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THE SPINDLE, NEEDLE AND SHUTTLE
C. S. B. Adapted from Grimm.
ONCE upon a time there lived a little girl who was
quite, quite alone; for her grandmother and her father
and her mother were all gone to heaven. She lived in a
poor little cottage, and all that she owned in the
world was a spindle, a needle and a shuttle. Still,
she was a happy little girl, spinning and sewing busily
from morning till night. Her flax never gave out, and
as soon as she had woven a piece of cloth and stitched
it into a little shirt some one always came to buy it.
Now, it happened about this time that the prince came
riding into town to find a little girl who was fit to
be a princess.
"She must be good, and rich, and industrious," said the
Up and down the streets he rode, and all the mothers
dressed their little girls in their best clothes and
set them out upon the doorsteps, but the prince would
have none of them for a princess. And he rode
and on until he came at last near the cottage where
lived the little girl, the spindle, the needle and the
The little girl was not watching for the prince. She
had never so much as thought of being a princess, and
she was busily spinning and singing as the threads went
in and out:
"Spindle, spindle, run away;
Fetch me some one home to-day."
All at once the spindle jumped from off her hands and
rushed out of the house. She watched it from the door,
but it went running and dancing quite merrily across
the fields, trailing behind it a bright gold thread,
until she could see it no longer. So she took up her
shuttle, having no spindle.
Now, the spindle kept on its way, and just as the
thread was all unwound it overtook the prince.
"What is this?" said the prince. "This must be the
golden thread that will lead me to the princess." So
he picked up the spindle and followed the trail of
The little girl kept on busily working and singing as
her fingers flew:
"Shuttle, shuttle, weave for me
Carpets fine as fine can be."
In a minute the shuttle jumped from her hands and ran
to the door, but on the door-sill it stopped and began
to weave the most beautiful carpet all over the floor.
In the center of the carpet, on a gold ground, was a
green creeping-plant, and around it were pink
 roses and white lilies scattered. Hares and rabbits
seemed to be running upon it; stags and deer stood
beneath the leaves, and there were wonderful birds of
all colors flying about. The shuttle danced here and
there, and the carpet grew of itself.
The little girl watched it, but she knew she must not
be idle; so she took up her needle, having now no
spindle or shuttle, and she began to sew a fine seam,
singing as she sewed:
"Needle, needle, while you shine,
Make the house look neat and fine."
Just then the needle sprang from her fingers and flew
about the room as quick as lightning. It was as if the
fairies were at work, for beautiful curtains were hung
at the windows of the poor little house, the old chairs
were quickly covered with fine, green velvet and the
walls were hung with pink damask. When the last stitch
was finished the little girl saw the nodding, white
plume in the prince's hat as he rode up to the door,
for he had carefully followed the golden thread all the
way. He jumped from his horse and stepped in upon the
beautiful carpet. As soon as he entered he saw the
little girl, who looked as sweet as a flower in her
old, old dress.
"Oh," said the prince, as he looked around at the work
the spindle, the shuttle and the needle had done, "you
are good, and industrious, and rich! Will you come
with me and be a princess?"
The little girl said she would. So the prince took her
hand, and lifted her up behind him in the saddle and
she rode off to the palace to be a princess.