THE GOLD SPINNER.
" Oh !" she replied, " I have all this straw to spin into gold, and I know not how to do it."
" What will you give me," said the little man, " if I spin it for you ?"
" My neck ribbon," she said.
The man took the ribbon, seated himself before the spinning-wheel, and as the wheel went whirr, whirr, whirr, three times, the spool was full of gold. Then he fastened on more straw, and after three turns of the wheel the spool was a second time full; and so he went on all night, and before the morning dawned the straw was all spun and the spools full of gold. Then he left her.
At sunrise the king came to the chamber, but when he caught sight of the glittering gold, he was first astonished and then full of joy. But his heart was greedy for gold, so he led the millers daughter into another chamber fuTl of straw, and much larger than the former, and ordered her, as she valued her life, to spin that into gold before sunrise next morning.
The maiden, when left alone, could only weep, for she knew it was an impossible task. But in the evening the same little man again appeared, and said, "What will you give me if I spin all this straw into gold ?"
" My ring from my finger," answered the maiden.
The little man took the ring, set to work at the spinning-wheel, and before morning the whole of the straw was spun into gold.
The king gloated with delight over the glittering heap, but he was not yet satiated with gold. So he led the maiden into a still larger room full of straw, and said, " You must spin for me during one more night, and if all this straw is spun into gold by the morning, then you shall be my wife."
" Although she is a miller's daughter," thought the king, " I could not find a richer wife in the whole world."
No sooner was the maiden alone, than the mannikin again appeared for the third time, and said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time ?"
"I have nothing more that I can give," answered the maiden.
" Then promise when you are queen to give me your first child,* said the little man.
"Who knows if I shall ever be queen," thought the maiden;