Everyone knows the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears...but does anyone know who Goldilocks truly is?
I mean, we know Goldilocks is this girl who, for some reason, was taking a walk all by herself in a strange forest. We know she rudely invaded the Three Bears’ privacy by eating their porridge, sitting in their chairs and sleeping in their beds. Yet, did we ever stop and ask ourselves why? This is the true story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
No more simplifications.
No more secrets.
Goldilocks woke up in her small, cramped room to the sounds of screaming and broken glass.
A lovely start to a brand new day, Goldilocks thought to herself as her bare feet touched the cold, hard floor. She walked two feet in front of her (as that was about the extent of her room’s width) and looked at herself in the mirror.
Goldilocks was small for her age - only 4’ 5”- yet she had the amount of spunk, enthusiasm and exuberance that a “normal-sized” 10-year-old would be expected to have. Her long, wavy hair was light ash blonde in the cheap artificial lighting of her room, but in the sunlight it shone like golden glitter (which she only knew because she had once snuck out a broken shard of glass to see herself in the light of the sun). The freckles that dotted the tops of her rosy cheeks and the tips of her button-shaped nose made her look like an adorable, innocent young girl yet she actually possessed a lot of bravado and sass. Her eyes were pale blue - almost gray - and her skin was exceptionally fair.
She sighed as another loud crash could be heard from the room downstairs in her small cottage. She looked to her right at the minuscule broom closet to figure out what she was going to wear and decided on a long-sleeved maroon shirt with thin white pants and brown leather sandals. She brushed her long, knotted hair as much as she could, put on her special beaded leather necklace and made her way downstairs to see what chaos awaited her today.
Goldilocks took each of her steps with caution as she stepped over the knocked-over furniture, broken glass vases and disheveled blankets and rugs. Some would recoil in shock or disgust and cringe at the state of the small living room.
But for Goldilocks, this was normal.
She crept around the corner of the room to take a peek at the state of the kitchen and saw her mother furiously preparing breakfast. Her mother kept dropping pots and pans, utensils and at one point an egg, resulting in multiple fits of cursing on her part. Goldilocks watched with rapt attention before deciding she had a good enough idea of the mood her mother was in right now.
Angry. Very angry.
Goldilocks took a deep breath, adjusted her protective necklace and stepped tentatively into the small kitchen, her leather sandals making a hard sound as they came into contact with the cold tiles.
She sat down at the low wooden table that stood in the center of the room, “Morning, Mother”, she said softly resulting in a grunt from her mother.
Goldilocks took advantage of the next few moments of silence by looking around the room to assess the damage. There were stacks of dirty dishes that filled the small sink. The icebox was wide open and Goldilocks noticed several ice cubes had fell out of the icebox, resulting in a puddle of water in the middle of the room. Goldilocks could see multiple mysterious stains all over the stove top where her mother worked furiously as well as all over the cheap plastic tablecloth that covered the table she sat at.
“Eat”, Goldilocks’s mother demanded as she dropped a plate of half-cooked eggs on the table in front of Goldilocks. Golidlocks’s heart skipped a beat as she examined the runny puddle of egg yolk oozing from the half-baked breakfast and tentatively picked at the sorry excuse for a breakfast with her dirty fork.
Goldilocks heard heavy footsteps making their way towards the small kitchen and it appeared her mother heard them too as she started to grumble incoherently and her fingers began to tremble even more resulting in more broken pots and pans falling to the floor.
Goldilocks’s father walked into the room, although Goldilocks thought of it more as stumbling rather than walking as her father’s feet seemed to be stumbling over the other as he walked almost reluctantly into the kitchen. His hair was a tangled mess, a beard was starting to make an appearance on his unclean face and his clothes were wrinkled and dirty, his button-down shirt ripped open, revealing his hairy chest. His eyes were bloodshot and there was a potent scent of alcohol in the air as he staggered into his chair.
He stared at his plate of uncooked egg for about two seconds before almost jumping out of his chair, startling Goldilocks so much that she dropped her dirty fork into her gooey egg.
“WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME _WOMAN_!?”, he bellowed, Goldilocks’s mother flinching at his shouts, but standing her ground and making the most repulsive face Goldilocks had ever seen her mother make (and that was saying something), “I WORK MY BUTT OFF DAY AND NIGHT AND YOU TREAT ME LIKE TRASH, FEEDING ME THIS FREAKING GARBAGE”, he grabbed the pathetic plate of uncooked eggs and swiftly flung it at the wall, the yellow mess of egg yolks splattering the white wall, and the dirty plate shattering to the ground. His words grew louder and filthier, as brash as his attitude and as unclean as his physical appearance.
Goldilocks tried as best as she could to sit there and pretend as if nothing out of the ordinary - Goldilocks’s ordinary anyway - was happening, yet her parent’s shouts continued to grow louder and could probably be heard from halfway across the enormous forest where their tiny cottage stood. The forest that Goldilocks was prohibited from going into.
Not that I’m even allowed to step foot outside, Goldilocks thought bitterly to herself, her nails digging into her palm.
Her mother was shouting now, so loud that Goldilocks was half-expecting her mother to lose her voice right there, yet her voice never wavered as she yelled angrily and accusingly at her husband, “’WORK MY BUTT OFF?’ WHEN HAVE YOU EVER? YOU SIT THERE WITH YOUR BEER AND YOUR RADIO PUTTING YOUR EAR UP TO IT FOR HOURS ON END WHILE I TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING-“, she was cut off by Goldilocks’s father who was obviously not retaining anything his wife was saying and was instead lost in his own fantasy where he was a perfect being and she was an ugly stain tainting his beautiful world.
“FILTHY LIAR! I SLAVE DAY AND NIGHT FOR YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO? FEED ME SLOP AND ACCUSE ME OF LIES! AND-“, he was cut off again by his wife, and it went back and forth like this for several minutes, neither person listening to what the other person had to say. They might as well have been talking to brick walls, although a wall would’ve at least stayed quiet.
They talk as if I don’t even exist, Goldilocks thought to herself solemnly as she realized that it was true. Whenever she heard her parents yelling at each other she couldn’t help but notice that they talked as if they never had a child, as if they lived alone in the middle of the forest and that only their wants and needs were important, not Goldilocks’s.
All of a sudden, the loneliness and bitterness that Goldilocks felt towards her parents for casting her aside like she was nothing and speaking to her only to judge her appearance and behavior welled up inside her like a heavy lead ball swinging on a weak chain in the pit of her stomach.
The ball swung...
The uncooked egg yolk continued to spread over her dirty plate.
The ball swung...
Her parents’ shouts grew louder: “MISERABLE PIECE OF-“ “SON OF A-“
The chain snapped!
“DON’T YOU HAVE A CHILD!? DON’T _I_ MATTER!? PAY ATTENTION TO ME FOR ONCE IN YOUR DAMN LIVES YOU LOUSY ANIMALS!”, Goldilocks got up abruptly from her chair and yelled at the top of her lungs, silencing her parents for the first time in her life. Never had she ever talked back to them and stood up for herself like that.
Yet here she was.
Her father’s bloodshot eyes bore down onto her like a viper waiting for its next meal. Her mother looked at her like she didn’t even recognize her and that Goldilocks had just appeared in the room out of thin air.
The silence was suddenly deafening.
Out of nowhere, Goldilocks felt a sharp pain in the back of her head as she realized her father had hit her. Suddenly her father was all over her, slapping and hitting her chest, arms and, at one point, slapping her hard across the face, all the while Goldilocks screamed and struggled. Goldilocks could see out of the corner of her eye of her mother’s figure just standing there doing nothing as she was beat, but most of Goldilocks’s view was taken up by the frightening image of her father’s venomous eyes as he viciously beat her.
Eventually the sharp stabs of pain stopped, but not before Goldilocks’s father tugged at the protective necklace that hung lamely around Goldilocks’s neck until it finally came undone and the beads fell to the floor. Goldilocks’s father swiftly turned on her mother, continuing his shouts of accusations and shoving her, leaving Goldilocks on the floor in pain and shock, staring at the remains of the necklace that she had for as long as she could remember.
Goldilocks didn’t know if it was a minute or 10 minutes or an hour that passed, but she eventually gingerly lifted herself up, picked up as many beads of the broken necklace that she could with her trembling hands - making sure to pick up the broken piece of leather cord as well - and stumbled out of the kitchen and into the ransacked living room where she threw herself onto the flipped-over sofa chair and sobbed, cradling her broken necklace in her weak arms.
Her parents’ shouts never ended.
After what seemed like hours of crying - but what really was only 5 minutes - Goldilocks was again filled with this alien feeling of overwhelming anger and despair. Her parents didn’t care for her, she told herself, they despised her, and she would be better off without them.
She knew then what she had to do.
She ran out the door onto the small, wooden porch that wrapped around the cottage, the one she hadn’t stepped foot on since she was a small child, the one she had been too scared to escape to until then.
It was a sunny day, Goldilocks could see. She had only ever seen the sun and walked in the sun’s rays only once or twice before, as there were no windows to be found in her home and she was prohibited from going outside.
But that changed now.
Goldilocks ran down the three steps of the porch onto the soft green grass and looked around her at the tall trees that loomed over the tiny cottage in the middle of the woods. She felt like crying again.
But she didn’t. Grasping the broken parts of her necklace tightly, she ran as fast and as far as her little legs could take her, deep into the forest, her parents being left inside the cottage too preoccupied with screaming at each other that they never saw their daughter leave.
And they’d never see her again.
Now we come to the part of the story that everyone knows.
The story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Goldilocks ran as fast as she could into the dense forest, only stopping when she spotted a stream, the golden sun rays reflecting beautifully off of the crystal clear water.
Goldilocks promptly collapsed next to the edge of the stream, cupped her hands against the cool, flowing water and drank a few handfuls, satisfying her parched throat.
She looked around her and, for the first time since sitting down, noticed the small cottage that lay to her far right, a little bit away from the edge of the flowing stream. In her panicked state of mind, Goldilocks thought she had somehow ran back to her own cottage before she realized that not only was that impossible, as she knew she had ran in a straight line, but that this cottage was a little bit bigger than the one she had lived in - or rather, been trapped in - all those years.
Goldilocks felt exhausted, yet she forced herself to get up and walk towards the strange cottage. She raised her hand to knock on the door before she realized that the relatively large wooden door was already opened.
I will spare you the details of this all-too-familiar tale as the young girl tasted and ate the Bears’ porridge, sat and broke the Bears’ chairs, and slept in the Bears’ beds.
Soon after Goldilocks fell asleep, the Bears came home and found the young girl sleeping almost peacefully in the soft, warm bed of Baby Bear. They growled in surprise at the human, and Goldilocks’s eyes fluttered open to the sight of two large and one not-so-large grizzly bears. She shrieked in fright, grabbed the remains of her necklace and ran out of the cottage.
Of course, this is where the familiar tale ends, however there is a little more to the story than that.
You see, after Goldilocks fled the Bears’ cottage, Mama and Papa Bear were puzzled by the human who had broken into their home.
“What a strange occurrence!”, Papa Bear exclaimed after Goldilocks ran out the front door of the cottage.
“Indeed”, Mama Bear agreed, “Son, go after that human girl. She looked awfully frightened. Go see what she wanted”.
Baby Bear nodded and headed out the front door of the cottage, looking around for the strange human girl.
It didn’t take him long to find her just a few yards up the stream. She seemed to be weeping, holding a strange piece of yarn and some wooden beads.
“Hello”, he greeted her as friendly as he could.
She turned around in fear and screamed, “Get away from me!”, she shouted, holding a thin branch as a weapon.
“I won’t hurt you”, he assured her, holding up his paws in surrender, “I was just wondering why you broke into my home.”
“I-I was tired and I was going to knock but your front door was open and-“, she cut herself off as she started to weep again and Baby bear felt a pang of sympathy for the strange human girl.
“Are you okay? What’s that you got in your hands?”, he asked as quietly as he could.
This last question seemed to stop her from crying as she gingerly held out the pieces of leather cord and wooden beads, “It-It used to be a protective necklace...my only possession I had before..”, she cut herself off and sniffled, seeming to remember bad times.
Baby Bear didn’t press for answers, he simply stated, “My Papa can fix that for you, if you like, he’s great with tools”.
“Would he?”, she asked as nonchalantly as possible, yet her eyes almost begged for the answer to be “yes”.
“Sure! Come back with me to our cottage and my Mama will fix you up some tea!”
Goldilocks thought for a moment before nodding enthusiastically and following Baby Bear back to the cottage.
After a few apologies and proper greetings, Goldilocks sat on Mama Bear’s chair - the one she hadn’t broken - wrapped in a silk blanket, with a warm cup of tea while Papa Bear mended Goldilocks’s necklace.
“If you don’t mind me asking, Goldilocks”, Mama Bear said gently, “What’s a sweet little girl like you doing in the middle of the woods?”
Goldilocks seemed uncomfortable, but she knew she owed a proper explanation to the nice Bear family that had forgiven her so easily, and so she told them of the terrible events of her childhood, how she was never allowed to leave her cottage and how that day there had been a terrible fight and she had fled her home for a better place.
A better life.
Mama Bear looked appalled at the awful story, and Baby Bear glanced at Goldilocks sympathetically.
After a few moments of silence, Mama Bear said quietly, “You were quite brave Goldilocks. I hope you realize that”.
Goldilocks looked down at her bruised arms and chest and nodded.
“Goldilocks, if you have nowhere else to go, you could stay with us for a while if you like”, Mama Bear said gently. Papa Bear grunted in agreement as he was still concentrating on fixing Goldilocks’s necklace. Baby Bear seemed the most thrilled about the idea.
“Yeah! You could! I could show you all the wooden toys Papa carved for me and we could play!”, he exclaimed, his face delighted by the thought of having someone else his age to play with.
“I couldn’t burden you all like that...”, Goldilocks said, yet she knew she indeed had nowhere else to go, and this family was so nice to her...
“Nonsense!”, Papa Bear exclaimed, finally speaking up since Goldilocks arrived, “I insist you stay! You’ve been through so much, human girl, we couldn’t bear to set you free in the woods! Not all the animals in this forest are as nice as we are, you see, and they might not be as nice to strange little girls that walk into other animals’ homes”.
“Well as long as you all don’t mind”, Goldilocks said, warming up to the idea, “Then I’d be delighted to stay with you!”, she exclaimed with a smile.
“Perfect!”, Papa Bear announced, raising his hairy arms in joy, “I fixed your necklace for you, dear”, he handed her the newly-mended necklace and Goldilocks stared at it in awe before attaching it around her neck and giving Papa Bear a grateful bear-hug.
Soon Mama Bear and Baby Bear joined in the hug and Goldilocks giggled, not only because the fur of the three bears tickled her nose but because she realized that she finally had a loving family after so long.
Months later, Goldilocks could be seen running around the forest with Baby Bear, playing with him, swimming with him in the stream and eating with the family outside in the evenings, when the air was chilly and you could look up in a clearing in the trees and see the stars as they twinkled in the black night.
Goldilocks loved to go fishing with the family, Mama Bear enjoyed making tiny clothing - or tiny compared to what she was used to anyway - for Goldilocks, Papa Bear loved to make wooden toys for both his son and Goldilocks and Baby Bear loved the fact that he had an actual friend to play and laugh with.
Goldilocks’s parents were never to be heard from again and for the first time in Goldilocks’s life, she was finally happy.
That’s the true ending of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Everyone lived happily ever after...