THE people of Burry Port learned a valuable lesson on Wednesday, (Dec 6) at St Marys Church. it wasn’t so much as a religious lesson as a strong moral message relayed through that good old fashioned community get together, the pantomime, Mother Goose.
The story of Mother Goose is possibly the oldest story to be turned into a pantomime. It dates back to an ancient Greek legend about a goose that laid golden eggs. It is also one of the earliest pantomimes seen in Great Britain, nearly two hundred years ago.
The Pantomime is about Mother Goose herself- not the Goose, who is usually called “Priscilla”, but the part played by the pantomime Dame who is called “ Mother Goose.”
The nub of the story is something most people would admit to if they were honest. The gift of eternal youth and beauty, that most prized longing for some as the enter their dotage.
So the story goes that a poor woman who befriends a magical goose that provides her with Golden Eggs. She is rich, but there is something she wants more than money- she wants to be young and beautiful.
Mother Goose is about to be thrown off her land because she cannot pay the Squire and his Bailiffs the rent. Along comes Priscilla the goose. Mother Goose loves her as a friend and doesn’t know the good fairy has sent her to help Mother Goose. Priscilla lays golden eggs, and Mother Goose is rich. Along comes the Demon King. He has a bet with the fairy. He claims there is no-one on earth who is happy with what they have got- no one is content. They want more. The fairy Disagrees, and uses Mother Goose as an example of goodness.
The Demon King tempts Mother Goose with the one thing she doesn’t have- youth and beauty. He persuades her to give him Priscilla in exchange for a visit to the “Pool of Beauty”. She gives him Priscilla, and enters the pool, emerging as (she thinks) a beautiful woman.
All her friends don’t like her now- they want the old Mother Goose back. Too late she realises that beauty is NOT everything, and that she must get Priscilla back. After a lot of trouble (usually going to “Goose Court” in Gooseland to plead for Priscilla, she gets her back, and all ends happily ever after.
It really was a smashing piece of theatre, which delighted the audience young and old alike.
The moral of the story is that beauty and wealth cannot bring you happiness. The people of Burry Port may just have left the church with a smug shrug of contentment as they contemplate living in an area of such outstanding natural beauty. Within a five minute walk of the town is a view of what has been described as one of the world’s most beautiful areas of natural beauty, the Gower headland.
Photos: Byron Williams