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The Lazy Spinning-girl Who Became A Queen

Source: The Folk-tales Of The Magyars

A common woman had a daughter who was a very good worker, but she did
not like spinning; for this her mother very often scolded her, and one
day got so vexed that she chased her down the road with the distaff. As
they were running a prince passed by in his carriage. As the girl was
very pretty the prince was very much struck with her, and asked her
mother "What is the matter?" "How can I help it?" said the mother, "for,
after she has spun everything that I had, she asked for more flax to
spin." "Let her alone, my good woman," said the prince; "don't beat her.
Give her to me, let me take her with me, I will give her plenty to
spin. My mother has plenty of work that needs to be done, so she can
enjoy herself spinning as much as she likes." The woman gave her
daughter away with the greatest pleasure, thinking that what she was
unwilling to do at home she might be ashamed to shirk in a strange
place, and get used to it, and perhaps even become a good spinster after
all. The prince took the girl with him and put her into a large shed
full of flax, and said "If you spin all you find here during the month
you shall be my wife." The girl seeing the great place full of flax
nearly had a fit, as there was enough to have employed all the girls in
the village for the whole of the winter; nor did she begin to work, but
sat down and fretted over it, and thus three weeks of the month passed
by. In the meantime she always asked the person who took her her food,
"What news there was?" Each one told her something or other. At the end
of the third week one night, as she was terribly downcast, suddenly a
little man half an ell long, with a beard one and a-half ells long,
slipped in and said, "Why are you worrying yourself, you good, pretty
spinning-girl?" "That's just what's the matter with me," replied the
girl; "I am not a good spinster, and still they will believe that I am a
good spinster, and that's the reason why I am locked up here." "Don't
trouble about that," said the little man; "I can help you and will spin
all the flax during the next week if you agree to my proposal and
promise to come with me if you don't find out my name by the time that I
finish my spinning." "That's all right," said the girl, "I will go with
you," thinking that then the matter would be all right. The little dwarf
set to work. It happened during the fourth week that one of the
men-servants, who brought the girl's food, went out hunting with the
prince. One day he was out rather late, and so was very late when he
brought the food. The girl said, "What's the news?" The servant told her
that that evening as he was coming home very late he saw, in the forest,
in a dark ditch, a little man half an ell high, with a beard one and
a-half ells long, who was jumping from bough to bough, and spinning a
thread, and humming to himself:--"My name is Dancing Vargaluska. My
wife will be good spinster Sue."

Sue, the pretty spinning-girl, knew very well what the little man was
doing, but she merely said to the servant, "It was all imagination that
made you think you saw it in the dark." She brightened up; for she knew
that all the stuff would be spun, and that he would not be able to carry
her off, as she knew his name. In the evening the little man returned
with one-third of the work done and said to her, "Well, do you know my
name yet?"

"Perhaps, perhaps," said she; but she would not have told his real name
for all the treasures in the world, fearing that he might cease working
if she did. Nor did she tell him when he came the next night. On the
third night the little man brought the last load; but this time he
brought a wheelbarrow with him, with three wheels, to take the girl away
with him. When he asked the girl his name she said, "If I'm not mistaken
your name is Dancing Vargaluska."

On hearing this the little man rushed off as if somebody had pulled his

The month being up, the prince sent to see if the girl had completed her
work; and when the messenger brought back word that all was finished the
king was greatly astonished how it could possibly have happened that so
much work had been done in so short a time, and went himself,
accompanied by a great suite of gentlemen and court-dames, and gazed
with great admiration upon the vast amount of fine yarn they saw. Nor
could they praise the girl enough, and all found her worthy to be queen
of the land. Next day the wedding was celebrated, and the girl became
queen. After the grand wedding-dinner the poor came, and the king
distributed alms to them; amongst them were three deformed beggars, who
struck the king very much: one was an old woman whose eyelids were so
long that they covered her whole face; the second was an old woman
whose lower lip was so long that the end of it reached to her knee; the
third old woman's posterior was so flat that it was like a pancake.

These three were called into the reception-room and asked to explain why
they were so deformed. The first said, "In my younger days I was such a
good spinster that I had no rival in the whole neighbourhood. I spun
till I got so addicted to it that I even used to spin at night: the
effect of all this was that my eyelids became so long that the doctors
could not get them back to their places."

The second said, "I have spun so much during my life and for such a
length of time that with continually biting off the end of the yarn my
lips got so soft that one reached my knees."

The third said, "I have sat so much at my spinning that my posterior
became flat as it is now."

Hereupon the king, knowing how passionately fond his wife was of
spinning, got so frightened that he strictly prohibited her ever
spinning again.

The news of the story went out over the whole world, into every royal
court and every town; and the women were so frightened at what had
happened to the beggars that they broke every distaff, spinning-wheel,
and spindle, and threw them into the fire!

Next: The Envious Sisters

Previous: The Hunting Princes

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