February 06, 2007

Allegorical Absurdity: Goldilocks

Once upon a time, a young girl named Goldilocks was prancing through the woods during a brisk fall day. Of course, she wasn't the brightest of little girls. She should have known better than to wander the woods alone, and it certainly wasn't a good idea to embark on this journey with no provisions. Lost, cold, and hungry, Goldilocks wasn't sure if she'd make it through the night. So when she stumbled upon an isolated house in the forest, her first instinct was to knock on the door and hope the owners would invite her in for dinner.

So she knocked and knocked, and yet no one would answer the door. But when she gripped the large wooden doorknob herself, she noticed that the door wasn't locked. So the little girl named Goldilocks took the liberty of inviting herself in.

The house was much bigger than she expected. Inside, she saw a beautifully decorated dinner table stretching far into the main hall, with a warm fire burning in the fireplace. The finest china, expensive silverware, and ornate napkins were neatly laid out in front of each of the dozens of chairs surrounding the table. And at every seat, there was a hearty bowl of porridge prepared for the eventual guests. What a feast the owners had prepared! What great fortune that the tired and hungry Goldilocks stumbled upon this house in the middle of the forest!

Goldilocks was hungry. There was no one home. So, without hesitation, she tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

"This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed.

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

"This porridge is too cold," she said.

So, she tasted the third bowl of porridge.

"Ahhh, this porridge is just right," she said happily. "But perhaps just a bit too salty."

So, she glanced at the fourth bowl of porridge.

"This porridge is too dark!"

Fortunately, there was a fifth bowl. She took one hefty spoonful to her mouth.

"But this porridge is too light!"

And the sixth bowl? "This porridge is just too thick."

And the seventh was too thin.

The eighth? "Oatmeal, barley... I should really watch my carbs."

She tasted from the ninth bowl of porridge, but it tasted a bit old. The tenth bowl seemed undercooked.

And this went on. And on. And on.

* * *

The three bears had returned home. Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and little Baby Bear. Not shortly afterwards. Not the same night. Not the next day. It was nearly a week later that the bears finally returned, after a disaster relief effort in a neighbouring forest kept them busy. They were, after all, very noble bears, always willing to help a soul in need.

And there she was, she of the golden locks, lying faint in the hall. Malnourished. Thin. Her face laying in a small puddle of her own drool. Her golden locks were dirty and wet. Papa bear looked upon her with shock.

"A little girl!", exclaimed Papa Bear.

"Is she alright? Is she breathing?", Mama Bear cried, as she ran to the sick child. She was still breathing, but she had clearly lost consciousness. Mama Bear brought some water, and did her best to wake up the fallen Goldilocks by giving her small sips.

"But what about all the porridge we left out for any visitors?" the baby bear lamented, as he bounced up to his little chair. "Someone's been eating my porridge, but she only ate a bite!"

With this, Goldilocks began to regain consciousness. Just a little, but she managed to squeak out two words. "Too ... salty .. " With that, she collapsed again into the arms of Mama Bear.

Papa Bear looked at Mama Bear, who in turn was affectionately looking upon the poor, hungry child. Papa Bear felt little sympathy, though. "Some people," he growled, "are just too picky."


  1. Mashallah, wonderful entry!

    Hmm... a metaphor, eh? As i only have one thing on the mind these days, i only have one idea about what this metaphor represents.

    Too dark, too light, too thick (haha), too thin, too old...

    The "too salty" adjective threw me a little though.

    Especially, as we add sugar to our porridge, not salt! Yeuck!

    Hmm, perhaps i don't know what you're on about, brother! But i shall ponder upon this puzzle during my incubation period.


  2. he he he * devilish laughter *

  3. BismiAllah

    Assalaamu'alaykum wa rahmatu Allah

    Wonderful story masha'Allah... especially because its application is vast.

    I love the perspective of the Mamma and Pappa bear as noble creatures especially so because they have so much to offer. SubhanAllah. In the world of similitudes, they could easily represent guidance and knowledge (guidance must precede knowledge), or perhaps the pair of patience and gratitude (that which all of life's woes can be summarized to) or maybe even imaan (faith) and tawwakul 'ala Allah (complete dependence on Allah --but which must include making as much of an effort as possible, in the human sense -- this topic goes deep). In order for Ms. Goldilocks to benefit from the parental bears, she'll have to humble herself so that she can at least open herself to their wisdom. If she eventually grasps that wisdom,.. no one can really say.

    The passage of time in this tale is also a lot to think about.

    If I look at the character of Ms. Goldilocks, seemingly she is in a horrible position. She may not be bright, but she isn't doomed to failure or even hardship necessarily. For her, as with anyone, there is hope, but she is a slave to her nafs (lower self). If she didn't obey her nafs so wholeheartedly, she would at least be able to gain that which is essential for life, the porridge, which can, in essence, represent our deen.. insha'Allah. It's our sustenance. Our life source. How often do we belittle it though.. subhanAllah. But by His mercy, we are still alive and there is still hope for us to appreciate that which is right before us, within reach -- simply an arm's length away. But the first step is ours. Sometimes we're all Goldilocks. Sometimes all we are is Goldilocks.

    All the best insha'Allah.

  4. I like my porridge apple-and-cinnamon flavoured.

    (iMuslim and Farzeen's deep analyses have left me cowed and beaten. I cannot possibly hope to compete with that! Especially since the first thing that popped into my head after reading your post was... that I like my porridge apple-and-cinnamon flavoured.)

  5. *looks around*

    err... my deep analysis? Where?

    Methinks the lady doth compliment too much!

    Mashallah, Princess Farzeen's comment was a deep read.

    I feel weird to analyse someone's work in a place where they can read my thoughts. It feels like i'm being examined.

    Metaphors and other forms of abstract art say more about the audience than the artist, as they are open to various interpretations. There is no guarantee that you will come away with the meaning that writer/artist intended. Perhaps that is not always essential; it depends on the message.

    The reason i saw what i did, was because of a conversation i had with Faraz on my blog.

    Farzeen's mind is on a higher, more spiritual plane, and so her analyses was similarly spiritual in nature.

    Mouse... well, she was most likely hungry at the time...

  6. Hehe, hilarious, Faraz. Especially considering that this came right after that conversation we had. Very well done. :)

  7. That was great, could be read on so many levels. Good stuff!

  8. That was brilliantly written :)

    You know when you got to the part where Goldilocks says the porridge is too dark, then too light...that is such a marriage reference. In fact, I think this whole post is about choosing a spouse. Now the question is, who exactly is this Goldilocks you speak of? Dun dun dunnnn.

    (Or wait, are you Goldilocks? Disturbing...)

  9. haha, that was great! I really like metaphors.

  10. Well done, Faraz.

    But you never know, Goldilocks may have made the right decisions. An ill-prepared meal can make you very sick.

  11. Does anyone else find it particularly funny that today's Calvin and Hobbes comic strip shown below has to do with... oatmeal?!

  12. I was considering not replying to comments here, but I suppose I'll give in.

    iMuslim: According to Wikipedia, porridge in Scotland is commonly made with salt.

    Saira: Tsk tsk.

    Farzeen: One of the best comments on this blog ever, I think. SubhanAllah.

    AnonyMouse: Would you believe I actually didn't know what porridge was when I started writing this? It was only after I checked Wikipedia when I realized it's just a different name for oatmeal. And I eat oatmeal pretty often, mainly when I don't have time to cook. I also like apple-and-cinnamon flavour oatmeal; I keep a healthy stock of those instant Quaker Oats packs with me.

    iMuslim: Metaphors and other forms of abstract art say more about the audience than the artist. Precisely. There was a circumstance and context for me in writing this, but it'll vary for whoever reads it, which is perfectly valid. I don't like

    Nauman: The credit for this really goes to you, since it was your argument (and the subsequent re-telling of it by my parents) that made this a story worth telling. Keep fighting the good fight. :)

    'liya: That's kinda why I held off on replying to comments here. I was more interested in reading what others think.

    Asmaa: I'm not Goldilocks in this story. There's no one-to-one mapping of characters in this story to real-life people. Goldilocks is more of an idea than a person ... see Farzeen's comment above. In any case, based on your interpretation, I'm just relieved I didn't face an angry tirade for "objectifying women" as bowls of breakfast cereal. Alhamdolillah :)

    Ahmed: Thanks for visiting!

    Ziggy: Yeah, you're right, I suppose that's one way of thinking about it.

    AnonyMouse: Yes, I noticed that as well! For those who missed it yesterday, here it is.

  13. iMuslim: Just noticed I broke my comment off mid-sentence ...

    Precisely. There was a circumstance and context for me in writing this, but it'll vary for whoever reads it, which is perfectly valid. I don't like restricting abstract writing to one single interpretation. I've read some brilliant essays, largely allegorical, which would tell a million different stories if a million different people read them. I've always admired the ability of some writers in being able to do that.

  14. My Biology teacher at school was Scottish, and i remember him telling the class one day that Scots add salt to their porridge, not sugar.

    We were not impressed!

  15. Assalaamu Alaikum :)

    Awww ... that was great! I love the creativity. Nicely written.

  16. iMuslim: That teacher must have been at least somewhat successful, considering the line of studies you chose to follow, no?

    Squeeky: Wa'alaykum assalam. Thank you!

  17. Yes, indeed he was very successful, mashallah. He was my favourite from day one, and remained so for seven years. He was R/G colour blind, diabetic, and after i left, underwent heart surgery, but somehow he was still very fit, and had such a nice temperament, mashallah. I'm really glad i was assigned him all the way through school; the other Biology teachers were not as good.

    Btw, i've started to use Sage instead of Google Reader. GR takes so long to refresh content; i don't hear of any updates until several hours later. The refresh button doesn't even work! Sage is good, but it is annoying to use with two computers.

    Do you have the same problem with GR? I went to the Discussion Group, and it seems that others do, but then someone said they had fixed it. Err, NO!

    Anyway, sorry to bother you with silly, little matters. I pray things are improving, where you are.

  18. i'm back to the link who referred me to (in response your poem about the pigs)...

    Very interesting. I like metaphors - to some they can be as clear as water, and to others as foggy as fog. Like you said, it reflects the reader's thoughts, experiences, and their lookout. Reminds me of Tea Leaves in Divination You can imagine anything you want.

    Inspired by your latest poem and iste-car-a, I tried one as well- about fishing. a very lame attempt, i sp'ose :$

  19. haha...I'm quite enjoying these stories of yours. Despite the fact that they have a whole different meaning behind (which the theme seems the same so far :P)..they make extremely good versions of the original story. You should consider publishing them (honestly!).

    It's quite enjoyable reading them even without grasping the coded meaning. But the 'coded meaning' does add an extra smile :) and chuckle [assuming I'm on the same page as you are, I guess that's the beauty of it, no one has to know ;)]