Goldilocks and the Three Bears  

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"Goldilocks and the Three Bears" (originally titled "The Story of the Three Bears") is a 19th-century British fairy tale of which three versions exist. The original version of the tale tells of a not-so-polite old woman who enters the forest home of three bachelor bears while they are away. She sits in their chairs, eats some of their soup, sits down on one of their chairs and breaks it, and sleeps in one of their beds. When the bears return and discover her, she wakes up, jumps out of the window, and is never seen again. The second version replaced the old woman with a little girl named Goldilocks, and the third and by far best-known version replaced the original bear trio with Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear.

What was originally a frightening oral tale became a cozy family story with only a hint of menace. The story has elicited various interpretations and has been adapted to film, opera, and other media. "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" is one of the most popular fairy tales in the English language.

Plot

In Robert Southey's version of the tale, three anthropomorphic bears – "a little, small, wee bear, a middle-sized bear, and a great, huge bear" – live together in a house in the woods. Southey describes them as very good-natured, trusting, harmless, tidy, and hospitable. Each of these "bachelor" bears has his own porridge bowl, chair, and bed. One day they make porridge for breakfast, but it is too hot to eat, so they decide to take a walk in the woods while their porridge cools. An old woman approaches the bears' house. She has been sent out by her family because she is a disgrace to them. She is impudent, bad, foul-mouthed, ugly, dirty, and a vagrant deserving of a stint in the House of Correction. She looks through a window, peeps through the keyhole, and lifts the latch. Assured that no one is home, she walks in. The old woman eats the Wee Bear's porridge, then settles into his chair and breaks it. Prowling about, she finds the bears' beds and falls asleep in Wee Bear's bed. The end of the tale is reached when the bears return. Wee Bear finds his empty bowl, his broken chair, and the old woman sleeping in his bed and cries, "Somebody has been lying in my bed, and here she is!" The old woman wakes, jumps out the window and is never seen again.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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