Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales

Lost and Found: "The Goose Girl" - The Wind in My Hair

June 11, 2020 Autumn Woods Season 1 Episode 3
Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales
Lost and Found: "The Goose Girl" - The Wind in My Hair
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Ever wonder if you're qualified for your calling? You're not alone. Come sit in the pasture with the goose girl and find the courage to take hold of your destiny.

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Lost and Found: Stories of Displaced Female Identity - Episode 3


“The Goose Girl: The Wind in My Hair”


Welcome to Lost in the Woods: Finding Your Way as God’s Daughter Through Fairy Tales ™. I’m your host, Autumn Woods, and I’m so excited you’re here. Last time, we talked about choosing not to settle for anything less than the life God has planned for you. Our next story of displaced female identity deals with what happens when you struggle to make that choice. Is there any hope for you once your destiny slips through your fingers because you feel unworthy and ill-equipped? Does someone have the right to take your calling from you because they act like they can do it better? How much do you have to lose before enough is enough, and you take Godly authority over your life?

The Goose Girl, from the Brothers Grimm, has always been near and dear to my heart, and I clung to it even harder as an adult during a time when I felt powerless to change my circumstances. This is a much heavier story, even heavier than Cinderella. It’s hard to tell without bursting into tears. But it is an important illustration of the dangers of surrendering your God-given authority, and of the mercy of our King, who gives us every available opportunity to get it back. We join the princess on her heartbreaking journey from riches to rags and back again, remembering that we, too, are daughters of the King, and that lowly circumstances cannot hide all traces of the power we were born to wield. 

So, let’s get lost, as we read the story of (The Goose Girl).

There was once upon a time an old queen whose husband had been dead for many years, and she had a beautiful daughter. When the princess grew up she was betrothed to a prince who lived at a great distance. When the time came for her to be married, and she had to journey forth into the distant kingdom, the aged queen packed up for her many costly vessels of silver and gold, and trinkets also of gold and silver, and cups and jewels, in short, everything which appertained to a royal dowry, for she loved her child with all her heart.

She likewise sent her maid-in-waiting, who was to ride with her, and hand her over to the bridegroom, and each had a horse for the journey, but the horse of the king's daughter was called Falada, and could speak. So when the hour of parting had come, the aged mother went into her bedroom, took a small knife and cut her finger with it until it bled. Then she held a white handkerchief to it into which she let three drops of blood fall, gave it to her daughter and said, "Dear child, preserve this carefully, it will be of service to you on your way."

So they took a sorrowful leave of each other, the princess put the piece of cloth in her bosom, mounted her horse, and then went away to her bridegroom.

After she had ridden for a while she felt a burning thirst, and said to her waiting-maid, "Dismount, and take my cup which you have brought with you for me, and get me some water from the stream, for I should like to drink."

"If you are thirsty", said the waiting-maid, "get off your horse yourself, and lie down and drink out of the water, I don't choose to be your servant."

So in her great thirst the princess alighted, bent down over the water in the stream and drank, and was not allowed to drink out of the golden cup. Then she said, "Ah, heaven," and the three drops of blood answered,

"If this your mother knew,
 her heart would break."

But the king's daughter was humble, said nothing, and mounted her horse again. She rode some miles further, but the day was warm, the sun scorched her, and she was thirsty once more, and when they came to a stream of water, she again cried to her waiting-maid, "Dismount, and give me some water in my golden cup," for she had long ago forgotten the girl's ill words.

But the waiting-maid said still more haughtily, "If you wish to drink, get it yourself, I don't choose to be your maid." Then in her great thirst the king's daughter alighted, bent over the flowing stream, wept and said, "Ah, heaven," and the drops of blood again replied,

"If this your mother knew,
 her heart would break."


And as she was thus drinking and leaning right over the stream, the handkerchief with the three drops of blood fell out of her bosom, and floated away with the water without her observing it, so great was her trouble. The waiting-maid, however, had seen it, and she rejoiced to think that she had now power over the bride, for since the princess had lost the drops of blood, she had become weak and powerless.

So now when she wanted to mount her horse again, the one that was called Falada, the waiting-maid said, "Falada is more suitable for me, and my nag will do for you," and the princess had to be content with that. Then the waiting-maid, with many hard words, bade the princess exchange her royal apparel for her own shabby clothes, and at length she was compelled to swear by the clear sky above her, that she would not say one word of this to anyone at the royal court, and if she had not taken this oath she would have been killed on the spot. But Falada saw all this, and observed it well.

The waiting-maid now mounted Falada, and the true bride the bad horse, and thus they traveled onwards, until at length they entered the royal palace. There were great rejoicings over her arrival, and the prince sprang forward to meet her, lifted the waiting-maid from her horse, and thought she was his consort. She was conducted upstairs, but the real princess was left standing below. Then the old king looked out of the window and saw her standing in the courtyard, and noticed how dainty and delicate and beautiful she was, and instantly went to the royal apartment, and asked the bride about the girl she had with her who was standing down below in the courtyard, and who she was. "I picked her up on my way for a companion, give the girl something to work at, that she may not stand idle." But the old king had no work for her, and knew of none, so he said, "I have a little boy who tends the geese, she may help him." The boy was called Conrad, and the true bride had to help him to tend the geese.

Soon afterwards the false bride said to the young king, "Dearest husband, I beg you to do me a favor."

He answered, "I will do so most willingly."

"Then send for the knacker, and have the head of the horse on which I rode here cut off, for it vexed me on the way." In reality, she was afraid that the horse might tell how she had behaved to the king's daughter.

Then she succeeded in making the king promise that it should be done, and the faithful Falada was to die, this came to the ears of the real princess, and she secretly promised to pay the knacker a piece of gold if he would perform a small service for her. There was a great dark-looking gateway in the town, through which morning and evening she had to pass with the geese, would he be so good as to nail up Falada's head on it, so that she might see him again, more than once. The knacker promised to do that, and cut off the head, and nailed it fast beneath the dark gateway.

Early in the morning, when she and Conrad drove out their flock beneath this gateway, she said in passing,

"Alas, Falada, hanging there."

Then the head answered,

"Alas, young queen, how ill you fare.
 If this your tender mother knew
 Her heart would surely break in two."

Then they went still further out of the town, and drove their geese into the country. And when they had come to the meadow, she sat down and unbound her hair which was like pure gold, and Conrad saw it and delighted in its brightness, and wanted to pluck out a few hairs. Then she said,

"Blow, blow, you gentle wind, I say,
 Blow Conrad's little hat away,
 And make him chase it here and there,
 Until I have braided all my hair,
 And bound it up again."

And there came such a violent wind that it blew Conrad's hat far away across country, and he was forced to run after it. When he came back she had finished combing her hair and was putting it up again, and he could not get any of it. Then Conrad was angry, and would not speak to her, and thus they watched the geese until the evening, and then they went home.

Next day when they were driving the geese out through the dark gateway, the maiden said,

"Alas, Falada, hanging there."

Falada answered,

"Alas, young queen, how ill you fare.
 If this your tender mother knew
 Her heart would surely break in two."

And she sat down again in the field and began to comb out her hair, and Conrad ran and tried to clutch it, so she said in haste,

"Blow, blow, you gentle wind, I say,
 Blow Conrad's little hat away,
 And make him chase it here and there,
 Until I have braided all my hair,
 And bound it up again."

Then the wind blew, and blew his little hat off his head and far away, and Conrad was forced to run after it, and when he came back, her hair had been put up a long time, and he could get none of it, and so they looked after their geese till evening came.

But in the evening after they had got home, Conrad went to the old king, and said, "I won't tend the geese with that girl any longer."

"Why not?" inquired the aged king.

"Oh, because she vexes me the whole day long."

Then the aged king commanded him to relate what it was that she did to him.

And Conrad said, "In the morning when we pass beneath the dark gateway with the block, there is a sorry horse's head on the wall, and she says to it

"'Alas, Falada, hanging there.'

"And the head answers,

"'Alas, young queen, how ill you fare.
 If this your tender mother knew
 Her heart would surely break in two.'"

And Conrad went on to relate what happened on the goose pasture, and how when there he had to chase his hat.

The aged king commanded him to drive his flock out again next day, and as soon as morning came, he placed himself behind the dark gateway, and heard how the maiden spoke to the head of Falada, and then he too went into the country, and hid himself in the thicket in the meadow. There he soon saw with his own eyes the goose-girl and the goose-boy bringing their flock, and how after a while she sat down and unplaited her hair, which shone with radiance. And soon she said,

"Blow, blow, you gentle wind, I say,
 Blow Conrad's little hat away,
 And make him chase it here and there,
 Until I have braided all my hair,
 And bound it up again."

Then came a blast of wind and carried off Conrad's hat, so that he had to run far away, while the maiden quietly went on combing and plaiting her hair, all of which the king observed. Then, quite unseen, he went away, and when the goose-girl came home in the evening, he called her aside, and asked why she did all these things.

"I may not tell you that, and I dare not lament my sorrows to any human being, for I have sworn not to do so by the heaven which is above me, if I had not done that, I should have lost my life."

He urged her and left her no peace, but he could draw nothing from her. Then said he, "If you will not tell me anything, tell your sorrows to the iron-stove there," and he went away.

Then she crept into the iron-stove, and began to weep and lament, and emptied her whole heart, and said, "Here am I deserted by the whole world, and yet I am a king's daughter, and a false waiting-maid has by force brought me to such a pass that I have been compelled to put off my royal apparel, and she has taken my place with my bridegroom, and I have to perform menial service as a goose-girl. If my mother did but know that, her heart would break."

The aged king, however, was standing outside by the pipe of the stove, and was listening to what she said, and heard it. Then he came back again, and bade her come out of the stove. And royal garments were placed on her, and it was marvelous how beautiful she was. The aged king summoned his son, and revealed to him that he had got the false bride who was only a waiting-maid, but that the true one was standing there, who had been the goose-girl. The young king rejoiced with all his heart when he saw her beauty and youth, and a great feast was made ready to which all the people and all good friends were invited.

At the head of the table sat the bridegroom with the king's daughter at one side of him, and the waiting-maid on the other, but the waiting-maid was blinded, and did not recognize the princess in her dazzling array. When they had eaten and drunk, and were merry, the aged king asked the waiting-maid as a riddle, what a person deserved who had behaved in such and such a way to her master, and at the same time related the whole story, and asked what sentence such a one merited.

Then the false bride said, "She deserves no better fate than to be stripped entirely naked, and put in a barrel which is studded inside with pointed nails, and two white horses should be harnessed to it, which will drag her along through one street after another, till she is dead."

"It is you," said the aged king, "and you have pronounced your own sentence, and thus shall it be done unto you." And when the sentence had been carried out, the young king married his true bride, and both of them reigned over their kingdom in peace and happiness.

Take a second to shake off the brutality of that last scene, or calm down if you were a little too excited about the retribution like me, and let’s jump into the analysis. Don’t run away from the campfire. We’re about to shed some light on the incredible treasure hidden in this story, after a brief message. 

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Alright, back to the analysis. We begin with a loving mother-daughter relationship. The queen obviously adores her child, and wants to give her every possible advantage in the next phase of her life. She waits until the princess is grown before betrothing her to a prince, heaps a royal dowry into her saddle bags, and allows her to take her beloved horse, Falada, to keep her company on the journey. She even sends her maid in waiting with the princess on another horse to safely deliver her daughter into the hands of her expectant groom. Like God, she supplies her daughter’s needs, according to her riches and glory. 

The most touching and mysterious gift of all is the handkerchief with the three drops of blood, which the queen bestows upon her daughter for protection. My mom and I always talked about this gift when we read this story together, wondering what could have been so important about the bloody handkerchief that its disappearance could put the princess in the maid’s power. The answer is, it was proof of the princess’ identity. The white handkerchief would be made of the finest quality materials, since it belonged to royalty. Only someone higher in the ranks of society, exempted from manual labor, could possibly preserve the pure, white color of the cloth. Had DNA tests existed back then, the blood would have been evidence of the princess’ royal pedigree. The blood is proof of her mother’s love and willingness to sacrifice for her daughter. There are three drops, falling in line with the fairy tale rule of three signifying completion. The Queen gives her daughter everything she possibly can, including her blessing and protection, before they are parted. 

From a Christian perspective, there is one drop for each member of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are covered by the blood of Jesus, and made pure by His sacrificial love. Our identity as royal daughters of God is sealed in His blood, which washes us clean from sin and death (Revelation 1:5). We overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, according to Revelation 12:11. These are the most powerful portions of our dowry, because they give us access to our Heavenly Father and all of His promises and power through the spirit of adoption. 

 The accuser will try to make you doubt God’s goodness and your place in His kingdom, because that was the first trick he played on mankind, and hey, it worked so well the first time, why not do it again? It’s another one of his favorite games. If he can get you to doubt God, then you’ll doubt yourself, and vice versa. You’ll question whether or not you are worthy of what you have been given. You’re dirty. You’re imperfect. You’re not suited for what God gave you. You should walk away and leave your calling to someone better than you. Or he’ll take you down a twin train of thought that says God’s been holding out on you, and you deserve way more than the measly pittance He’s tossed your way like crumbs from His table. How dare you put up with this treatment! Isn’t God supposed to be a good father? It’s time to march out the door and seize what’s rightfully yours. Either way, you get distracted from using your weapons of warfare that are not carnal against the devil and his temptations, and you may even forsake your current assignment from God in order to chase down the answer to your problem elsewhere. 

 Satan will use anything he can get his hands on to make you lay down your sword and shield and abdicate your throne. As I mentioned in Cinderella: Beauty for Ashes, broken people make ideal accomplices for the schemes of the enemy.  

 The maidservant believes she is destined for greater things than her current position. She resents the princess, perhaps believing that the girl is too soft to be an effective ruler. Everything has been done for her. She hasn’t yet learned that not everyone means her well, nor has she had a toughening experience to cement her authority in her current and future titles. Being alone with her gives the maidservant the perfect opportunity to correct what she believes to be an egregious error of fortune. When the princess tells her to dismount and fill her golden cup with water from the stream, something the servant is meant to do, she nastily refuses. The language she uses resembles the curse God placed on the snake in Eden for its treachery: “lie down and drink out of the water, I don’t choose to be your servant.”  

 The princess herself is shocked when the maid does not obey her gentle but firm command, but she is too humble to insist on her own way. In order not to be any trouble, she timidly slides down from Falada and bends over to drink from the stream like an animal, denied the use of her golden cup. She knows this is wrong, but not what to do about it. Her mother’s blood answers her cry to Heaven, admonishing her that her mother’s heart would break if she knew of this incident. It would break because of the maid’s proud refusal to tend to her daughter’s needs, but more so because her daughter is not confident enough to take authority over an insubordinate servant. It is one thing to be kind and diplomatic when dealing with difficult people. It is another to mistakenly surrender your power in order to keep peace. Even in Jesus’ lowest moment on Earth, when He surrendered His rights as King, He acted in the authority given to Him as a servant, for only then could He become sin for us and defeat it once and for all. He tells us in John 10:18, “No one takes [My life] away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. I received this commandment from My Father.”

 Too often, we forget that we are God’s royal daughters; that we have been given authority to trample serpents and scorpions, cast out demons, overcome all the power of the enemy, and lay hands on the sick and watch them recover (Matthew 10:1; Luke 10:19). We forget that our freedom comes from pleasing God rather than pleasing men. When we become too accustomed to God’s approval and love, the single voice in the crowd booing us becomes the loudest and sharpest of all. And often, we listen, afraid that we have been living a lie. We curl up for days after catching the blows of unkind words and actions, shocked that they could come against us at all, and unsure of how to make the ill-treatment stop. We forget that we can end this cycle by confessing the truth we know in the Word, and when this muscle memory does not develop quickly enough, we can become paralyzed. 

 The second time the maid refuses to aid her, the princess once again stoops down to drink. Although she is not pleased about doing it, she has chosen to compromise her royal position by cooperating with injustice and falsehood. By getting off her horse and lying down on the ground at the behest of one who should have no authority over her, she abdicates her throne. The blood again answers her cry, reminding her that her mother’s heart would break at this, and still the princess leans down to drink. Once again, she does not take the opportunity to upbraid the maid and command her to perform her duty. She does not even snatch the cup from her to fill it with water herself, and drink in a manner befitting her station. Instead, she crouches by the water like the lowest of the low, and in doing so, unwittingly loses the bloody handkerchief in the running stream. She is so troubled by what the maid has said, that she passively allows her destiny to slip away from her, concerned that she is unworthy of it. The disappearance of the handkerchief is also a physical manifestation of the princess’ loss of identity and protection. 

 We know we can lose ourselves in many ways, but can we lose the covering of the blood? No. It was given to us once and for all. But we can choose to act outside of it, and that is a dangerous choice. We give up our right to protection when we slip out from under God’s wings, and there will be consequences for what we do while we’re gone. It doesn’t mean that He stops helping us, but we are in effect, telling Him to back off. And He’ll listen, because He loves us and gave us free will. God won’t force you back under His covering, but He will watch and wait anxiously for your return. How do we remove ourselves from the covering? By actively choosing to do things contrary to God’s nature. We can think of obvious Biblical examples from the lives of David and Bathsheba, Saul, Samson, and Peter, stories that involve people who know better sinning with their eyes, mouths, and bodies. But the mind and heart are the most dangerous battlegrounds. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” (Luke 6:45). When you agree with lies about you in your heart, they begin to shape everything you say and do.  

 Once the enemy observes that you are no longer operating under covenantal terms, he knows that he has free reign to come and kick you while you’re down. You’re more likely to give in to temptations and wrong thinking. You’re more prone to make terrible decisions without being prompted because you figure you’re so far away from God anyway, and too filthy to approach Him. You might as well keep doing what you’re doing.

 Once she sees the handkerchief bobbing down the stream, the maid pounces on her opportunity to seize control of the princess and her property, for now her royal highness is “weak and powerless.” At the beginning of her journey, the princess wore the symbol of her mother’s blessing and protection in her bosom, where it guarded her heart. Now, her heart is left defenseless and exposed. There is no reassurance from her mother that she is a king’s daughter, destined to wed a prince and become a great ruler who upholds peace in her new kingdom. There is nothing in her to rise up and defend herself against the tyranny of the evil maid’s selfish agenda. 

 The maid refuses to allow the princess to remount Falada, insisting that he is better suited to her, while the princess deserves to ride the poor nag. This infuriates me on multiple levels, but I will focus on the symbolic affront. Consult any Christian-based book about dream interpretation, and you will find that vehicles represent ministry. In this story, horses are the vehicles of the day. Falada is strong, eloquent, intelligent, kind, and regal, meant for a king’s daughter. He represents everything the princess must be in her current and future roles as wife and ruler. It is an outrageous insult for someone who has no training or temperament for such things to declare that she should have the mantle of one who has been prepared for queenship all her life. 

 Have you ever had someone cut you down in an area where God called and anointed you to be? Has someone ever tried to stifle your gifts out of jealousy while disguising it as righteous correction? Have you ever been sabotaged by someone who believes they are more deserving than you? Then you know how painful this is. Especially when you aren’t used to having to do battle in this kind of scenario and be ready with Godly words to quench the fiery darts flying your way. You will always be brutally attacked in the areas you are gifted in. And no matter how skilled we get at wielding our spiritual weapons, each of us has an Achilles’ heel, which the enemy will happily exploit, and we have to watch the backs of our brothers and sisters so that we can cover them when that vulnerable place is struck.

 But the princess is all alone. She isn’t practiced in having to defend the role she was born to play. And so, the maid’s words plant a seed of doubt in her heart, which takes root and blossoms before she can muster up the courage to pluck it out. This attitude is reflected outwardly when the maidservant forces the princess to exchange clothes with her, and she dons the drab, shabby garments of a job and spirit she was never meant to inhabit. She swears on pain of death never to reveal at court the injustices inflicted on her by the scheming woman who now wears her royal robes and mounts her noble steed. 

 There are things we say to each other, especially as women, so loaded with meaning, which would never stand as evidence in a court of law because you can’t be put on trial for subtext or cruel glances or exclusion. Many abusive people never change their behavior and are never caught because they are experts at threatening their victims in such a way that they are almost embarrassed to confess what little substantial evidence there is against their tormentors. The maidservant is one of these bullies. True, she could have murdered the princess in the forest, but if the displaced woman had bravely confessed what happened upon reaching the palace, Falada would have spoken on her behalf as a witness, and the story could have turned out very differently. But that’s not what happens. I truly think the princess doesn’t yet believe she is worthy of her own destiny, and doesn’t think that anyone will believe her story. Because the maid has the confidence to falsely wield authority, there is a chance that she will be believed if she lies about their interaction in the forest, and the princess could be put to death. 

 When the women arrive at the castle and the maid is mistaken for the princess bride, the true princess is left standing awkwardly in the courtyard. But her rags are unable to hide her regal beauty from the old king. When you are a child of God, there is an unmistakable light and presence about you that will either put people off or draw them to you, seemingly without explanation. The girl’s posture, gait, and delicate features betray her heritage and upbringing. It is clear that there is a calling on her life; a great purpose. Yet, here she stands alone and uncertain, in poor, shabby clothes. I’m sure you’ve known a girl like that. I’m positive that all of us have been that girl. And frankly, some of us still are. 

 Knowing that there is something remarkable about the princess, the king inquires about her. The maid downplays her as much as she can and insists that the princess be given work to do in order to keep her out of the way. I wonder why she doesn’t lie about the princess and have her executed to make sure she cannot interfere with her plans. We know she is capable of horrible imaginings because of her self-pronounced judgement at the end of the story. Perhaps she fears that the princess will speak the truth as she is escorted to the executioner and ruin everything. Perhaps the maid knows that she does not truly have what is needed to become an effective queen, but will not admit it, even to herself. Or maybe, she enjoys having the power to make the princess suffer a slow and agonizing defeat. My money’s on the last one, because of the despicable thing she does next.

 Not long after the true princess has been assigned to help Conrad tend the geese, the false one cozies up to her future husband, and demands the death of Falada, afraid that he will reveal the truth of what she has done. This request must shock the young king, who is thrilled at the end of the story when he realizes that he does not need to marry this cruel woman. How can someone be so cold as to condemn a horse to death for annoying her? He gives in to her, however, and the death sentence is set. 

 The princess hears of it and quickly arranges for the knacker to preserve Falada’s head, and hang it over the dark gateway where she must pass every day with the geese, “so that she might see him again, more than once.” Poor Falada symbolizes not only the princess’ character and former life, but her innocence. His death signifies a turning point in the princess’ inner self. No longer can she trust that anyone will look out for her and have her best interest at heart. She begins to understand that she must protect and preserve her future with her words and actions. I truly wish she would have been brave enough to free Falada and charge into the throne room with him, confessing the truth to the old king and reclaiming her place. But unfortunately for the girl and her horse, she isn’t ready for that yet. She still needs to learn that she is qualified for and capable of her life’s purpose. 

 Sometimes, we don’t realize how truly far gone we are until someone or something near and dear to us is destroyed because we were not strong or brave enough to take back control of our circumstances.  When this breaking point occurs in our lives, God often puts us through what I call Wilderness Bootcamp. We know from Exodus and the Gospels and many other biblical accounts that the wilderness is a place of trial, training, pruning, purging, and replacing old, destructive habits with new, Godly ones. Take Moses for example. He knew from an early age that he was called by God to be a deliverer for his people. As a prince of Egypt, he was educated in Pharaoh’s house. He was a leader, a conqueror, and, contrary to his protestations, an eloquent speaker. Don’t believe me? Read Stephen’s speech in Acts 7. He was equipped with the raw materials to carry out God’s purpose for his life. But he made his first move before he was actually ready to begin his mission. He still feared the authority of Pharaoh and the disbelief of his people. When Pharaoh threatened to kill him, God allowed Moses to be driven into the wilderness to strip Egypt out of him and make him ready to fulfill his destiny. 

 If Moses had tried to free Israel before undergoing Wilderness Bootcamp, it would have been another proud campaign of a defiant young man, performed for his own glory rather than the Lord’s. His own heart had not yet been freed from the oppression of Egypt and the pressure of selfish ambition. As a boy, he was raised in the luxurious palace, heeding the voice of Pharaoh. As a man, he survived in the unforgiving desert, listening to the still, small voice of the Lord. Moses had to spend time in the harsh climate in order to help his people survive the journey through it. Before he could become the leader of Israel, he had to become king of the sheep.

 Our princess fares much the same way. She becomes queen of the geese, driving them back and forth from the pasture. At the beginning and end of every thankless workday, she speaks to the head of Falada, who reminds her, even in death, who she is and that she does not belong in the pasture or in the servant’s quarters. We are not meant to die in the wilderness, though many have. We are meant to see it as a transition time, honing us for the next level in our lives. The minute you decide you like it there and stop moving forward, you’re lost. Is the princess capable of doing more than shepherding the geese every day? Yes. But she needs to learn that for herself. Sometimes, it takes being in circumstances that challenge your pride, but not your skillset, in order for you to see what you are really good at. What comes naturally. What you were made to do. 

 In the scaled-back setting of the meadow, the princess discovers that she can control the boundaries of those assigned under her protection. And she can do it alone. In fact, an air of authority unmistakably rings in her voice when she commands the air itself. I’ve always loved these moments in the meadow when she instinctively orders the wind to defend her by carrying off Conrad’s hat, so that she can comb the crowning glory of her hair in peace. Some part of her still recognizes that she was born to rule. That she is worthy of respect, and should not be molested or pulled to pieces by the selfish agendas of those around her. 

 We compared Cinderella’s influence over the birds to spiritual warfare in “Beauty for Ashes.” As Cinderella’s confidence grows, she takes more authority over her circumstances by calling on her divinely appointed helpers to aid her in her need. In “The Goose Girl,” increased confidence and prowess in spiritual warfare are symbolized by the princess’ command over the wind. As daughters of God, we know His Holy Spirit, who is often compared to or appears as wind. We remember that He is our comforter and teacher, giving us the right words to say when we are called on to defend ourselves (Luke 12:11-12). He is also our helper and advocate, reminding us of the truth spoken over us by Jesus (John 14:26). Ephesians 1:13 says that when we believed in Jesus, “[we] were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.” In other words, our heavenly adoption papers are sealed with the Holy Spirit as the signature. His presence and power in our lives is proof of our royal heritage as children of the Most High God and joint heirs with the King of Kings (Romans 8:14-16). Like us, the princess cannot deny her power to command by hiding it. It comes out of her mouth like a reflex, because that is what she is born to do as queen.

 Another undeniable symbol of the princess’ royalty is her lustrous hair. It is radiant and healthy, meaning that she eats correctly, which only the wealthy would be able to do easily. In her mother’s palace, she would have had someone to help her brush and arrange it. Out in the pasture, she learns to do it herself. Taking care of yourself and your gifts is a sign of maturity and integrity. Teaching yourself to do a task on your own shows determination, resourcefulness, and strength of character. Our heroine is quickly growing up. Each day, she draws closer to her destiny.

 You may wonder why she is doing her hair at work. Remember that because of her station, she has had no need to cut her hair, so it is probably very long. Having ample time to wash, dry, and comb it with a maid to assist her would have made basic grooming much more efficient. Now, she is up early and home late to make sure that the geese have ample time to run around and graze in the pasture before being penned up for the night. That doesn’t leave much time for personal maintenance. And there are no blow dryers yet. The next best thing would be the warm sunshine and a strong breeze. Beyond that, the release of her hair into the wind is her personal acknowledgement of her worth and value. It is this story’s equivalent of ballgowns and trips to the prince’s festival. For a brief time in her day, the princess releases herself from the constraints of her lowly position as a goose girl, and remembers that she is a king’s daughter, free to learn, love, and feel the wind in her hair. Inside, she acknowledges that she is not meant to work out here in the pasture forever.

 Her partner thinks so, too. Sick of being denied a fistful of the princess’ beautiful golden hair and being forced to chase his hat to and fro, Conrad reports her to HR—the old king, our God figure in the story. From the first day of the strange girl’s arrival, the king has known that there is something peculiar and special about her. He conceals himself behind the dark gateway and hears her conversation with Falada, which confirms her identity as a displaced princess. He hides out in a nearby thicket and witnesses her sovereignty over the wind. Finally, he gently confronts her in her temporary home and asks her why she does all these things. After urging her to tell him despite the oath she has sworn, the king relents and advises her to “tell [her] sorrows to the iron stove,” before seemingly departing. I suspect that he knows the truth of her story by now, and that she needs to confess it more for her own sake than his. Perhaps the king thinks so, too. 

 The iron stove is like a womb, a tomb. It is the secret place where we pray to God and pour out our hearts to Him and hope for transformation. The princess at last allows herself to declare out loud the injustice that has been done to her. She speaks the truth over herself that she is a king’s daughter; she is loved; she is meant to wed a young king and reign with him, but she has conspired with the enemy to allow herself to be ousted from the destiny that is rightfully hers. What would break her mother’s heart breaks her own. And she will not stand for it any more. Neither will the old king, and neither will our Heavenly Father. We have not because we ask not (James 4:2). The goose girl cannot be restored to her rightful place until she rejects the words and schemes of the hateful enemy and declares that she is worthy of the plans made for her by her loving parent.

 Matthew 6:6 promises that when we pray in secret to the Lord, our Heavenly Father sees what we do and rewards us. Like God, the old king listens to the confession of the goose girl, and immediately begins to set justice in motion. We don’t always see the steps of this as quickly in our own lives, but I can guarantee you that He is moved by the sincere prayers of His children. Like the father of the prodigal son, the old king bids the princess to come out of her filthy hiding place, dresses her in fine apparel, restores her to her rightful position, and throws a huge feast to celebrate her return. Once again, a table is prepared for the protagonist in the presence of her enemy. Her inner transformation enhances her already dazzling beauty so much so that the wicked waiting maid does not even recognize her former victim seated across the table from her. 

 This next sequence always sends chills down my spine. It’s ripped right out of the pages of the book of Esther. Remember when Xerxes asks Haman what should be done for the man whom the king delights to honor, and Haman thinks it’s him, so he lists out all these wonderful things the king should do, and then Haman is commanded to do them for Mordecai, the man he intends to murder? The waiting maid is our Haman as the king asks her what should be done to a servant who treats her master with contempt. He spells the whole story out for her, and she still doesn’t catch on that he knows the truth. She thinks she’s safe. Perhaps she can use this later to get rid of the goose princess like she convinced the young king to kill Falada. The way this plays out in the movie in my mind, a habit or look of the princess’ at dinner triggers the maid’s memory, revealing her identity to her. The maid then sees this as an opportunity to legally destroy the princess once and for all, sweeping her tracks clean. An evil gleam sparkles in her eyes as she bores them into those of true bride, pronouncing her proposed sentence with lascivious relish. 

 To her surprise and terror, the wicked is caught in the snare she set for the righteous, and the awful punishment the maid describes is inflicted on her instead. It is fitting that she is dragged by two horses, one for Falada, and one for the princess, the two whose lives she set out to ruin. After this, the true bride marries the young king, and they rule together “in peace and happiness.”

 Even if we don’t see justice done for us before coming into the Kingdom of Heaven, we will see it in the final battle between the King of Kings and the serpent of old, as our Lord casts the devil into the lake of fire to be eternally tormented (Revelation 20:10). After this, the bride of the Lamb is joined with Him forever as Jesus makes all things new, and God comes to dwell with us again (Revelation 21). Until then, we watch and pray for our own happy ending with Him, holding on to the truth He speak over our lives, and bravely living out the unique purposes we are given for His glory. Thanks for stopping by. I’m Autumn Woods, and I can’t wait to see you on the path next time you get Lost in the Woods.   

The Goose Girl
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