|This page created
September 2000 by Valkyrie
|Once upon a time, there was a girl whose mother and father died as she was still very small. At the edge of the village, in a tiny little cottage, lived her godmother. This good woman, who supported herself with sewing, weaving and spinning, took pity on the child and took her in to raise her as her own. Over the years, the two lived quietly, the older woman teaching the girl all she knew. She was a good girl and a quick study, so that as she blossomed into a young woman, she was as handy as her godmother with the tools of their trade.
The girl had just turned 16 as the old woman took to her sickbed, from which she new she would not rise again. When she knew that her end was near, she called the girl to her bedside and told her the house and all that was in it would be hers so she could make a living for herself, bade her to live the way she had been taught, always remain humble, and after a final blessing, the old woman died.
The girl cried bitterly as the casket was lowered into the ground, but she remembered her godmother's words, and lived in the cottage, spending her days spinning, weaving and sewing. Whatever she did, the blessing of the old woman was with her, never did she lack for customers, her work was well thought of, and she earned enough that she was able to share with those who had even less.
It was about this time that the son of the king went out into the realm to look for a bride. He wasn't supposed to come back with a poor one, but he didn't want a rich one. So he decided to find one that incorporated the best of both worlds, one who was both the poorest and the richest at the same time.
When he came to the village where the young seamstress lived, he asked where he could find the richest, and the poorest of all the maidens. A huge, imposing house was pointed out to him, the dwelling of the richest landowner, where the richest maiden, his daughter, whiled away her days in luxury. And then the cottage at the end of the village, the home of the poorest maiden, the seamstress.
The rich girl was very excited and thought that she might find favour in the eyes of the prince. She decked herself in her most fanciful gown and jewelry and as he neared the house, she went out and bowed her head to him. He just looked at her, and without uttering a single word, he rode on.
To the little cottage at the end of the village. No-one awaited him at the door. As he peeked through the window, he saw a beautiful young woman, simply but neatly dressed. He noticed the small chamber, sparsely furnished but scrupulously clean and neat. The maiden was at her spinning wheel, working diligently. When she finally looked up, her eyes met the prince's, and she blushed deeply. In the end, she did rise to open the window, it had all of a sudden gotten very hot in the little chamber. As he rode off, she looked after him until all she could make out was the white plume on his hat.
She sat down again and continued to spin. A song came into her head, a song she had heard her godmother sing from time to time,
"Spindle, Spindle, go far and wide,
Bring back the suitor who seeks a bride"
No sooner had she finished the song than the spindle sprang from her hand and out the door it went. The maiden was sure surprised and looked out the window, after the spindle, as it danced merrily down through the fields, trailing behind a golden thread.
Then, no longer being able to spin, she went to the loom and began to weave. Another of her godmother's song's came into her head,
"Shuttle, Shuttle, weave things fine,
Lead my suitor back down the line"
No sooner had she finished that song than the shuttle sprang out of her hand, through the door. Right outside, it began weaving, the most beautiful carpet any eye had ever seen. On both sides, roses and lillies bloomed, the middle was filled with green leaves growing from golden ground, and everywhere there were animals, hares and rabbits played and deer peeked through the greenery, one you could almost hear the song of the birds, so lifelike was the picture.
The maiden finally went back inside and having nothing left but her needle, sat down to some sewing. And again a little song,
"Needle, Nedle, so sharp and fine,
Get the house ready for my suitor on time"
No sooner was she done singing, the needle sprang from her hand and it was magical to hehold as the needle flitted to and fro. Before you knew it, the table and the bench were covered with a fine green cloth, the chairs were covered in velvet, and silken curtains framed the windows.
The needle finally came to rest as the maiden noticed the white plume again, this time coming toward the cottage. The prince had seen the golden thread from the spindle and in wonderment, decided to follow it. He got off his horse, walked across the beautiful carpet and into the cottage. There he saw the young woman, her inner glow, like a rose at dawn, transcending the simplicity of her little frock.
The prince immediately knew he had found what he set out to find ... the poorest who was at the same time the richest. When he asked her if she would be his bride, she didn't answer (probably couldn't) but reached out to give him her hand. He took her in his arms, then led her outside, onto his horse. They rode to the castle where soon, a splendid wedding took place.
The spindle, shuttle and needle, however, were held in high honour and placed in the royal treasury.