Saturday, May 02, 2009

Why must I spin, spin, spin all the time?

In the small room off the court where there was sun on fine days, her younger sister, Morgause, thirteen years old and budding, wearing a loose house robe of undyed wool and her old frowsy cloak about her shoulders, was spinning listlessly with a drop spindle, taking up her uneven yarn on a wobbly reel.  On the floor by the fire, Morgaine was rolling an old spindle around for a ball, watching the erratic patterns the uneven cylinder made, knocking it this way and that with chubby fingers.

"Haven't I done enough spinning?" Margause complained.  "My fingers ache! Why must I spin, spin, spin all the time, as if I were a waiting-woman?"

"Every lady must learn to spin," rebuked Igraine as she knew she ought to do, " and your thread is a disgrace, now thick, now thin... Your fingers will lose their weariness as you accustom them to the work.  Aching fingers are a sign that you have been lazy, since they are not hardened to their task."  She took the reel and spindle from Morgause and twirled it with careless ease; the uneven yarn, under her experienced fingers, smoothed out into a thread of perfectly even thickness. "Look, one could weave this yarn without snagging the shuttle..." and suddenly she tired of behaving as she ought. "But you may put the spindle away now; guests will be here before midafternoon." (p. 5-6, The Mist of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Random House Publishing Group, 1982.)

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