Monday, February 21, 2005

Three Spinners-- a Brothers Grimm fairy tale

I started this blog with no fanfare whatsoever. In fact, this story was supposed to be a place-holder so that I could technically have a blog while I commented on others' websites. Soon after, I got the bug actually to write for the blog. My first true blog post begins with "Root Vegetables."--AtG 11/19/05

There was once a girl who loved to daydream and hated to spin. Often, she could be seen staring out the window with a smile upon her face, dreaming of meat pies and apple dumplings while the flax lay tangled in her hands. No matter how much her mother begged and threatened, the girl would not spin an even thread to save her life. In anger and impatience, her mother finally lost control and smacked her.The girl wept loudly, and at that very moment, the Queen drove by, and when she heard the weeping, she stopped in her carriage and went into the house.

“Why are you beating your daughter so that her cries can be heard out by the road?” the Queen demanded.The mother was ashamed to reveal the laziness of her daughter, and said, ”I cannot get her to stop spinning. She sits by the spinning wheel day after day, begging for more flax to spin into thread, and I cannot afford it.”“Oh!” said the Queen. “There is nothing that I like more than to listen to the hum of spinning wheels. Let me bring your daughter to the palace. I have flax enough, and there she shall spin as much as she likes.”

The mother agreed to this, and the Queen took the girl to the palace.When they arrived at the palace, the Queen took the girl up to three rooms that were filled from top to bottom with the finest flax. “Now spin me this flax,” she said, “And when you have done it, you shall have my eldest son for a husband, even if you are poor. I care not for your lack of wealth, for your untiring industry is dowry enough.”

The girl was secretly terrified. She could not have spun that flax if she lived for 300 years and had sat at the spinning wheel from morning until night. When she was alone, she began to weep.

Three days later, the Queen came to her and saw that nothing had been done. “I’m sorry,” the girl said, “But I have not been able to begin because of the sadness over leaving my mother’s house.”

“I understand,” said the Queen. “But now, you must dry your tears and look ahead to more joyful things. Tomorrow, you shall begin your work.” And the Queen left the girl alone again.

In her distress, the girl went to the window. Then, she saw three women coming toward her. The first woman had a broad, flat foot. The second had such a great under-lip that it hung down over her chin, and the third had a broad thumb. They walked over to the window, looked up at her, and asked, “What ails you, my dear?”“Oh, aunties,” the girl said, “the Queen has bidden me to spin three rooms of flax into thread, and even though she has promised me her eldest son in marriage, I just can’t do it.”

“We can help you,” the three women said, “on one condition. If you will invite us to the wedding, and call us your aunties as you have done today, and place us at your table, we will spin the flax for you in a very short time.”

“With all my heart,” the girl said, “do but come in and begin work at once.”Then she led in the three women and cleared a place in the first room, where they seated themselves and began their spinning. The first one drew the thread and used her large foot to pump the wheel tread. The second one used her great under-lip to wet the thread. The third one used her great thumb to twist the thread and strike the table, and as often as she struck it, a skein of thread fell to the ground that was spun in the finest manner possible.

Before too long, the flax in all three rooms was spun. Then, the three women took their leave of the girl and said, “Now, do not forget what you have promised us, for it will make your fortune.”

When the girl showed the Queen the empty rooms, and the great heap of yarn, the Queen was overjoyed. She gave orders for the wedding, and her eldest son rejoiced that he was to have such a clever and industrious wife.“We shall invite your mother to come to the wedding celebration at once,” he said.

“I also have three aunties,” the girl said. “As they have been kind to me, I should not like to forget them in my good fortune. Please allow me to invite them to the wedding and sit with us at our table.”

The Queen and the bridegroom said, “Why shouldn’t we allow that?”Therefore, when the feast began, the three women entered in strange apparel, and the bride said, “Welcome, dear aunties.”

“How did you come by these odious friends?” the bridegroom said to his new wife.

“They are not odious to me,” the bride said.

But the bridegroom went up to first woman and asked, “How do you come by such a broad foot?”

“By treading,” she said, “By treading.

The bridegroom went up to the second and asked, “How do you come by your falling lip?”

“By licking,” she answered, “By licking.”The bridegroom went up to the third and said, “How do you come by your broad thumb?”

“By twisting the thread,” she said. “By twisting the thread.”

At this, the Queen’s son was alarmed and said, “Neither now nor evermore shall my bride touch a spinning wheel.” And thus, the girl who hated spinning never had to do it again.

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