Home » Victorian Authors List » Robert Southey Biography » Goldilocks and the three bears

Goldilocks and the three bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a 19th-century fairy tale written by Robert Southey. It consists of three versions.

The original version portrays a bad-mannered woman. She enters the home of three bears. She eats their porridge and sleeps there in the forest home. The bears find her out and she gets shocked and disappears.
The second version is about a little girl instead of a woman. The girl is called Goldilocks.

The third version is considered the best version among the others. It has Papa bear, Mama bear and their Baby bear instead of the original three Bears.

The evolution of the three bears from Southey’s male trio into a family unit is not a mere false start.

Several versions of the fairy tale have been tried and published in the 19th century to transform the three bears into a family trio.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Summary

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a tale about three bears who are small, medium and large in size. They are well behaved, kind, trustworthy and they live together in the forest.

They have their own things for a living.
One fine day the three bachelor bears go for a walk and when they come back they see an old woman sleeping in their bed.

She is rude, bad-mannered and ugly. As soon as she sees the bears she leaps out of the window and disappears.

Goldilocks and the three bears
Goldilocks and the three bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Story

Robert Southey’s fairy-tale is about a girl, Goldilocks who is a golden-haired juvenile. This is the third version and very different from the original version. It was published in 1837.

The young girl, Goldilocks didn’t come up at the very beginning versions of the story. She comes in later versions.

She is replaced with the old woman of the original story. The bears were also a bachelor in the original version but in the third version, they are presented as a family.

The girl does not become Goldilocks right after the primary story was published. She has been replaced with the old woman of the first version but her characterization almost remained the same.

Although her name, hair colour and some virtues change along with the production of the tale.
In one version she has silver hair in the other version she has golden hair and in the third version, she has little golden hair since she is portrayed as a young girl.

Amazingly, she does not become Goldilocks, until 1904 when English writer Flora Annie Steel took the name from older fairy tales and applied it to the youthful intruder in the Three Bears tale and recreated the name and tilted it as “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”.

There are three Bears in this tale and they are Papa bear, Mama bear and Baby bear. They live together in a house. They have their separate porridge bowl, chair and bed.

One fine day they make porridge for breakfast and goes out for a walk.
Goldilocks is a young blonde girl. She walks out and approaches to a forest house.

She knocks at the door but receives no response. She is imprudent and ill-mannered so she decides to enter the house and does so instead of walking off.

She sees a bowl of porridge on the table which is made by the bears for their breakfast. She tries to eat up the porridges but since it was too hot she moves on to next bowls.

She finds out the bowl of porridge with the right temperature which she could put up with and she finishes the whole porridge.

After eating the porridge she starts walking. She walks into the rooms and sees chairs. She tries to sit in and although she was small still she breaks it by sitting in.

Goldilocks roams around inside the house and enters the bedroom and sees three beds. The third bed is just perfect for her and she quickly falls asleep.

When the bears come back from their walk they see the destruction caused by the girl. They find out Goldilocks, sleeping in their bedroom.

When Goldilocks wakes up, she jumps out of the window and the bears never see her again.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Analysis

The story would have been a masterpiece if it is published as children’s literature since it has the feature of having unrealistic talking animals.

But the story lacks formations of the plot. It would have considered as a great fairy tale if it would be just a mere tale for the children only.

Fairy tales are not known for realism. It doesn’t have the necessary moral lessons. Here we see many unrealistic features such as talking animals and three porridge bowl with three different temperature, three different kind of bed and three different sized chairs.

It implicitly tells the story of damaging other’s food, house or other things. The character of the little girl, Goldilocks is somewhat disgusting.

The girl Goldilocks is a dirty, ignorant and rude person. But then in most of the tale, Goldilocks gets frightened very easily.

She goes through no real danger and gets shocked anyway. Every time, the Baby Bear whose porridge is eaten, whose chair is broken, and whose bedsheets, aligns the child Goldilocks with the child of the ursine family unit since they both are little.

Nevertheless, The story of Goldilocks might be seen as a classic adventurous tale about the dangers and fun of going out and exploring unknown places. She has been allowed to wander off on her own. But Goldilocks is not a particularly pleasant child.

When she finds a place that seems very obvious that it might be someone’s house, instead of walking off, she decides to walk in.

She’s lucky she doesn’t get punished for her activities when the bears get home. Indeed, in some early versions, she only escapes narrowly being destroying they’re a bowl of porridge.

Such stories are pun and entertaining. It introduces children to the basic patterns inherent within all stories and gives a basic sense of knowledge.

The sense of danger, the restoring of the equilibrium at the end of the tale and the need for heroes and villains to make a compelling narrative can be seen within the stories.

It is strange that the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears has its protagonist as the true villain and not the frightening bears. A scary fairy tale became a typical family story with a slight touch of peril. The story has evoked many interpretations.

It has been adapted to film and other media. Thus “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is one of the most popular British fairy tales in the 19th century English literature.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Questions and Answers

What is the moral of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears?

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Robert Southey is one of many modern interpretations of one of the most popular fairy tales in the English language. The moral reasoning of the story is strung between self-concern and transgressive social rule-breaking.

What are the names of the three bears in Goldilocks?
The three bachelor bears are called Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear.

How many versions of Goldilocks and the three bears are there?

There are 23 versions of Goldilocks and the three bears stories.

What is the Goldilocks syndrome?

The Goldilocks Syndrome refers to training content that is too hot or too cold. Well, when content comes in a little too hot, it means that it’s taking too deep a dive for learners to really grasp.

What does Goldilocks mean?
Goldilocks means not being extreme or not varying drastically between extremes, especially between hot and cold: a Goldilocks economy that is neither overheated nor too cold to cause a recession; a Goldilocks planet such as Earth.

Found info useful?