This photograph comes from a very special follower, who happens to be my mother.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, to all the wonderful mothers out there!
Once, long long ago, when both humans and animals spoke words, there was a goose who lived in a park.
This goose also happened to be a mother. She was a very good mother, and cared dearly for her little geese babies. The goslings, for the most part, were obedient and followed their mother everywhere she went in a neat and orderly line. They were relatively quiet and well-behaved.
For the most part.
There was of course, one little gosling who had some trouble fitting in with her family.
She followed in the line like her brothers and sisters. She kept close to her mother. But this gosling was not quiet like the others. In fact, she could not keep her bill closed for even a moment.
She was always “honk!”ing, always make noise.
“Be quiet!” her siblings said. “You’re causing a scene!”
“I can’t help it!” the little goose said. And it was true. No matter where she went, she had to be talking. But not just talking. Wherever she went, she had to be telling stories.
In her stories, she wove fantastic nonsense together. She told tales about flying cows and falling eggs and blind mice and hungry spiders and little human boys and girls. She spun everything that she knew into something both comforting and unfamiliar.
Her stories emerged from everywhere. She could watch a woman reading on a park bench, add a pinch of her own imagination, and cook up a bizarre story to share.
“Gather around!” she honked at her brothers and sisters. “Let me tell you about Little Miss Muffet!”
“Geese don’t tell stories,” her siblings informed her.
“Oh, but they do!” the little gosling exclaimed. “And when I grow up, I’m going to be the most famous storyteller there ever was!”
Her siblings laughed at her.
The gosling turned her head and ignored the other baby geese. She walked away proudly. But late that night, when everyone had gone to sleep and she was by herself, she wept.
“There, there,” her mother cooed.
“No one wants to hear me,” the gosling cried.
“I will always want to hear your beautiful voice,” said her mother. “Tell me what you saw today.”
The gosling’s very best listener, in fact the only listener in her family, was her mother. The mother always asked to hear her baby’s stories, for they were wonderful stories indeed.
She cuddled her gosling at night and said, “When you grow up, everyone will ask to hear your stories.”
The baby gosling grew. But so did the mother. The mother no longer grew in size; she grew older in age. And around the time the baby gosling matured into a full adult goose, her mother could barely honk or waddle. Her feathers were thin and grey.
“Promise to tell your children your stories,” the mother whispered to her daughter.”For it is your calling.”
The mother died a short time later, but the goose never forgot those words. Even though she was just a goose, and not a human, she remained a storyteller.
She had goslings of her own, and told them all her stories. And one fateful day, a human overheard the goose’s magnificent tales, and wrote them all down to share with the rest of the world.
After that the goose became a legend, forever known as Mother Goose.
But of course, there were really two mother geese behind the stories.