Monday, November 23, 2009

Mother Goose

Yesterday I went out to buy vegetables and almost got caught up in the nightmare of Mother Goose Parade traffic. So, who was Mother Goose?

Americans claim that Elizabeth Foster Goose, wife to 17th century Bostonian Issac Goose, is the feathered matron. After her husband dies, so the story goes, she moved in with family including publisher Thomas Fleet who allegedly published "Mother Goose's Melodies For Children" in 1719. The problem is a Frenchman published "The Tales of Mother Goose" 20 years previously and there is a reference to Mother Goose 50 years before that.

The French claim that Bertha (or Bertrada), briefly wife of King Robert II (972-1031) or the only wife of Pepin the Short (714-768) and mother of Charlemagne, was Berthe pied d'oie and Mère l'Oye - translation, Goose-footed Bertha and Mother Goose - was the original Mother Goose. The only problem is that the second title, Mère l'Oye, was attached in the 19th century.

My theory is the real Mother Goose is a bloke named Charles Perrault. Perrault was the author of a plethora of folk tales such as Sleeping Beauty and Puss-in-Boots. In 1696 he published a book titled Tales of Mother Goose. From one point of view, this makes the true Mother Goose a guy.

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