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Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?

CapriUni 23 Jun 11 - 06:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jun 11 - 08:30 PM
CapriUni 23 Jun 11 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,evemenn 10 Nov 11 - 05:04 PM
CapriUni 11 Nov 11 - 01:47 AM
peregrina 11 Nov 11 - 04:04 AM
CapriUni 11 Nov 11 - 05:01 PM
Hollowfox 12 Nov 11 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,sh 28 Mar 12 - 12:12 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 06:24 PM

For my blog: Plato's Nightmare / Aesop's Dream (Discovering images of disability in folklore and classics of literature), I'm considering writing an entry on the image of the disabled story-teller as a recurring motif in stories, themselves -- stories about storytelling.

I have seen mention in several places that the "original Mother Goose" was Bertha Broadfoot, or, in Latin: Regina pede aucae (The Queen with the Goose-foot), the Eighth Century Queen of the Franks.

I find this excruciatingly tantalizing, because of my emerging theory about the role of "monsters" as living omens, and how "monsters" were originally those born with deformed or missing limbs (and also as creatures who were "mixes" of different animals in one). The problem is, all the references I can find lead back to the same Wikipedia article, which is both a stub, and lacking in references.

So I was hoping someone here on Mudcat could point me to more fleshed-out legends of the queen, and how she became linked to "Mother Goose."

Whether or not there is any historical basis for the legend, or whether the figure of fairy tale and nursery rhyme could ever be attached to a living woman is unimportant to me. What I'm after is the role she's played in the imaginations of people through the centuries.

Help?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 08:30 PM

"La mere Oie" may date back to the 1600s, but can't be traced farther back.
See this brief article, and the references at the end. It will give you a beginning.
The History of Nursery Rhymes & Mother Goose, Vikki Harris, Univ. Waterloo.

http://www.english.uwaterloo.ca/cources/engl208c/esharris.htm


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 09:55 PM

Thanks, Q --

While I disagree with Vikki Harris's opening statement that nursery rhymes are remnants of ancient belief (Matter of fact, I doubt any are much older that 500 years, which hardly goes back to Pagan times), the paragraphs at the end about both "queen Berthas" being linked to geese (One, with a goose's foot, and the other giving birth to a boy with a goose's head -- microcephaly, perhaps?) is the kind of thing I'm looking for.

I guess I will have to look up Andrew Lang's book, and hope he gives a fuller account of these mythical storytellers.

The problem is, most modern critiques (and by modern, I mean written after 1850) on the origin of legendary figures (Aesop and Homer, along with M. Goose) seem content to either verify or discount the legend at hand, without considering the value of the legend itself, independent of any factual truth. I blame the Victorian obsession with Reason and Prudence.

The reason this intrigues me is the origin of the word "Monster," which comes from the Latin Monstrum -- "sign" or "portent" and it originally meant a person or creature born with a deformity, which was interpreted as a sign of impending punishment from the Gods.

...So the figure of the storyteller as a "monster" gives a new meaning (for me) to both monsters and storytellers.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: GUEST,evemenn
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 05:04 PM

"Mother Goose" is my second cousin's 41st or 42nd grandmother. He told me that she was born with a "goose" foot and walked funny. She was a tiny person "midget" and had a webed foot or walked with a "goose"foot. All of the members of the royal family made fun of the way she walked "sort of like a goose". They didn't include her in the "royal" circle and laughed at the way she walked and called her the goosey person. Because of this she would go outside and play with the children as they accepted her for herself. She began to make up stories to keep the children entertained and played with them as they didn't laugh at her or make fun of her. My cousin said that he feels she was a great person as her book has been read for many centuries by more people that any other author. Most likely she was born with what we now call a club foot and in that time period she was not able to get medical help. I was very impressed with his research. Fact or Fiction....I am a true believer in this imput on "Mother Goose" PS the reason she became the queen was that her sister was the oldest daughter and she died early in the marriage and the King had to marry her sister.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 01:47 AM

Evemenn --

Thanks for this story. May I have your cousin's name so I can tell the story with credit?

(I, too, know from experience that hanging out with little kids is often more comfortable than hanging out with grown-ups; they're not as deeply indoctrinated in cultural taboos and the secrets that everyone knows but doesn't dare mention out loud in "polite" society (as if staring and whispering were ever polite).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: peregrina
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 04:04 AM

Doesn't Bertha Bigfoot come from Villon's 'Berthe au grand pied' in the poem 'Ou sont les neiges d'antan' ?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 05:01 PM

I don't know. That's why I'm asking. ;-)

Honestly, though, I am not at all interested in whether or not Bertha Goose/Broadfoot/Mother Goose, or however you call her was an actual historical person, or whether or not she can actually be credited as the author of specific poems or wonder tales.

What I am interested in are the stories, themselves, that we tell about her, and the meaning that we attribute to those stories, and what that says about our relationship to, and expectations of, storytellers in the overall scheme of human society.

I'm also interested in learning about the legends surrounding Aesop, by the way. But, as with M. Goose, most of the things I find about him are concerned solely with whether or not he was a real person, and whether the stories about him are factually true. It's frustrating:

"This story cannot possibly be factually true. So therefore, it must be of no interest to anyone. Let's talk about something else, now!"

Sigh.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: Hollowfox
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 09:46 AM

I'll have to look it up, since I haven't read it since I was in college (mumble) years ago, but I recall a folktale about Bertha Broadfoot (perhaps the title?) that was in the category of a "royal bride forced to switch places with her servant" tale. A note at the end said that she was supposedly the mother of (?) Charlemagne.
As for your real question, I always thought that the storytellers, musicians, etc. being blind or crippled was how they ended up being performers. In times gone by, it was something that they could do (assuming they had the knack for it) in spite of their physical condition. It goes on to this day; Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles might have become musicians if they could see, but there would have been more possibilities open to them as well.
For information on Aesop I'd suggest going to the library (or the library's website, I think this is online by subscription) and looking in Something About the Author. It's a standard reference book series for author biographies. I know they've got quite a bit on Aesop and the various versions of his life and death. I never looked up Mother Goose in SATA, so I don't know if you'll find anything on her, though. Good Luck.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Bertha Broadfoot: M. Goose?
From: GUEST,sh
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 12:12 PM

im a direct descendant of hers


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