“A Fat Goose Called Matilda – A Tall Tale And A Story”

A Fat Goose Called Matilda.

A Tall Tale Told by Karl Rebman on April 25, 2017 And A Story Inspired By The Tall Tale Told By Karl Rebman Written By Judy Rebman on April 29, 2017

Living in Small Town, USA not a day goes by without a tall tale told by the old guys hanging out at Hardees on any given morning.    Gossip, true or not, is told in abundance.      Stories, true or not, are told and often exaggerated.   One may never know the truth behind some of the tales.    But the telling of such stories is always done with a straight face and a twinkle in the eye.  And, if you are on the receiving end of one of these tall tales, listen closely, for you are in for a treat, an adventure, a mystery, a love story, a journey that will take you beyond the realm of everyday and into a world of imagination, delight, and make believe.

Here is one such tale as told to us by Karl Rebman the evening of April 25, 2017 as we were sitting around the dinner table.

Karl’s tall tale about a goose called Matilda.   His tale went something like this.

I knew a farmer once had a huge goose.   Name was Matilda.    Fed her table scraps.    She was big and fat.   Kept her tied up in the barn lot.   She was so big a grown man could ride around on her back.   And they did.   You’d go over there and there’d be some guy riding around on that fat goose, Matilda.

One day the farmer asked me to take care of Matilda.   I felt sorry for that fat goose being tied up in the barn lot and guys riding around on her back so I cut her loose and she flew off.     You’d see her from time to time flying with the other geese.   She was easy to spot.   She was the biggest one up there.    Sometimes she’d even be flying lead.

Later, when I was over in Korea we were flying patrol one day.     We’d have that plane out till it near ran out of fuel.   Our fuel tanks were running low and we were heading back to camp.    As we were approaching that last mountain top we had to pass with camp just on the other side, the engine started to sputter.   We were out of fuel.   There was no way we were going to make it over that mountain.  We were over enemy territory and the plane was starting to go down.    There was nothing we could do.    Suddenly we felt the plane being lifted, gentle as a breeze.   How could that be, our fuel gauges read empty, the engines had died.   But the plane was somehow floating over the top of that mountain.    We looked out the window and to our surprise saw a big fat goose.   It was Matilda, she lifted us over that mountain and  we were able to glide into camp and land the plane safely.

The moral of the story…..no good deed goes unrewarded.   

Karl was my catalyst behind this story that I’ve written about a fat goose called Matilda.      It was such a delight to listen to him tell his tale with a straight face and a twinkle in his eye.

A Fat Goose Called Matilda.  Inspired by Karl Rebman.  Written by Judy Rebman

Matilda is a goose.   Not just an ordinary goose you see.   Matilda is a pet goose and she is very, very spoiled.    She lives on a farm in a small town in Central Illinois.      She flew in there one spring day while on her way North.   She was tired and hungry and had stopped to have a small snack in Farmer Greg’s field.

Well, this didn’t sit well with Farmer Greg.   You see the snack Matilda was so much enjoying was the corn seeds Farmer Greg had just planted in his field.    The seeds that were supposed to sprout and grow into tall corn stalks.   Corn stalks that would produce big ears of corn that Farmer Greg would harvest that upcoming fall.     The seeds Matilda was happily noshing on that would no longer be in planted, sprouted, grown, or harvested.    This was not acceptable.   No sir, not one single bit.

So, Farmer Greg in his haste to halt that noshing goose rushed into the house to retrieve his trusty ole shotgun.   He would take care of that pesky goose and see to it that ole Matilda had had her final snack from his field.

After grabbing his shotgun from the gun rack on the wall in the kitchen he was headed back out the door to take care of business.   Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, asked where he was going with his trusty ole shotgun.     “Got us a goose out in the field eating up all my sowed seeds,” he bellowed.   “I’m going to put a pellet or two in that goose’s rear.    That’ll be the end of her.   Get your roasting pan out.   We’re having goose for supper.”

“Now you hold on just a minute there hot shot.”   Said Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy.    “That ole goose is just doing what any ole goose would be doing after a long flight.     She doesn’t mean any harm.    There are much better ways to handle this type of situation.”

“Only one way I know of and that’s to fill her with some buck shot and send her tail feathers a flyin’,”  said Farmer Greg as he headed out the door.

Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, hightailed it out that door right behind Farmer Greg.    She stopped at the barn, grabbed a rope, ran past Farmer Greg right into that field where Matilda was still munching away.

“You silly goose,” said Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy,  “you best stop eating from Farmer Greg’s field lest you get your backside filled with led.     You come with me and I’ll see to it that you get a mighty fine supper to fill your belly.”      Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, walked right on up to that goose, made a little noose in the rope and slipped it right on over Matilda’s head.

“Honk, honk” said Matilda as she dug her webbed feet into the field, “Honk, honk.”

Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, said, “Oh you hush now you silly old goose and follow me on up to the house.”

They made quite a scene the three of them.     Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, leading a waddling goose called Matilda tethered to a rope with Farmer Greg pulling up the rear muttering something about a man’s duty is to protect and provide and a man has his pride…..

Back up at the house, Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, took Matilda out back of the farmhouse and tied her up to a great big old oak tree.   “Sorry to have to handle things this way but it’s the only way I can keep you out of trouble, out of Farmer Greg’s field and out of the roasting pan!    After a while I’m sure you’ll find you quite like living here on the farm.    I’ll get you some straw so you can build you a mighty fine nest.    This big old oak tree will keep you shaded and protected from rain.    Now I’ll go on up to the house and fetch you some vittles while you get settled in.”

“Honk, honk.”

And that’s how Matilda came to be on Farmer Greg’s farm.

Over the next few years, Matilda grew quite big and fat being fed table scraps by Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy and from time to time by Farmer Greg himself.   Matilda loved leftover pancakes from breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches from lunch, and vegetables and biscuits from dinner.     She didn’t mind being tied up to that tree, no sir, not one single bit.   Matter of fact, she probably would have stayed in just that same place without being tied up as she so liked living on Farmer Greg’s farm.

Neighbors would stop by for a visit and marvel at the huge goose named Matilda.    She was so big that grown men could ride on her back.    From time to time you’d see someone or other just a hootin’ and hollerin’ as they went for a ride around the barn lot on old Matilda.    She was big and strong.   She didn’t mind one single bit givin’ rides because after a trip around the barn lot she was always rewarded with a tasty morsel from someone’s dinner bucket or apron pocket.   Dill pickles and chocolate chip cookies were her favorites.

One day while Farmer Greg was out working in the fields and Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy was in town doing her shopping a teenage boy, his name was Karl, stopped by their house.   He was looking to find part time work helping around the farm.    He saw that no one was home and was getting ready to leave when he heard a “honk, honk” from the back yard.

Now, Karl had heard about this big fat goose on Farmer Greg’s farm.   A goose that was big enough for a grown man to ride, was what he’d been told.    Curious, Karl went out back to have a look for himself.     Sure enough, to his surprise, there was that big fat goose Matilda tied up to a tree.

“Well, now, look at you, you ole fat goose,” said Karl.    He felt sad that Matilda was tied to the tree.    He thought she didn’t like having grown men take a ride on her back.    So, he untied the rope.   “Now you are free to find your flock and live your life like a normal goose,” said Karl to Matilda.

About that time, a flock of geese were flying overhead.     “Honk, honk, honk, honk, honk” came their cries from above.    “There you go Matilda,” said Karl, “go on now.   You’re free.    Go fly with your flock.”

At first Matilda was a little confused at being untied from the tree.   There was no one around wanting a ride on her back.   Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy was not out and about to give her a treat or sing her a song.    What did this strange teenage boy suppose she was to do.

Karl kept saying to Matilda, “Now go, fly with the geese, go on, get out of here now quick.”

Matilda was beginning to get a bit perturbed, “honk, honk”.   She put her wings on her thighs and started to waddle right on back to her nest under the old oak tree.    Suddenly, she paused as she heard a faint noise.   “Honk, honk, honk, honk, honk” and it was growing louder.  She looked up and saw a mess of geese flying in tight formation happily honking as they flew along.   This reminded Matilda of the time she used to fly North and South before she came to be at Farmer Greg’s barnyard.   She wanted to fly again.   But when she flapped her wings, she couldn’t get off the ground.   She was too fat.

The teenage boy Karl saw her struggling to lift off and he knew just the right thing to do to get her airborne.   At first, he struggled a bit trying to lift Matilda off the ground.    She was so fat and heavy.   But, finally, he managed to lift her enough to give her a bit of a toss into the air to get her started.    But, Matilda was so heavy she just plopped back down on the ground.    Karl tried again but, flop, Matilda fell back to the ground.

“Well, there’s got to be another way,” said Karl to Matilda.    “Try giving it a running start,” he suggested as he got behind Matilda and gave her a little push to get her going.   He ran behind her giving her little pushes from time to time as she started to run faster and faster.  Then she started to flap her wings, faster and faster, and before she knew it she was airborne.

Karl hooted and hollered and jumped around that barn yard shouting, “You did it.   Matilda, you did it!”

And Matilda honk, honked as she flew away to join the flock of geese.

Farmer Greg and his wife Judy were sad when they returned home and found Matilda was gone.   They had no idea what happened to her or why she left.     They sure would miss that fat ole goose.

That next spring, while Farmer Greg was planting his fields he heard a honk, honk from overhead.    He looked up and low and behold he spotted Matilda instantly.   She was the biggest, fattest goose in the flock.      “Honk, honk” she said in greeting and waved her wing at Farmer Greg and continued on with her flock.

Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, was happy to hear that Matilda was flying North with her flock.   She said she would be sure to look for Matilda next fall when the flock would be heading South for the winter.     Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, wanted to see her and say hello.

Sure enough, come late that September as she was out back hanging wash on the line to dry she heard a “honk, honk”, looked up and saw Matilda flying with her flock of geese.     Matilda was easy to spot, she was the fattest goose in the flock.     Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy, gave Matilda a holler and a hearty wave.   She was so happy to see Matilda doing well.

The next Spring when the geese flew over there was no sign of Matilda with her flock.   That Fall, during harvest time, again, Matilda was not spotted with her flock.

Farmer Greg and his wife, Judy were sad and worried about Matilda.     “Maybe she just took a different route,” said Farmer Greg to his wife, Judy.

“Perhaps,” said Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy.    “I just hope she hasn’t wound up in some roasting pan somewhere.   She was such a fat goose and could have made someone a nice goose dinner.

“Now, Judy,” said Farmer Greg.   “That goose Matilda was well loved and well fed while she was here.   She was a good goose and very smart.   Why, I bet she just took a different route, or maybe she has started her own flock of baby geese and took to nesting for a spell.”

Farmer Greg and his wife, Judy continued to keep a look out for Matilda.   The next Spring had arrived.   Flocks of geese had flown by on their way to settle in at their goose homes up North.  The leaves on the trees had started to turn green, flowers were blooming, and birds were chirping but there was still no sign of Matilda.

Then, one day Farmer Greg and his wife, Judy, were out back in the vegetable garden planting green beans and tomatoes when all of a sudden they heard a loud thud out in the barn lot.  They went around to the front of the house and there stood that big fat goose Matilda.

“Honk, honk” said Matilda and raised her wing in greeting as she waddled over to greet Farmer Greg and his wife Judy.

As she approached, Farmer Greg noticed something shiny hanging from around Matilda’s neck.     “What do you reckon that is,”  Farmer Greg said to his wife, Judy.

“Sure looks like a sparkly necklace of some sort.” Replied Farmer Greg’s wife Judy.

As Farmer Greg bent over to get a closer look at Matilda and her shiny mystery he said, “Well, I’ll be, she’s wearing a medal.   It’s a Bronze Star medal.  Wonder how she came to have gotten that.”

“Honk, honk,” said Matilda as she gave Farmer Greg and his wife Judy a feathered hug before lifting off to fly away.

“Well,” said Farmer Greg’s wife, Judy.    “I guess that’s one mystery we’ll never solve.    But that Matilda, she certainly is one very fat and very special goose indeed.”

The moral of this Tall Tale and The Story Behind It…….Spend time with the old folks.   They have delightful stories to tell.    You may never know if they are true or lore but you will be delighted with their tales and they will be delighted with your time and attention!     You create your reality!

Story property of Judy Rebman.   From The Tractor Seat.   Copy rights and all rights reserved 4/29/17