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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

Weaving Through Fairy Tales - The Three Spinners 三個紡紗女

"The Three Spinners" (also The Three Spinning Women; German: Die drei Spinnerinnen) is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in Grimm's Fairy Tales.

It has obvious parallels to Rumpelstiltskin and Frau Holle, and obvious differences, so that they are often compared.

Once there was a beautiful-but-lazy girl named Sarah who would not spin. While her mother beats her for it, the Queen, passing by, overhears and asks the reason for the punishment. Ashamed to admit that Sarah is lazy, the woman replies that Sarah spins so much that her mother cannot afford to buy enough flax to keep her occupied. The Queen, impressed by such industry, offers to take Sarah with her.

Once at the castle, the queen takes the girl to a room filled with flax. If she spins it all within three days, she'll be rewarded with marriage to the queen's oldest son. Two days later, the queen returns and is amazed to find the flax untouched. The Sarah pleads that homesickness has kept her from spinning, but she realizes that excuse will not serve her twice.

Three women appear in the room that night. One has a grotesquely swollen foot; the second, an overgrown thumb; the third, a pendulous lip. They offer to spin all the flax for the girl if she will invite them to her wedding, introduce them as her aunts, and seat them at the high table. She agrees, and they commence and complete the spinning.

In the morning, the queen is satisfied to see the flax all spun. She arranges for the wedding to her son, the prince, and the girl asks to invite her "aunts". When they appear, the king asks how they came to have such deformities, and the three explain that they come from their years of spinning-the foot from treading, the lip from licking, and the thumb from twisting thread. The king forbids his beautiful daughter-in-law to spin again.

The Venice Carnevale is all about fairy tales, and local Italians prefer painted faces to masks.

The medieval streets are perfect backdrops for these kind of photography. Pick your travel destinations and seasons well, and you will be rewarded with the best photo opportunities.

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