THR SPINDLE, NEEDLE, AND SHUTTLE. 531
knew not who he was; still it was such an unusual event for a gentleman to look in at the window of her lonely cottage that she could not forget it.
At last strange ideas came into her head, and she began to sing some curious words which the old woman had taught her,—-
" Spindle, spindle, run away; Fetch my lover here to-day."
To her astonishment the spindle leaped from her hands that very moment, and rushed out of the house. She followed to the door, and stood looking after it with wondering eyes, for it was running and dancing quite merrily across the field, trailing behind it a bright golden thread, and presently it was lost to her eyes.
Having no longer a spindle, she took up her shuttle, seated herself, and commenced weaving. The spindle, meanwhile, kept on its way, and just as the thread came to an end, it overtook the prince.
" What do I see ?" he cried. " The thread behind this spindle will lead me to good fortune, no doubt." So he turned his horse and rode back in the trail of the golden thread.
The maiden, who still worked on, thought presently of another of the rhymes taught her by the old woman, so she sang,—
" Shuttle, shuttle, thou art free; Bring my lover home to me."
Instantly the shuttle slipped from her hand, and ran to the door, but on the door-sill it stopped and began to weave the most beautiful carpet ever seen. In the centre, on a golden ground, appeared a green creeping-plant, and around it blush roses and white lilies were scattered. Hares and rabbits appeared running upon it; stags and deer stood beneath the foliage, in which were birds of beautiful colours which seemed able to do everything but sing. The shuttle sprang here and there, and the carpet seemed to grow of itself.
As the maiden had now lost both spindle and shuttle, she was obliged to take out her needle, and while she sewed she sang,—
" Needle, needle, while you shine, Make the house look neat and fine.
On this the needle sprang from her fingers, and flew about the