SPINDLE, SHUTTLE, AND NEEDLE
NCE upon a time there lived a girl who lost her father
and mother when she was quite a tiny child. Her
god-mother lived all alone in a little cottage at the
far of the village, and there she earned her living by
spinning, weaving, and sewing. The old woman took
the little orphan
 home with her and brought her up in
good, pious, industrious habits.
When the girl was fifteen years old her godmother fell
ill, and calling the child to her bedside she said: "My
dear daughter, I feel that my end is near. I leave you
my cottage, which will, at least, shelter you, and also
my spindle, my weaver's shuttle, and my needle, with
which to earn your bread."
Then she laid her hands on the girl's head, blessed
her, and added: "Mind and be good, and then all will go
well with you." With that she closed her eyes for the
last time, and when she was carried to her grave the
girl walked behind her coffin weeping bitterly and paid
her all the last honors.
After this the girl lived all alone in the little
cottage. She worked hard, spinning, weaving, and
sewing, and her old godmother's blessing seemed to
prosper all she did. The flax seemed to spread and
increase; and when she wove a carpet or a piece of
linen, or made a shirt, she was sure to find a customer
who paid her well, so that not only did she feel no
want herself, but she was able to help those who did.
Now, it happened that about this time the King's son
was making a tour through the entire country to look
out for a bride. He could not marry a poor woman and
he did not wish for a rich one.
"She shall be my wife," said he, "who is at once the
poorest and the richest."
When he reached the village where the girl lived he
inquired who was the richest and who the poorest woman
in it. The richest was named first; the poorest, he
was told, was a young girl who lived alone in a little
cottage at the far end of the village.
The rich girl sat at her door dressed in all her best
clothes, and when the King's son came near she got up,
went to meet him, and made him a low courtesy. He
looked well at her, said nothing, but rode on farther.
When he reached the poor girl's house he did not find
at her door, for she was at work in her room. The
 reined in his horse, looked in at the window
through which the sun was shining brightly, and saw the
girl sitting at her wheel busily spinning away.
She looked up, and when she saw the King's son gazing
in at her she blushed red all over; cast down her eyes,
and spun on. Whether the thread was quite as even as
usual I really cannot say, but she went, on spinning
till the King's son had ridden off. Then she stepped to
the window and opened the lattice, saying, "The room is
so hot," but she looked after him as long as she could
see the white plumes of his hat.
Then she sat down to her work once more and spun on,
and as she did so an old saying, which she had often
heard her godmother repeat while at work, came into her
head, and she began to sing:
"Spindle, spindle, go and see
If my love will come to me."
Lo and behold! the spindle leaped from her hand and
rushed out of the room, and when she had sufficiently
recovered from her surprise to look after it she saw it
dancing merrily through the fields, dragging a long
golden thread after it, and soon it was lost to sight.
The girl, having lost her spindle, took up the shuttle
and, seating herself at her loom, began to weave.
Meantime the spindle danced on and on, and just as it
had come to the end of the golden thread it reached the
"What do I see?" he cried. "This spindle seems to wish
to point out the way to me." So he turned his horse's
head :and rode back beside the golden thread.
JUST AS IT HAD COME TO THE END OF THE GOLDEN THREAD IT REACHED THE KING'S SON.
Meantime the girl sat weaving and sang:
"Shuttle, weave both web and woof;
Bring my love beneath my roof."
The shuttle instantly escaped from her hand and with
one bound was out at the door. On the threshold it
began weaving the loveliest carpet that was ever seen.
Roses and lilies
 bloomed on both sides, and in the center a thicket
seemed to grow with rabbits and hares running through
it, stags and fawns peeping through the branches, while
on the topmost boughs sat birds of brilliant plumage
and so lifelike one almost expected to hear them sing.
The shuttle flew from side to side and the carpet
seemed almost to grow of itself.
As the shuttle had run away the girl sat down to sew.
She took her needle and sang:
"Needle, needle, stitch away;
Make my chamber bright and gay."
And the needle promptly slipped from her fingers and
flew about the room like lightning. You would have
thought invisible spirits were at work, for in next to
no time the table and benches were covered with green
cloth, the chairs with velvet, and elegant silk
curtains hung before the windows. The needle had barely
put in its last stitch when the girl, glancing at the
window, spied the white-plumed hat of the King's son,
who was being led back by the spindle with the golden
He dismounted and walked over the carpet into the
house, and when he entered the room there stood the
girl blushing like any rose. "You are the poorest and
yet the richest," said he. "Come with me—you shall be
She said nothing but she held out her hand. Then he
kissed her and led her out, lifted her on his horse,
and took her to his royal palace, where the wedding was
celebrated with great rejoicings.
The spindle, the shuttle, and the needle were carefully
placed in the treasury and were always held in the very