The relationships we have with each other our past, places or our loved ones are powerful connections that can be used for good, and unfortunately at times dishonourable things. They can bring us love, happiness and wonderful memories. Or they can bring us the opposite.
The connections we have to family, places or home help keep us strong, powerful and our true selves. When we lose these connections we become vulnerable and susceptible to other people’s trickery. The fairytale of The Goose Girl by The Brothers Grimm explores the connections between a young girl and those around her.
It starts with the connection of a young girl to her mother. The young girl is transitioning to adulthood and sent away to fulfil a marriage promise to a prince. Her mother gives her a piece of cloth that’s holding three drops of her (mother’s) blood. It’s a magical charm given to the girl to remind her of the relationship with her mother, her home and family, and that she’ll always be looked after. It’s also a reminder that. even when separated, her mother will always be with her and looking out for her.
An envious handmaiden accompanies the young girl on her journey. Wishing she could trade places with the young girl, the handmaiden waits until the young girl loses the charm. With this loss, the young girl (now impersonating a handmaiden) does what she’s told and vows to never tell anyone who she really is.
Upon reaching their new home, the king and prince believe the imposter girl and send the handmaiden off to tend to their geese. Lost and alone, a young boy tells the King of the things the handmaiden says and does. The king questions and in the end the imposter handmaiden reveals her story, marries the prince and the real handmaiden dies (by a means of punishment she was tricked into – ouch!).
Where did the story all go wrong for the young girl? The moment her connection to her home and where she’d come from was lost. Losing the magical charm, connecting her so strongly to her mother and home, gave her companion the opportunity to steal her identity, and to bully and intimidate her. In a single moment, she was vulnerable and in that moment she forgot who she was and the inner strength she had.
When we feel we’ve lost parts of ourselves or our connections to loved ones or places, we too become vulnerable. We can be left with a feeling of helplessness that we can’t talk to anyone or share our thoughts. In The Goose Girl, it took talking to a stove for the young girl to share her truth and rectify her situation. Perhaps it was also the new connection to the place she was now living that helped and a paternal connection to the king.
Whilst we my not carry around a piece of cloth with drops of blood everyday, this story gives us a reminder to not allow our connections to be lost. Even if we lose a material possession, the connections in a modern world, remain strong. It’s our connections that help us be our true selves.
Our connections can be with us in spirit to guide us through our life journey. However, it’s important to remember to reach out to family, people, places and reconnect. We must also think about those who might want or need to reconnect with us to help them be their true selves. We might just be their magical charm, without which they’re feeling lost and vulnerable.
Just like links in a chain, we’re stronger when we remain connected. How will you make reconnection a priority this year?
(Note: there is of course much more to this story. For example, we’ve omitted details about her talking horse Falada and the boy Conrad)