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The Lazy Spinner

In a certain village there once lived a man and his wife, and the wife was so idle that she would never work at anything; whatever her husband gave her to spin, she did not get done, and what she did spin she did not wind, but let it all remain entangled in a heap. If the man scolded her, she was always ready with her tongue, and said, "Well, how should I wind it, when I have no reel? Just you go into the forest and get me one." "If that is all," said the man, "then I will go into the forest, and get some wood for making reels." Then the woman was afraid that if he had the wood he would make her a reel of it, and she would have to wind her yarn off, and then begin to spin again. She bethought herself a little, and then a lucky idea occurred to her, and she secretly followed the man into the forest, and when he had climbed into a tree to choose and cut the wood, she crept into the thicket below where he could not see her, and cried,

“He who cuts wood for reels shall die,

And he who winds, shall perish."

The man listened, laid down his axe for a moment, and began to consider what that could mean. "Hollo," he said at last, "what can that have been; my ears must have been singing, I won't alarm myself for nothing." So he again seized the axe, and began to hew, then again there came a cry from below:

“He who cuts wood for reels shall die,

And he who winds shall perish."

He stopped, and felt afraid and alarmed, and pondered over the circumstance. But when a few moments had passed, he took heart again, and a third time he stretched out his hand for the axe, and began to cut. But some one called out a third time, and said loudly,

"He who cuts wood for reels shall die,

And he who winds, shall perish."

That was enough for him, and all inclination had departed from him, so he hastily descended the tree, and set out on his way home. The woman ran as fast as she could by by-ways so as to get home first. So when he entered the parlour, she put on an innocent look as if nothing had happened, and said, "Well, have you brought a nice piece of wood for reels?

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