In Love With a Goose

Mother Goose has a feeling that this news story will make you smile. Thanks to Mark for sharing it with us. Smile. Honk.

The Goose is Getting Fat

Mother Goose was considering her weight the other day. After a filling Thanksgiving dinner complete with stuffing and gravy and turkey and assorted pies and cream cakes, Mother Goose realized that the time has come to be more aware of her fat intake. And certainly the following nursery rhyme played into that feeling. At my age, a goose has be on constant alert for the possible over-accumulation of holiday calories. Oh, the cookies I bake! The fudge I make! The liberties I take!

But back to our story…

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you have no penny, a ha’penny will do
If you have no ha’penny, then God bless you!

Being a silly goose myself, I wonder how the tradition of Christmas goose for dinner came to be. I feel a little sad about it…

But according to my dear friends at Wikipedia, “King John of England, in the year 1213, ordered about 3,000 capons, 1,000 salted eels, 400 hogs, 100 pounds of almonds and 24 casks of wine for his Christmas feast.” Now THAT’s a much better menu for Christmas. Who wouldn’t feel jolly after a feast of salted eels paired with 24 casks of sparkly wine? It’s so much healthier than a old, fat, greasy goose covered with goosebumps and pin feathers.

Warning: Graphic animal carcass photograph

But returning to our story…

If you are like Mother Goose, your heart is moved to give lavishly throughout the Christmas season. Christmas is about gifts to our loved ones, charitable giving to strangers. Christmas is ultimately about God’s gift to us in sending His Son into our dark world to bring light and hope and love.

We feel a secret inner delight in giving, don’t we? Unless, of course, we are Ebeneezer Scrooge — in which case we better prepare ourselves to be visited by the spirits during the night. (By the way, Mother Goose just finished reading A Christmas Carol on her Kindle, so it is very fresh on my mind today.)

Who can pass up the Salvation Army bell ringer without stopping to drop some coins in the bucket? Who doesn’t buy a bag of groceries to give to the local food pantry or get some extra toys for the Toys for Tots Movement? It’s in our hearts to give and give and give in December. We just love it! Right?

But oh, back to my story…

A penny or a ha'penny or whatever's in your heart.

Please put a penny in an old man’s hat if you can, dear friends. Any old penny will do. On my fifty-minute enthusiastic walk this morning (which I do each day because the goose is getting fat), I walked right by several pennies laying on the sidewalk. I should have picked them up and put them in an old man’s hat, but there were no old men to be seen today. Pity…

And if you have a ha’penny, you can give that too. I ha’t seen a ha’penny lately, but if I did see one lying on the ground or rolling around the bottom of my purse, I’d sure put that in the bucket or in a hat. Either way. How much is a ha’penny worth these days anyway? Maybe about half a cent? Still a ha’penny saved, is a ha’penny earned, I always say.

And if you’re broke down with nothing in your pocket this Christmas season (and I’m sure there are quite a few of us whose unemployment checks have stopped coming…), then God bless you.

Whenever Mother Goose is downtown in Chicago, she is met by many people on the street asking for money. The homeless, the unlucky, the unfortunate, and the penniless seem attracted to Mother Goose as well as the daughter of Mother Goose. I try to help out with a dollar here or there, dropping some extra change into an empty McDonald’s coffee cup or whatever I have in my wallet if I’m feeling especially sensitive and compassionate.

Sometimes though Mother Goose has to say “I’m sorry”. I always feel very sad about that. And then the homeless people look at me and smile and say, “God bless you today, dear.”

Dear and gentle reader, keep some extra cash in your pockets this Christmas season so that you can be a blessing to anybody who might need a little help getting their Christmas goose ham. And bee blessed!

Somebody’s Goose is Cooked!

Mother Goose thought she had heard and seen everything. In my fifty something years of life, nothing has hit me quite so hard as this nursery rhyme. I’m quite certain you’ll agree. Please consider the poem “Goosey Goosey Gander”:

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

The downright horror of this little ditty kind of takes your breath away, doesn’t it? I’m deeply disturbed….

But let’s “break it down” as they say. The narrator of the story is an unknown character, but let’s say that the narrator is of the female gender. In fact, let’s take it a step further and give her the name Mildred. I hope this doesn’t offend any of my precious readers who are named Mildred. We can tell right away that he or she has a somewhat unusual perception of reality because Mildred consults with Goosey Goosey Gander concerning where should she go. “What place shall I wander to today?” she queries the hapless fowl.

Geese are generally ornery birds when you get too close to them. You can trust me on this one, friends. They don’t like to be bothered with silly questions regarding a decision that would be best left to someone else, in this case Mildred herself. In keeping with Goosey’s personality, she tells Mildred exactly where to go!

So Mildred goes back into the house, wandering hither and thither aimlessly. The context shows that Mildred must be a house servant, perhaps a chamber maid. Perhaps she wishes she were somewhere else rather than waiting on the mistress of the household. She eventually gets upstairs to the bedroom chamber of her gracious lady.

Lo! and behold! Good Lord, there’s a MAN in the chamber, and obviously not the husband of the gracious lady! What the heck is going on in this chamber anyway? I don’t think Mother Goose has to describe the scene to you — your imagination will suffice. But just remember one thing — this man is not in the lady’s chamber for a prayer meeting.

The strange man’s left leg is obviously not firmly planted on the bedroom floor so Mildred grabs his leg and drags him out of the room and into the hallway. I can imagine him yelling his head off, perhaps cussing a blue streak — that old prayerless, lecherous, adulterous old man! And then with a whoop and a holler, Mildred tosses him down the stairs and presumably out of the house.

Let’s just give that servant goose girl a round of applause for her “way over the top” service to her mistress! Who would have ever thought that a goose maid could be the Heroine of the Day?!

My friends, we have explored some troubling nursery rhymes in this series, haven’t we? But none QUITE compares to the circumstances in this short story. And this is children’s literature? Honk honk, I think not. Mother Goose is ready to contact her local schools, her local libraries and bookstores to have this rhyme banned and perhaps burned because of its inappropriate nature. Just let me know if you’re onboard with my crusade, and we’ll meet up to clean up children’s literature once and for all!

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 79,780 honks to date

What’s New? What’s Old?

June 2023