THE QUEEN FAIRY BOOK.
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 out 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 further.
When he reached the poor girl's house he did not find her at her door, for she was at work in her room. The prince 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 king's son.
"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.
Meantime the girl sat weaving and sang: