ITALIANO

Le tre filatrici

ENGLISH

The three spinners


C'era una volta una ragazza pigra che non voleva filare; la madre poteva dire qualunque cosa, ma non riusciva a persuaderla. Un giorno la madre andò in collera e le scappò la pazienza, cosicché‚ la picchiò, ed ella incominciò a piangere forte. In quel momento passava di lì la regina, e quando sentì piangere fece fermare la carrozza, entrò in casa e domandò alla madre perché‚ picchiasse sua figlia, dato che si sentivano le grida da fuori.

Allora la donna si vergognò di dover rivelare la pigrizia di sua figlia e disse: "Non posso staccarla dal filatoio, vuole sempre e soltanto filare e io sono povera e non posso procurarle il lino." - "Ah," rispose la regina, "non c'è cosa che mi faccia più piacere del sentir filare e nulla mi rallegra di più del ronzio delle ruote: datemi vostra figlia, la porterò al castello; ho lino a sufficienza perché‚ fili quanto ne ha voglia." La madre acconsentì di cuore e la regina si prese la ragazza. Quando giunsero al castello, la condusse su in tre stanze piene da cima a fondo del più bel lino. "Filami questo lino," disse, "e quando avrai finito sposerai il mio figlio maggiore; anche se sei povera, non importa: il tuo zelo infaticabile è una dote sufficiente."

La fanciulla inorridì in cuor suo poiché‚ non avrebbe potuto filare quel lino nemmeno se fosse vissuta trecento anni, seduta là ogni giorno da mane a sera. Quando fu sola incominciò a piangere, e così rimase tre giorni senza muovere un dito. Il terzo giorno venne la regina e quando vide che non aveva ancora filato niente si meravigliò, ma la fanciulla si scusò dicendo che non aveva potuto cominciare per la grande tristezza di essere lontana dalla casa di sua madre. La regina accettò la scusa, ma andandosene disse: "Domani però devi incominciare a lavorare."

Quando la fanciulla fu di nuovo sola, non sapeva più a che santo votarsi e, triste, andò alla finestra. Vide avvicinarsi tre donne: la prima aveva un gran piedone, la seconda aveva il labbro inferiore così grosso che arrivava a coprirle il mento, e la terza un gran pollice largo. Quando furono davanti alla finestra, si fermarono, guardarono in su e offrirono il loro aiuto alla ragazza dicendo: "Se ci inviterai a nozze, se non ti vergognerai di noi, se ci chiamerai cugine e ci farai sedere alla tua tavola, ti fileremo tutto il lino in poco tempo." - "Di gran cuore!" rispose la fanciulla. "Entrate pure e incominciate subito il lavoro." Introdusse quelle strane donne nella prima stanza, fece un po' di spazio ed esse vi si accomodarono e presero a filare. La prima traeva il filo e calcava la ruota, la seconda lo inumidiva, la terza lo torceva e batteva con il dito sulla tavola e ogni volta che essa batteva, cadeva a terra una quantità di filato sottilissimo. Alla regina la fanciulla nascondeva le tre filatrici, e quando essa veniva le mostrava il mucchio di filato, tanto che la regina non smetteva più di lodarla. Quando la prima camera fu vuota, fu la volta della seconda, poi della terza, e ben presto fu sgombrata anche questa. Allora le tre donne presero congedo e dissero alla fanciulla: "Non dimenticare quel che ci hai promesso: sarà la tua fortuna."

Quando la fanciulla mostrò alla regina le stanze vuote e il gran mucchio di filato, questa preparò le nozze; lo sposo era contento di avere una moglie così abile e diligente e la lodava. "Ho tre cugine," disse la fanciulla. "Sono state molto buone con me e io non vorrei dimenticarle nella mia felicità: permettete che le inviti a nozze e che siedano alla nostra tavola?" La regina e lo sposo diedero volentieri il loro consenso.

Quando la festa incominciò, le tre zitelle entrarono stranamente abbigliate, e la sposa disse: "Siate le benvenute, care cugine." - "Ah," disse lo sposo, "che cosa ti lega a queste donne così brutte?" E andò da quella con il gran piedone e chiese: "Come mai avete un piede così largo?" - "A furia di calcare," rispose quella, "a furia di calcare." Allora lo sposo andò dalla seconda e disse: "Come mai avete quel labbro così cascante?" - "A furia di leccare," rispose, "a furia di leccare." Allora domandò alla terza: "Come mai avete il pollice così largo?" - "A furia di torcere il filo," rispose, "a furia di torcere il filo." Allora il principe inorridì e disse: "D'ora in poi la mia bella sposa non dovrà più toccare un filatoio!" E così la liberò da quell'impiccio.
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.




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