Folk Tale

Folk Tale

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polkadot308 (3:06:10 PM): when my sister used to be constipated, I would tell her stories that were kind of my own, less coherent, versions of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”

polkadot308 (3:06:30 PM): they always went “three men, sitting in three chairs, drinking three cups of coffee, watching three tvs…etc.”

My friend told me this story about what she used to do with her sister when they were both younger and her sister was apparently constipated.  Dolyn is two years younger than her sister, but has a very nurturing nature and when she was really little wanted to try really hard to make her sister feel better.  She also loved storytelling, so she used this to try to ease and distract her sister when she was clearly having a difficult time.

Dolyn told me that she used to do this when she was about three years old, hence the use of the number three repeatedly throughout the story.  Three happens to be a very significant number in traditional folklore, and many stories involve the number three in its series of events.  Here, Dolyn uses the number three to list all of the people, items, and actions in the story as it progresses.  Though it is clear that the story seems to be more of a never-ending descriptive sentence rather than focused around a plot, like in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” the itemization using the number three still indicates a progression and imitation of the well-known fairy tale.

Dolyn also told me that her story would change every time she told a new one, which is very representative of folklore stories.  Though they all involved the number three, and generally started off talking about “three men,” each story would continue to very and become more and more different as it went on in order to produce a different tale every time.  This worked in two senses: Dolyn didn’t have to memorize exact details, and she also wouldn’t bore her sister by telling the same story every time.

It is also clear that Dolyn’s stories are influenced by traditional fairy tales. “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is a very well-known story by many, and has been reproduced in many versions.  Dolyn’s stories, though “less coherent” as she says, and without as stable of a plot, were clearly influenced by the common fairy tale.  Instead of telling a tale of a small girl and three bears, however, she told tales of three men in a seemingly more modern world than are described in the more original “Goldilocks” versions.

Dolyn’s interpretations of these stories also continue as a type of family tradition between her sister and herself.  Though she no longer tells stories like this to her sister, as they have grown significantly older, it represents her nurturing nature and desire to ease and distract her sister.  It also shows a desire to be accepted and praised by her sister, which is common among younger sisters who yearn for sibling approval.

Annotation: Marshall, James. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Dial Publishing, US. 1988