THE THREE SPINSTERS
HERE was once a girl who was lazy and would not spin, and her mother could not persuade her to it, do what she would. At last the mother became angry and out of patience, and gave her a good beating, so that she cried out loudly. At that moment the Queen was going by ; as she heard the crying, she stopped; and, going into the house, she asked the mother why she was beating her daughter, so that every one outside in the street could hear her cries.
The woman was ashamed to tell of her daughter's laziness, so she said,
" I cannot stop her from spinning; she is for ever at it, and I am poor and cannot furnish her with flax enough." Then the Queen answered,
" I like nothing better than the sound of the spinning-wheel, and always feel happy when I hear its humming; let me take your daughter with me to the castle—I have plenty of flax, she shall spin there to her heart's content."
The mother was only too glad of the offer, and the Queen took the girl with her. When they reached the castle the Queen showed her three rooms which were filled with the finest flax as full as they could hold.
" Now you can spin me this flax," said she, " and when you can show it me all done you shall have my eldest son for bridegroom; you may be poor, but I make nothing of that— your industry is dowry enough."