THE THREE SPINNERS
NCE upon a time there was a lazy maiden who would not
spin, and, let her mother say what she would, she could
not make her do it. At last, the mother, in a fit of
impatience, gave her a blow which made the girl cry out
At that very instant, the queen dove by, and hearing
the screams, she stopped the carriage, came into the
house, and asked the mother why she beat her daughter
in such a way that people in passing could hear the
Then the mother felt ashamed that her daughter's
laziness should be known, so she said, "Oh, your
Majesty, I cannot take her away from spinning; she
spins from morning till night, and I am so poor I
cannot afford to buy the flax."
"There is nothing I like better than to hear the sound
of spinning," the queen replied; "and nothing pleases
me more than the whirl of spinning wheels. Let me take
your daughter home with me to the castle' I have flax
enough, and she may spin there to her heart's content.
The mother rejoiced greatly in her heart, and the queen
took the maiden home with her. When they arrived at
the castle, she led her up to three rooms, which were
piled from top to bottom with the finest flax.
"Now spin me this flax, said the queen," and when thou
hast spun it all thou shalt have my eldest son for a
 Although thou art poor, I despise thee not on that
account, for thy untiring industry is dowry enough."
The maiden was filled with inward terror, for she could
not have spun the flax had she sat there night and day
until she was three hundred years old! When she was
left alone, she sat for three days without stirring a
On the third day the queen came, and when she saw that
nothing was yet spun, she wondered over it, but the
maiden excuse herself by saying that she could not
begin in consequence of the great sorrow she felt in
being separated from her mother.
This satisfied the queen, who, on leaving her, said:
"Thou must begin work for me to-morrow."
But when the maiden was once more alone, she did not
know what to do, or how to help herself, and in her
distress she went out to the window and looked out.
She saw three women passing by, the firs of whom had a
great broad foot. the second such a large underlip that
it hung down to her chin, and the third an enormous
They stopped under the window, and looking up asked the
maiden what was the matter.
When she had told them of her trouble, they immediately
offered their help, and said:
"Wilt thou invite us to the wedding and not be ashamed
of us, but calls us aunts, and let us sit at thy table?
If thou wilt we will spin all the flax in a very short
"With all my heart," answered the girl, "only come in
and begin at once."
Then she admitted the three strange women, and, making
a clear space in the first room, they sat themselves
down and began spinning.
One drew the thread and trod the wheel, the other
moistened the thread and the third pressed it and beat
it on the table, and
 every time she did so, a pile of thread fell upon the
ground spun in the finest way.
The maiden concealed the three spinners from the queen,
but showed her the heaps of spun yarn whenever she
came, and received no end of praise for it.
When the first room was empty, the second room was
commenced, and when that was finished the third was
begun, and very soon cleared.
Then the three spinners took their leave, saying to the
"Forget not what thou hast promised us; it will make
When the girl showed the queen the empty rooms and the
great piles of thread, the wedding was announced. The
bride-groom rejoiced that he had won so clever and
industrious a wife, and praised her exceedingly.
"I have three aunts," said the maiden, "and as they
have done me many kindnesses I could not forget them in
my good fortune; permit me to invite them to our
wedding and allow them to sit with me at the table."
So the queen and the bridegroom consented.
When the feast commenced, the three old women entered,
clothed in greatest splendor, and the bride said:
"Welcome, my dear aunts!"
"Alas!" exclaimed the bridegroom, "how is it you have
such ugly relations?" and going up to the one with the
broad foot, he asked:
"Why have you such a broad foot?"
"From threading, from threading," she answered.
Then he went to the second, and asked:
"Why have you an overhanging lip?"
"From moistening the thread," said she.
And he asked the third:
 Why have you such a big thumb?"
"From pressing the thread," she replied.
Then the prince grew frightened, and said:
"Then shall my lovely bride never more turn a
spinning-wheel, as long as she lives!"
Thus was the maiden freed from the hated flax-spinning.