Everybody agreed that Aioga was a very beautiful girl. In fact, the villagers told her that she was the most beautiful girl in their village. This made Aioga vain. She became pround of her beauty and each day looked at herself in the mirror. She liked her looks so much that daily she went to look at herself in the stream that ran past her house.
One day, her mother asked her to wash the dishes. Aioga spent so much time admiring her reflection in the dishes that her mother was annoyed. “Aioga, you’re becoming too vain and lazy. You do nothing but admire yourself each day. This has got to stop. Even our neighbours are complaining. They say that you’ve become pround and won’t even talk to their daughters. You make me so ashamed.”
Aioga sulked and refused to do any more work. She thought her mother was treating her badly. She became even lazier. Each day, she lay in bed until the sun was high in the sky. Her mother did not know what to do with her.
“Aioga, please go to the stream and fetch some water. I want to bake some some cakes for tea,” said her mother.
“But I may fall into the water,” said Aioga.
Her mother sighed. She was slowly losing patience with her daughter. “Hold on to a bush and you won’t fall in.”
“But the bush may fall into the stream,” complained her daughter.
“But all the bushes by the stream have thorns and I may scratch my pretty hands,” said the girl.
Her mother grew steadily more impatient. “Aioga, put on your mittens. They’ll not only keep you warm but will also stop you from getting scatched.” Aioga then complained that her mittens were torn. Her mother then handed her a needle and thread.
“What if the needle breaks?” asked the girl. Aioga did not sew her mittens but instead spent the time looking at herself in the mirror.
Her mother was very angry with her, and when her husband returned from work, she spoke to him about their daughter. He was angry too when he heard what his wife had told him, so he sent for Aioga. “Aioga, go this minute and get a really thick needle from the workbasket and mend your mittens,” he said.
“But, papa, what if the needle pricks my finger?”
“You can use a thimble made of strong skin,” he said.
“But if the thimble is pierced I’ll hurt my finger,” said the girl.
Aioga’s younger sister, who was good and sweet-natured, came into the room. Cheerfully, she offered to fetch the water. She ran to the stream, filled the bucket and then helped her mother bake some cakes. When Aioga saw the lovely golden cakes, her mouth began to water. They looked delicious.
“Mother, give me some cakes,” she said.
“They’re hot and you’ll burn your fingers,” said her mother.
“I’ll put on my mittens.”
“But your mittens are torn. Besides, they’re damp as you did not dry them out yesterday after playing in the snow,” said her mother.
“I’ll dry them now before the fire,” said the girl.
“No, drying them out too quickly will make them stiff. And you won’t be able to hold the cakes,” said the her mother.
Aioga was hungry and the cakes smelled so delicious. “I’ll soften them with some wax,” she said.
“But your hands will get dirty. Why should you work and spoil your looks? It would be better if I gave the cake to your sister who doesn’t mind using her hands,” said Aioga’s mother.
When she saw her mother give her sister the cake, Aioga ran out of the house to the stream. She was very angry as she thought that her mother was very unfair. She saw her sister enjoying the cake and turned to stare angrily at her. “Aioga, please don’t be angry. I’ll share my cake with you ,” she said. Her sister was only trying to be kind but Aioga was proud. How could she, the village beauty, accept a half-eaten cake! She turned round and slapped her sister hard.
“Go away. I don’t want anything from you. Just leave me alone.” Aioga began to hit her sister again. Suddenly, she lost her balance and fell into the stream. The Goddess of the Stream who had seen Aioga treat her sister badly, changed her into a goose. All day long Aioga, the goose, swam around in the stream. “Ga! Ga! What a beauty I am,” she said, looking at herself in the stream.
As time went by she forgot how to speak. All she remembered was her name, and whenever she saw anyone, she would say, “Ai-oga! Ai-oga! So that all would remember the village beauty who turned into a goose.