Fairy Tale Friday: The Three Spindles

The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales

Franz Xaver von Schönwerth

pg. 107-8

Ah, this one had an interesting plot.

A farmer’s daughter is kicked out of her home (it doesn’t say why) and rescues a “wood sprite” from “the devil’s hunters, hoards of demons that rode in the winter storms” (107). Yay for that kind of imagery and concept (even if I’m more positive toward demons).

Out of thanks, the wood sprite,  identified as “she”, lets her rescuer live with her (107). While there, the farmer’s daughter joins two other wood sprites in “sitting and spinning moss onto spindles” (107).  I love the imagery of that.

Time passes and she gives birth to a boy. (I wonder how that happened.) The wood sprites are happy about this and want him to stay with them. She agrees and is given spindles that will let her “want for nothing” as long as she takes care of them (108).

On her return home, her family don’t recognize her “for she was covered all over in moss” but she is soon married and blessed by fortune. This is also a great image. Moss seems to be a visual theme here.

It ends by saying she “never forgot her promise” and would bake little cakes for the wood sprites and leave them on the stump which leads to their home.  I liked how she kept her promise. But what happened to her son?

There’s a Rumplestiltskin allusion with mysterious forces wanting a woman’s child.


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