Interesting Factoid: A goose egg weighs about four times that of the average chicken egg you buy in the store. The yolks are much firmer and have a consistency similar to custard when raw.
Here we are, back to birds again and we still have seven swans to consider tomorrow. A little about geese just to keep the theme going. Geese have been domesticated for more than 6000 years, with the earliest references of domestication coming from ancient Egypt.
Geese is the plural form of both goose and gander. A goose is the female, a gander is the male. Hence the old phrase, "what's good for the good goose is good for the gander."
In the song, obviously we are talking about female geese since these geese are in fact, laying. Laying eggs in case you need it spelled out. Domestic geese weigh up to 22 pounds and will lay as many as 50 eggs per year. Wild geese weigh less, but we're pretty sure the fowl in question are domesticated.
In keeping with our theme of keeping a tally of our growing barnyard full of fowl, we will have no less than 42 geese, all producing eggs by the time we are done, and about 42 eggs to go with them. Soufflés and ice cream and custard and cakes and... the yummy list goes on and on, and we have not yet discussed roast goose. And we shall not.
Back in the day, you didn't see geese on every urban pond, park lawn, or golf course. There were wild geese, which in general have a nasty temperament and will gladly leave bruises on you if you happen to venture too close. Domesticated geese aren't much better. They walk waddle in a more upright fashion because they've been fed too much and have put a lot of fat on their bottoms, causing a more upright posture.
If you were trying to impress your true love, bringing geese everyday might be just the thing. A flock of 42 geese would certainly prove you were the able in the art of animal husbandry, and along with all the other animals, you'd have more than a good start on the family farm.
Another thought leads me to wonder. Were all these critters for the suitor's true love? Or were they in fact dowry for the pretty lady's father. If the potential son-in-law produced such a demanding bride price, he would indeed be a husband able to provide--for both the parents and the daughter. Dowry practices still persist to this day in some countries, and were a custom among Native Americans in the United States even before the invasion by white settlers. In Europe, dowry practices persisted until the twentieth century.
Something to think about. What would you do if you were the recipient of such a lavish array of gifts in this modern era of condominiums, town homes and urban backyards?
Photo images of Geese Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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