ENGLISH

The three spinners

ESPAÑOL

Las tres hilanderas


There was once a girl who was lazy and would not spin, and her mother could not persuade her to it, do what she would. At last the mother became angry and out of patience, and gave her a good beating, so that she cried out loudly. At that moment the Queen was going by; as she heard the crying, she stopped; and, going into the house, she asked the mother why she was beating her daughter, so that every one outside in the street could hear her cries. The woman was ashamed to tell of her daughter's laziness, so she said, "I cannot stop her from spinning; she is for ever at it, and I am poor and cannot furnish her with flax enough." Then the Queen answered, "I like nothing better than the sound of the spinning-wheel, and always feel happy when I hear its humming; let me take your daughter with me to the castle - I have plenty of flax, she shall spin there to her heart's content." The mother was only too glad of the offer, and the Queen took the girl with her.

When they reached the castle the Queen showed her three rooms which were filled with the finest flax as full as they could hold.

"Now you can spin me this flax," said she, "and when you can show it me all done you shall have my eldest son for bridegroom; you may be poor, but I make nothing of that - your industry is dowry enough." The girl was inwardly terrified, for she could not have spun the flax, even if she were to live to be a hundred years old, and were to sit spinning every day of her life from morning to evening. And when she found herself alone she began to weep, and sat so for three days without putting her hand to it. On the third day the Queen came, and when she saw that nothing had been done of the spinning she was much surprised; but the girl excused herself by saying that she had not been able to begin because of the distress she was in at leaving her home and her mother. The excuse contented the Queen, who said, however, as she went away, "Tomorrow you must begin to work."

When the girl found herself alone again she could not tell how to help herself or what to do, and in her perplexity she went and gazed out of the window. There she saw three women passing by, and the first of them had a broad flat foot, the second had a big under-lip that hung down over her chin, and the third had a remarkably broad thumb. They all of them stopped in front of the window, and called out to know what it was that the girl wanted. She told them all her need, and they promised her their help, and said, "Then will you invite us to your wedding, and not be ashamed of us, and call us your cousins, and let us sit at your table; if you will promise this, we will finish off your flax-spinning in a very short time."

"With all my heart," answered the girl; "only come in now, and begin at once."

Then these same women came in, and she cleared a space in the first room for them to sit and carry on their spinning. The first one drew out the thread and moved the treddle that turned the wheel, the second moistened the thread, the third twisted it, and rapped with her finger on the table, and as often as she rapped a heap of yarn fell to the ground, and it was most beautifully spun. But the girl hid the three spinsters out of the Queen's sight, and only showed her, as often as she came, the heaps of well-spun yarn; and there was no end to the praises she received. When the first room was empty they went on to the second, and then to the third, so that at last all was finished. Then the three women took their leave, saying to the girl, "Do not forget what you have promised, and it will be all the better for you."

So when the girl took the Queen and showed her the empty rooms, and the great heaps of yarn, the wedding was at once arranged, and the bridegroom rejoiced that he should have so clever and diligent a wife, and praised her exceedingly.

"I have three cousins," said the girl, "and as they have shown me a great deal of kindness, I would not wish to forget them in my good fortune; may I be allowed to invite them to the wedding, and to ask them to sit at the table with us?" The Queen and the bridegroom said at once, "There is no reason against it."

So when the feast began in came the three spinsters in strange guise, and the bride said, "Dear cousins, you are welcome."

"Oh," said the bridegroom, "how come you to have such dreadfully ugly relations?" And then he went up to the first spinster and said, "How is it that you have such a broad flat foot?"

"With treading," answered she, "with treading." Then he went up to the second and said, "How is it that you have such a great hanging lip?"

"With licking," answered she, "with licking."

Then he asked the third, "How is it that you have such a broad thumb?"

"With twisting thread," answered she, "with twisting thread." Then the bridegroom said that from that time forward his beautiful bride should never touch a spinning-wheel. And so she escaped that tiresome flax-spinning.
Érase una niña muy holgazana que no quería hilar. Ya podía desgañitarse su madre, no había modo de obligarla. Hasta que la buena mujer perdió la paciencia de tal forma, que la emprendió a bofetadas, y la chica se puso a llorar a voz en grito. Acertaba a pasar en aquel momento la Reina, y, al oír los lamentos, hizo parar la carroza, entró en la casa y preguntó a la madre por qué pegaba a su hija de aquella manera, pues sus gritos se oían desde la calle. Avergonzada la mujer de tener que pregonar la holgazanería de su hija, respondió a la Reina:
- No puedo sacarla de la rueca; todo el tiempo se estaría hilando; pero soy pobre y no puedo comprar tanto lino.
Dijo entonces la Reina:
- No hay nada que me guste tanto como oír hilar; me encanta el zumbar de los tornos. Dejad venir a vuestra hija a palacio conmigo. Tengo lino en abundancia y podrá hilar cuanto guste.
La madre asintió a ello muy contenta, y la Reina se llevó a la muchacha. Llegadas a palacio, condújola a tres aposentos del piso alto, que estaban llenos hasta el techo de magnífico lino.
- Vas a hilarme este lino -le dijo-, y cuando hayas terminado te daré por esposo a mi hijo mayor. Nada me importa que seas pobre; una joven hacendosa lleva consigo su propia dote.
La muchacha sintió en su interior una gran congoja, pues aquel lino no había quien lo hilara, aunque viviera trescientos años y no hiciera otra cosa desde la mañana a la noche.
Al quedarse sola, se echó a llorar y así se estuvo tres días sin mover una mano. Al tercer día presentóse la Reina, y extrañóse al ver que nada tenía hecho aún; pero la moza se excusó diciendo que no había podido empezar todavía por la mucha pena que le daba el estar separada de su madre. Contentóse la Reina con esta excusa, pero le dijo:
- Mañana tienes que empezar el trabajo.
Nuevamente sola, la muchacha, sin saber qué hacer ni cómo salir de apuros, asomóse en su desazón, a la ventana y vio que se acercaban tres mujeres: la primera tenía uno de los pies muy ancho y plano; la segunda un labio inferior enorme, que le caía sobre la barbilla; y la tercera, un dedo pulgar abultadísimo. Las tres se detuvieron ante la ventana y, levantando la mirada, preguntaron a la niña qué le ocurría. Contóles ella su cuita, y las mujeres le brindaron su ayuda:
- Si te avienes a invitarnos a la boda, sin avergonzarte de nosotras, nos llamas primas y nos sientas a tu mesa, hilaremos para ti todo este lino en un santiamén.
- Con toda el alma os lo prometo -respondió la muchacha-. Entrad y podéis empezar ahora mismo.
Hizo entrar, pues, a las tres extrañas mujeres, y en la primera habitación desalojó un espacio donde pudieran instalarse.
Inmediatamente pusieron manos a la obra. La primera tiraba de la hebra y hacía girar la rueda con el pie; la segunda, humedecía el hilo, la tercera lo retorcía, aplicándolo contra la mesa con el dedo, y a cada golpe de pulgar caía al suelo un montón de hilo de lo más fino. Cada vez que venía la Reina, la muchacha escondía a las hilanderas y le mostraba el lino hilado; la Reina se admiraba, deshaciéndose en alabanzas de la moza. Cuando estuvo terminado el lino de la primera habitación, pasaron a la segunda, y después a la tercera, y no tardó en quedar lista toda la labor. Despidiéronse entonces las tres mujeres, diciendo a la muchacha:
- No olvides tu promesa; es por tu bien.
Cuando la doncella mostró a la Reina los cuartos vacíos y la grandísima cantidad de lino hilado, se fijó enseguida el día para la boda. El novio estaba encantado de tener una esposa tan hábil y laboriosa, y no cesaba de ponderarla.
- Tengo tres primas -dijo la muchacha-, a quienes debo grandes favores, y no quiero olvidarme de ellas en la hora de mi dicha. Permitidme, pues, que las invite a la boda y las siente a nuestra mesa.
A lo cual respondieron la Reina y su hijo:
- ¿Y por qué no habríamos de invitarlas?
Así, el día de la fiesta se presentaron las tres mujeres, magníficamente ataviadas, y la novia salió a recibirlas diciéndoles:
- ¡Bienvenidas, queridas primas!
- ¡Uf! -exclamó el novio-. ¡Cuidado que son feas tus parientas!
Y, dirigiéndose a la del enorme pie plano, le preguntó:
- ¿Cómo tenéis este pie tan grande?
- De hacer girar el torno -dijo ella-, de hacer girar el torno.
Pasó entonces el príncipe a la segunda:
- ¿Y por qué os cuelga tanto este labio?
- De tanto lamer la hebra -contestó la mujer-, de tanto lamer la hebra.
Y a la tercera
- ¿Y cómo tenéis este pulgar tan achatado?
- De tanto torcer el hilo -replicó ella-, de tanto torcer el hilo.
Asustado, exclamó el hijo de la Reina:
- Jamás mi linda esposa tocará una rueca.
Y con esto se terminó la pesadilla del hilado.




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