"The Three Bears." Told by Dicy Adams to James Taylor Adams, 1942. James Taylor Adams Collection. Full text in this web site. The girl who falls asleep in an empty house sets out to take a gift to her grandmother, like Little Red Riding Hood, but never arrives at the grandmother's house. Most of the tale is much like the well-known English versions (see below).

Related Appalachian Tales:

Contrast with The Hainted House, Jack and the Hainted House, and Down Come a Leg, in which travelers who stay in empty houses have more horrific experiences, but usually do not run away in the end.

In tales of Sody Sallyratus and The Bad Bear, bears are more threatening predators, but someone, sometimes a squirrel, rescues the humans.

Children get lost in the woods in The Two Lost Babes and Hansel and Gretel.

Compare with:

Goldilocks by Ruth Sanderson"Goldilocks and the Three Bears." An annotated version with parallel tales across cultures, illustrations and other references is online at SurLaLuneFairyTale Pages by Heidi Anne Heiner. Her History page points out that the tale started out with an old woman as the heroine, and that scholars have found references to oral versions older than Robert Southey's 1837 story that was long thought to be an original source for this tale. After Southey's time the heroine was changed to a girl called "Silver Hair" and then "Silver-Locks."

Sanderson, Ruth. Goldilocks. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. Picture book with beautiful realistic illustrations by Sanderson, who puts a few twists in her retelling of the tale. Her surprise ending includes cleaning up the mess Goldilocks makes and baking blueberries muffins; a recipe is provided at the end.

For more discussion of the history and variants of this tale, see also Iona and Peter Opie's The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
 


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