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Mon, 25 Aug 2008
The First of the Old Stories from the Islands. This one is from the Shetland Isles, I hope you enjoy it.

And now  for a story from the Shetland Isles, it was written a long time ago, it is almost a fairy tale and it is called:           
The Little Spinner at the Window

       Long ago, far away in the Shetland Islands, there lived a little lame girl called Grete. Her home was built on the shore of a voe, or sea lake, that ran quite a distance inland. It was built of rough stones, and had only one window.
        The roof was covered with green sods, with big white daisies and other flowers growing on it; wreathed, too, with ropes of seaweed, wound round stone to stop the sods from being blown off in the high winds. There was no garden but the ground was covered in fine white sand, full of little pink and white and yellow shells, for the green waves curled at its edge only a little way off.
        There was a fire of peat in the middle of its only room, and as there was no chimney the smoke had to find its own way out, so the walls looked black and dismal. Then a calf or some lambs, or even some little pigs would share the fireside in cold weather. There was very little furniture, because Grete and her Mum were very poor. But they did have a spinning-wheel and they spun the sheeps wool into yarn, and knitted thick stockings and clothes for the fishermen.
        On a sunny summer day the little island looked like fairyland, with other fairy islands shining in the distannce; but Grete, who would sit at the window with her spinning-wheel and look out upon the island, knew it in winter storms as well, and was afraid of the great sea which had caused her father's death and her own lameness. For poor little Grete couldn't run about and join in the games. Often for days she had to lie on her back, bearing a cruel pain that sometimes drew tears to her eyes.
        One day when the sea roared and the spray  struck against the small window, dimming it so that  it was imposible to see out of it, Grete whose  leg ached badly, was lying on the bed by the window. For once the girl's busy fingers were idle as she watched a big spider beginning to spin his web in the  corner of the window. When she first  noticed him he was running a line from one corner to the other, then he went back to the middle and made a line fast to another corner, and, after making a sort of wheel with a lot of spokes all joining in the middle, he started off and began to work in rounds.
        How clever he was! And he went round so fast he made Grete feel quite giddy. The spider somhow seemed to grow bigger and bigger, and his covered more and more of the window and was getting as white as snow. Slowly he seemed to change, he was no longer a spider, but a trow, a queer little man with a face like a rosy, dried-up apple. And the trow nodded his head at her, and said in a tiny voice.
"Watch me Grete and you shall know how to knit."
Posted 16:53

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