The Three Spinners

the-three-spinners-fairy-tale

Faith of Our Fairy Tales #11 (Original story / photo)

Story Scripture: …The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. – 1 Samuel 16:7

Story Saying: That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste. – John Green

Behind the Story: Once there was a woman who had a daughter who was very idle and would not spin. No matter what she said, the woman could not get her daughter to spin. One day, the woman became very angry and beat the girl. It just so happened that the queen was driving by, and when she heard the girl crying she stopped her carriage and went inside the house. The woman was ashamed to tell the queen that she was beating her daughter because she was idle. Instead, she lied and said that she was beating her daughter because she was such a good spinner and would not stop, but because the mother was poor, she could not afford to buy flax.

The queen was delighted to hear this because nothing made her happier than hearing the hum of spinning wheels. She took the girl with her to the castle where she had three rooms full of flax and told her to spin all of it. If she did so, the queen would let her marry her oldest son. Of course, the girl could not spin, and for three days she did nothing but cry. When the queen comes to check on her she wants to know why no flax has been spun. The girl says she is distressed at leaving her mother, and the queen understands but tells her to begin working.

After the queen leaves, three women appear at the window. One has a large foot, the second has a large lip, and the third has a large thumb. When the girl tells them of the dilemma she is in, they offer to spin all of the flax for her if she agrees to invite them to her wedding, call them her aunts, and not be ashamed of them. The girl agrees to this and the women set to work. The first uses her large foot to work the wheel. The second uses her large lip to lick the thread. The third uses her big thumb to twist the thread. In a short amount of time, they have spun all three rooms of flax.

The queen is very pleased and gives her oldest son in marriage to the girl. At the wedding, the girl keeps her promise and invites her three “aunts” to attend. When the prince sees them, he is taken aback by their deformities and asks how they got such a large foot, large lip, and large thumb. They tell him it is from working the spinning wheel, licking the thread, and twisting the thread. The prince is alarmed and thinking that the same will happen to his beautiful bride, he declares she will never have to touch a spinning wheel again.

Even though the ending turns out happily for her, the idle girl who would not spin is not the heroine of this story. She is lazy and she is a liar. She built her relationship with the queen and acquired her husband through deceit by concealing the fact that she could not spin and that her “aunts” were the ones who actually did all of the work. The queen valued her because she thought she was hard-working and diligent (which she wasn’t). But the prince valued her for her looks. He thought that spinning (which she didn’t do anyway), would make his bride ugly. It is apparent that outward beauty was more important to the prince than industriousness, intelligence, ability, and honesty.

It really is ridiculous to want to be around someone because they’re pretty. Outward physical beauty fades but inward intangible qualities such as kindness and goodness only make a heart more lovely with age. When this idle girl is an old woman with wrinkles around her eyes and sagging skin, will the prince still value her? What we look like is not what makes us beautiful. The things we say, the way we think, and what we do are what makes us beautiful.

The real heroines of this story are the girl’s three ugly “aunts”. Their looks did not make them beautiful. What they did and the way in which they did it, made them beautiful. Because of her lies, the idle girl’s life could have ended up very horribly if they had not shown her kindness and spun all the flax for her without taking any credit.

The idle girl does get brownie points, however, for keeping her promise and not being ashamed of the “aunts” who helped her. Regardless of their looks, she invited them to her wedding and made them apart of her family. We should strive to see people the way God does, and appreciate and value them for their heart and not their appearance.

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