In a couple of weeks I will be spinning at the museum again. So I will give the audience a choice: Do you want to hear a fairy tale you already know or one you have never heard before?
I thought I would find an obscure, lovely fairy tale about wool or spinning, but then I couldn’t sleep and wrote one that is completely true.
Once upon a time, a girl went out into the world to make her luck.
The first town she came to was the town of wooden beads. She thought it was a very nice town, because she had never seen so many different wooden beads. Everyone in the town seemed to really like their wooden beads, people carried them with themselves in little bags all the time, so the girl thought these were conscientious, intelligent, loving people.
After a few years, the girl noticed that she was wrong about the town and the people and their reasons, so she left to find a better town.
Then she found the place of music. Here, everyone was a musician. There was so much music and dance, people were creating all the time. Surely these were perfect people. So our girl stayed in the town, started wearing the same colourful clothes as the artists and hoped to one day be useful to the artists.
But the artists could not keep the girl in their town either. Because while they were doing all their creative work, the boring work of looking after the town was neglected.
So the girl left and tried to find somewhere better.
Then the girl came to a wonderful, big town, like nothing she had ever seen. She first was afraid of the town, it seemed so very alive with everything. Each person in that town had a heart and they took care to touch each other so their hearts, little by little, grew. With every touch, the hearts became more colourful, pumped a little more strongly and began to affect everything around them. Then everything became more colourful, people smiled and life looked better every day. The hearts pumped and smiled so that it could be felt from far away.
But these shiny bunches of hearts were also visible to dragons. So one day, just when a bunch of hearts was shining together happily, and the girl was at the centre, a horrible, dark dragon flew in, grabbed the girl by the neck and carried her into his turret in the middle of a dark forest.
There she lived, alone and without the shiny hearts around her. Her heart was remembering the warm touches and kept beating, but after many many weeks it started to slow down. It shrivelled without the light and touch from the other hearts. It was sad.
The girl kept living like this for a long time. One day, just when she had nearly stopped remembering that she had a heart, she met a wise woman on one of her daily routes through the dark and lonely forest.
‘You have a very big bag that seems very light’, says the girl. ‘It is a fleece from a Jacob sheep, it comes in all colours at once’, answers the wise woman.
‘Would you like to learn how to spin it?’
The girl was very happy and said yes. The wise woman showed the girl how to spin and gave her a spinning wheel.
The girl still had all her chores to do, but now when it was evening, she looked forward to trying her spinning wheel. She span the whole fleece from the Jacob sheep and made a sweater.
She kept doing her many chores, and the next year at the same place, she met another wise woman. ‘You have a very, very big bag that seems very light’, says the girl to the wise woman. ‘Fleece from my magic little sheep’, the woman says.
She gave the girl four fleeces and the girl was very happy and looked forward to spinning the fleeces in the evenings after doing her chores.
The year after, the girl had so many chores that she couldn’t even go out to that place where she has mer the wise women. She didn’t think much of it, but one day her neighbour came to see her and they talked about wool and spinning. The neighbour, who was a wise woman too, invited the girl in.
‘You have a very small machine that seems very heavy’, says the girl to the woman. ‘It is a knitting machine. Would you like to learn how to use it?’
So she showed the girl how to use the magic knitting machine.
The girl lived like this for many years and grew up to become a woman herself. One day a white dragon appeared from underneath her floor.
Because she was making so many things, all the magic that was falling off the fleeces and the yarn had been feeding it. The white dragon looked as scary as the big, angry, black dragon that had taken the girl away. The woman was very afraid to see it. But it wasn’t scary. It took on the big, scary, black dragon in a fight and the big dragon was conquered.
The woman could finally leave.
She thought she would just quietly live in a small town and not ever feel the touching hearts again. But one day she took out her spinning wheel and wore her wool jacket she had made on her knitting machine and her heart was healed and was so happy that it nearly jumped out of her chest and touched the people around her who also felt their hearts heal and it turns out she didn’t miss the big town anymore at all because she had learned how to make her heart whole again.