaking of the goose that laid the golden egg, we’re talking about the golden goose. Learn the difference between your magical golden creatures. This story is a bit humorous. As you can see, it looks like they’re doing a conga line in the picture. So get ready for some interesting things.

Once upon a time there was a man who had three sons. The youngest was called…Dummling, which means, Simpleton. Who would have guessed? I feel bad for this kingdom where third sons are all automatically called Simpleton. Was it a rule in this kingdom to name your third son Simpleton?

One day the eldest son was sent out into the forest to chop some wood. His mother gave him a beautiful sweet cake and a bottle of wine so he would not be hungry or thirsty while he was in the woods. While in the woods he met a little grey-haired man. This man asked for some of the eldest son’s food. The eldest son said if he shared there would not be enough for him. He went on his way to commence chopping wood. His axe slipped and he cut himself on the arm and had to go home to get it doctored up. The grey-haired man had caused this to happen.

The second son went into the woods to chop some wood. His mother gave him also a beautiful cake and a bottle of wine. He meets the same little grey-haired mad. The little man asks him to share his food. The second brother tells him that if he shares his food there won’t be enough for him to eat. The second son leaves the little man and begins to chop wood. Well, his axe slip and he cuts himself on the leg. He has to go home to get it doctored up.

Dummling asks his parents if he might go into the forest to chop wood. They don’t want him to go because he’s a few cards short of a deck, but they finally relent thinking that maybe an injury would put some sense into the boy. His mother gives him a cinder cake and sour beer to take with him into the forest. Dummling comes to the same little man. The little man asks Dummling to share his food. Dummling tells him that he only has a cinder cake and some sour beer, but if the man is ok with that, he will share. Dummling gets his food out and it has magically changed into a delicious, soft cake and good wine.

The little man tells Dummling that since he has been so generous, he will give him a bit of good luck. He tells him to chop down a specific tree and he will find something good at its roots. Dummling does chop down this tree and he finds a golden goose. He takes the goose, with its golden feathers, and spends the night in an inn. The innkeeper had three daughters. They all wanted a golden feather for themselves.

The first daughter crept in to pluck a feather, but she immediately became stuck to the goose. The second daughter wanted a feather, but also became stuck to the goose. The third daughter wanted a feather. The older sisters tried to warn her, but the youngest wanted to do what the older two were doing, so she also became stuck to the goose. Dummling woke up and grabbed the goose and went on his way, not even giving a single thought to three girls stuck to his goose. They had to run along behind Dummling like exhausted little weenie dogs.

Dummling went through a field where a parson happened to be. He rebuked the girls pretty much telling them, “Why are you following after this young man? You look like a bunch of hussies. It’s unseemly and everyone is immediately going to spread rumors about this. Your father will not be happy.” That’s not really in the story, but that’s what he meant. The parson made to grab the youngest girl, but as soon as he touched her, he was stuck fast to the group of people and also had to follow along. Then his sexton saw him and ran after the parson. The sexton grabbed the parson’s sleeve and was also obliged to follow along. Then two field hands saw all of this and tried to free the parson and sexton, but they got stuck as well. In the end, Dummling had seven people stuck to his goose.

He happened to be in a kingdom where a king had a serious daughter. She would never laugh. the king had offered her hand in marriage to any man who could make her laugh. Dummling waltzed in the room like he owned the place with his goose and seven party conga line and the daughter laughed like she had never laughed before. The king wanted to keep his promise, but he really didn’t like Dummling, especially since he was called Dummling.

The king decided to issue Dummling some challenges. He told him he needed to find a man who could drink and entire cellar of beer. Dummling was concerned and sought out the man in the woods. When he found the man in the woods, the little man complained of such extreme thirst that he thought he might die because of it. Dummling holds out his hand and says, “Run,” no, wait, that’s Doctor Who, Dummling says, “Come with me if you want to live,” that’s also not right, but it’s close enough. So the old man goes with Dummling and Dummling shows him the cellar full of bear. The old man drinks until it’s all gone, he also has to pee really badly, but Dummling completes the first challenge.

The king issues another challenge. He tells Dummling to find someone who can eat a mountain of bread. Dummling goes to the little old man who complains of severe hunger. Dummling says, “Follow me, I know a place.” The king has caused all the flour in the kingdom to be gathered up and a great mound of bread has been baked. By the end of the day, the little old man has eaten it all.

The third challenge involves a boat that can sail on both land and water. The king tells Dummling to go and fetch it. As soon as he comes back with it, he can marry the princess. Dummling goes to the little old man, gives him the ship, and this somehow causes Dummling’s end of the bargain to be fulfilled. Dummling married the princess and became king after the king died.

The End

The Golden GooseObservations

What happened to the golden goose after all of this? What happened to all the people stuck to it? The story doesn’t say they got unstuck, so I am assuming they’ve been locked away as some sort of freak show oddity. This story just forgets about them completely. Also what happened to Dummling’s older brothers? Did they live? Did they die from gangrene? We just don’t know.

This story reminds me of the tarbaby. It’s been a while since I’ve read the story, but essentially someone makes a baby out of tar to trick a fairy or a witch, I forget which. She gets so mad that the tarbaby simply looks at her and never says anything that she slaps it. When she slaps it, she gets stuck. She tries using her other hand to get free, but that also gets stuck. It ends up with pretty much her entire body being stuck to the tarbaby.

For some odd reason Dragon Ball Z is coming to mind. For those of you who do not know what this is, it’s an anime where it takes an entire season to defeat one villain who constantly regenerates himself with various bull crap reasons that do not involve him being a time lord. In that anime there is a little old man that they all hang out with. For some reason, that little old man is coming to mind, when I think of the little grey-haired man in this story. A scene from Spirited Away also comes to mind. It’s also an anime, but a beautiful, amazing, full length movie. The main character, Chihiro, helps a river spirit become free from a bunch of river pollution and she sees him when it’s all done and he looks like I imagine the little old man in this tale would look like. I don’t know why, but this tale seems to have a bit of Japanese flair to it, even though I know it’s purely European.

Why is a goose living in a tree? That seems awfully constricting.

The Golden GooseThemes

Let’s see, never underestimate someone because they’re not that bright. If something is meant to happen, it’s going to happen. There is, of course, the number three in this tale. There is another golden animal, which is apparently sticky as heck, that’s highly impractical. I would like to talk about this princess though.

We’ve established this theme in the Grimm’s anthology. Women aren’t supposed to be speaking. We have all these tales of women being silent. This is the second tale in which a woman doesn’t laugh. The story doesn’t say she can’t speak. If you want a woman to be silent, what is the one noise you want her to make? Don’t automatically take this to the gutter please. You would want her to laugh right? If you told her a funny joke, or not so funny, you would want her to giggle at it right? Even if she couldn’t make any other noises, you would want her to be able to chuckle. Think about it.

For all the arrogance some men can have and for all the sexist behaviors opinions they can have, such as women shouldn’t be speaking, these men still want women to giggle at them. You know as well as I do, that when you’re dating someone, there is an awful lot of giggling going on. It’s normal and it’s essentially a good sign. If the girl giggles at you, that means she likes you, sometimes. It could also just mean she thinks you’re an idiot, but, hey…if she can’t make any other noises but laughter, you will never know if she thinks you’re an idiot. You could just be happily going along thinking your girlfriend/wife thinks you’re awesome because she giggles with you, even though she’s laughing at you, not with you. It’s really an ego thing the way I see it.

If you’re giggly, you’re probably also being flirty, I’m speaking to the women. A king would want one of his most precious commodities, his daughter, to be giggly. How else would he get her married off? If she’s not flirty and giggling, she’s being too serious. What prince or king is going to want a woman who is too serious?

You have to think about the princess. Is she doing this on purpose? Is this a resistance to her father’s efforts to marry her off? It very well could be. There could also be some other cause to her somberness. Maybe she really couldn’t laugh until she saw the golden goose conga line or maybe she is clinically depressed.

I could have this thing all wrong and it may be that the king simply wants his daughter to be happy, but let’s face it, we’re talking about pre-1800s kingdoms who married off their children in order to form alliances. This princess is an asset, not a daughter.

She probably doesn’t like being married to a man named Dummling simply because he made her laugh. Who wants to marry a guy named Dummling? I’ve already explained in other posts how marriages involving a person who is “clever” are terrible. The story does say Dummling lived contentedly with his wife. Well, maybe he lived contentedly, but she probably didn’t.

Also, you should totally share if you are able to. Dummling does a good deed and is paid back by the old man.


It amazes me how complex these stories really are. You have to look beneath the surface to see most of it, but it’s there.

P.S. a boat that can sail on land and water…were they talking about Jeremy Clarkson’s Toybota? If you don’t know what that is, please look it up.

Never mind, here’s the toybota.

About The Author


There's way too much to write in this tiny space, but let's be short about this. Ashe is the creator, maintainer, and writer of One-Elevenbooks and has been since 2011. She likes to make artwork and write novels. She also likes the outside, in general. Ashe has a BA in Fine Arts and a BS in Information Technology.

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