Fiber Folklore: The Flaxen Haired Maiden

Heroines in fairy tales were often referred to as “flaxen haired”, because a freshly prepared strick (bundle) of flax resembles long, pale blond hair. And in those same tales, the fiber that the maiden spun was usually flax. Here is a typical story:

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful flaxen haired young girl who was to wed a handsome prince. She was a lazy spinner, and whenever the flax became tangled, she’d throw it on the floor. This maiden had a beautiful, industrious servant girl, who saved the tangles, combed and spun them into fine thread, from which she made herself a a lovely linen gown. On the eve of the wedding, the prince found out about the situation. He realized that his betrothed was lazy and wasteful, unlikely to be a good wife. In her stead, the prince married the servant girl. And they lived happily ever after.

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