Original Bad Girl Goldilocks wasn’t always so young. The first written version by Robert Southey describes her variously as an impudent, foul-mouthed, ugly, dirty, vagrant old woman who needed locking up.
The Goldilocks handed down to Raymond Briggs for inclusion in the 1972 Fairy Tale Treasury was the one written by Flora Annie Steele in 1918, and originally illustrated by Arthur Rackham. The old lady has become the traditional pint-sized nosy parker (typical ageism). The bears are not the mummy, daddy and baby of modern re-tellings, but an all male house share of ‘tidy, polite, well brought-up bears’. Living in some leafy San Francisco suburb no doubt.
Goldilocks on the other hand is an absolute horror, ‘an impudent rude little girl.’ Briggs draws her as a tiny demon with scary eyes and mad corkscrew curls. Although she’s a bonkers cartoon, she does remind me a lot of my daughter and some of her friends. It’s what Raymond Briggs does best – expert characterisation using the most simple representations.
I did have the above picture pinned up over my daughter’s bed for a while as a sort of masochistic joke. The similarities between C in her non-sleeping phase and Goldilocks were uncanny. The utter fury of the ‘hard bed’ image was a nightly feature in our house for about four years. She’s toned it down now, to the resigned irritation of the ‘soft bed’ picture. But however long it takes her to get to sleep, she always looks ‘just right’ in the end.
I love the ending of this version; Goldilocks hurling herself feet last out of the window.
‘So naughty Goldilocks jumped; and whether she broke her neck in the fall or ran into the wood and was lost there or found her way out of the wood and got whipped for being a bad girl and playing truant no one can say.’ That’s what I call a Bad Girl Warning.
Bad Girl Warning #1 Marmalade Atkins