TABULATION OF FOLKTALES. 41
Title of Story.— The Three Spinners.
Dramatis Personse.— Girl ; her mother.— Queen ; her son.— Three Spinners.
Abstract of Story.— (l) A woman is beating her daughter for refusing to spin, when queen driving by hears crying, and stops to inquire cause. Ashamed to reveal her daughter's laziness, woman says she cannot get her girl to leave off spinning, and she is too poor to procure flax for her. Queen never tires of hearing humming of spinning-wheel, and would like to take girl away with her that she may spin to her heart's content. Mother con- sents, and queen takes girl to palace and shows her three rooms filled from floor to ceiling with finest flax, saying when she has spun all this she shall marry queen's eldest son as reward for industry. — (2) Girl is secretly terrified, as she is quite unable to spin ; and sits for three days idly weeping. Queen is surprised to see nothing spun, but is satisfied with girl's excuse that she was distressed at leaving home, and bids her begin work on the morrow. Girl is looking out of window in her despair about the task, and sees three women approaching, the first having a broad flat foot, the second a great uuderlip hanging doAvn to her chin, the third a broad thumb. They look up, ask her trouble, and offer help, undertaking to spin all the flax in a very short time provided she will invite them to her wedding as her aunts. Girl readily consents, and the strange women enter and set to work. One draws the thread and treads the wheel ; another wets the thread ; the third twists it, and as often as she strikes the table with her finger a skein of beautifully spun thread falls to the ground. Girl hides the three spinners from queen, and is greatly praised for the quantity spun. When the three rooms are cleared the spinners depart, reminding girl of her promise, which will make her fortune. — (3) Queen sees the great heap of yarn, and gives orders for wedding. Bridegroom is proud of his clever industrious bride. Girl asks permission to invite her three aunts, and when they arrive at the feast in strange apparel says, "Welcome, dear aunts." Bridegroom is aghast to see her odious friends, and asks the first how she comes by such a broad flat foot, " By treading, she says; the second, how she comes by the hanging lip, " By licking," she answers ; the third, how she comes by her broad thumb, " By twisting the thread," is the reply. On this the queen's son becomes alarmed, and says his beautiful bride shall never touch a spinning-wheel again. And thus she gets rid of the hateful flax-spinning.
Alphabetical List of Incidents.
Bridegroom sees deformed aunts at wedding, and commands bride never to
spin (3). Queen takes girl to palace (1).
Reward for task done, queen's son in marriage (1) (3). Task to spin three rooms full of flax (1).