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History of Goose Girl


The story of the Goose Girl does not exist in many variations. One study, by Waldemar Liungman, focused on 14 versions of the tale. Thirteen of the versions were European ranging from France to Russia with only one coming from North Africa (Kabyle).

The false bride plot device "provides the dominant frame story of Basile's firecracker of a collection of fairy tales, Lo cunto de li cunti [also known as Il Pentamerone], in the seventeenth century. His group of female storytellers exchange many tales of substituted brides and false queens, and at the end actually unmask a similar wicked usurper prospering in their midst (Warner 1994, 127).

Several tales from central Africa have a similar plot but lack some of the principal traits of the story. Liungman believes that the story originated on the upper Danube although the German versions, primarily the Grimms' Goose Girl, have been the most distributed and thus influential.

The tale is hard to categorize since many tales use a replaced bride as a plot device but not necessarily with the same themes and results. The tale type AT 403: The Black and the White Bride is most often confused with the tale (Thompson 1945).


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©Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales
Page created 1/2000; Last updated 6/30/07