Friday, 11 February 2011

Friday is for Fairy-Tales: The Goblin Market

This is a meme hosted by me every Friday.

My post today is about: "The Goblin Market" by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

"The Goblin Market" is a famous long poem written by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894), an English poet, who happens to be one of my favourite poets. "The Goblin Market" is written as a Christian fairy-tale, using the popular forbidden-fruit and sin-redemption schemes. The point is, it is a fairy-tale story and it goes like this:

Two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, who are very close, live alone in a house. They draw water from a stream every evening. There, they usually hear goblin merchants selling fruit. One evening, Laura lingers by the stream after Lizzie has gone home and wants to buy some of the goblin merchants' fruit, but she has no money. However, she offers a lock of her hair and "a tear more rare than pearl." Laura eats the fruit eagerly, but then comes to her senses and returns home. At home, Lizzie reminds her of the story of Jeanie, another girl who ate goblin fruit and died.

The next day, when Laura and Lizzie work around the house, Laura cannot wait to meet the goblin men in the evening. When the sisters go to the stream to draw water from it, Lizzie can her the goblin merchants' voices, but Laura can't. She can't buy their fruit, but she longs for it, which makes her fall ill and become depressed. She begins to pine away. One day, Laura remembers that she saved a seed from the fruit she ate and plants it, but nothing grows.

When Lizzie realises that Laura is dying, she decides to go to the goblins, buy their fruit and thus soothe Laura's pain. The goblin men greet Lizzie kindly, but when they realise she wants to pay with money and carry the fruit home, they become terrible. They attack her nad try to make her eat their fruit. They even drench her in fruit juice and pulp. Finally, the goblins leave her be because she does not give up and Lizzie hurries home, hoping that Laura can drink the juice from her body. Laura does just that, but then undergoes a violent transformation, which pushes her to the verge of death.

The next day, however, Laura is completely fine, mentally and physically. The sisters live to tell their children about evil goblin fruit and about the power of sisterly love.

You may read the poem HERE.


Unknown said...

I read this at university and loved it :-) big fan of Christina Rosetti. I've not participated this week,but I have just been given a gorgeous edition of the complete Grimm's Fairy Tales, so you'll probably be hearing a lot from me in coming weeks!

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I've never heard of this but I like the idea of sisters who love each other instead of being rivals.

Michelle Greathouse said...


Hi. I headed over form Amy's blog - glad you will be joining is for Flash Fiction Friday.

Have a great weekend.


Unknown said...

Awww... sisters. They may tell you off from time to time but they are always there when you need them.

Blodeuedd said...

Weird story. I am sure I have read it, but most have forgotten how strange it was :)

pharmacy reviews said...

I went expecting poems along the lines of the goblin market, malicious faeries and whimsical settings galore. Instead I get mostly depressing tidbits on death and lack of love, all of it rife with seasonal imagery. Oh, also a wave of religion inspired writings at the end. Not a big fan of that kind of stuff