(original Italian draft Le tre filatrici - Riflessioni e considerazioni)
A disconcerting story? Uneducational? A joke perhaps?
A do-nothing liar who winds up in the best possible way.
This couldn’t possibly be our moral!
We’d rather accept what the queen says “You may be poor, but I make nothing of that: your industry is dowry enough”
Effort, skill, success. These would be ethical teachings!
Or would they?
It took me a while to put things together.
On one occasion it occurred to me to tell this story to a couple that would go on and on complaining about how lazy and indolent their daughter was. She wasn’t appreciative of the cultural vacations they took her on, or of the museums they visited together, or of the classes they signed her up for. All she wanted was to play, and she was very close to a friend that they considered to be little more than a savage.
This fable left them stunned. They demanded that I explain it to them at once.
Unfortunately what is explained to us by others doesn’t hold the same value of what we discover ourselves. At the time they wouldn’t bother to consider this, so I just shared my discoveries with them.
This fable wouldn’t be bothered meddling with your everyday moral trivialities.
It looks to be as straightforward as possible, and avoids mentioning any positive qualities that could trick our thoughts.
It doesn’t want to create any doubts. The young girl holds no virtue, and no merit.
It must be clear! She can’t do anything and she doesn’t even want to.
In comparison, “The Golden Goose”’s Simpleton makes an effort, he wills and he insists.
Here the young girl can only lie to avoid being shamed.
She finds herself in the castle, set to marry the prince with mountains of linen to spin without ever having intended to do such things.
Desperate, all she knows how to do is looking out the window.
This fable is extremely honest.
Our protagonist isn’t a paragon of skill and virtue.
She’s a person like any of us, who get out of bed in the morning and run around all day hiding our inconfessable sloth.
We do what we do to avoid the worst.
Yet we are asked to do the things we don’t know how to do.
It doesn’t matter if we ended up in such situations because of others. It doesn’t matter if what we are asked is far beyond our possibilities. It doesn’t matter if we never intended to be surrounded by impossible amounts of work.
At times we may be in deep to our necks and still maintain our attitude, pretending like everything is under our control and all we can do is take time, make up excuses.
We can’t always do what is expected of us, therefore we can’t always be men and women of virtue, or sincere.
The tale isn’t trivial to the point of confronting us with impossible examples of perfection that would make us feel inadequate or guilty.
It seeks to help us.
What message is it trying to convey?
First of all that the girl reaches out the window, sees the spinsters and is presented with an offer of help.
Help comes from the outside! This is the first teaching.
Shutting ourselves into a room, to try and manage or to cry alone, we won’t receive any help.
What the fable wants to be clear is that the girl will live a splendid life because she doesn’t feel ashamed for the help she received.
Those who reach a certain status can weave themselves into a web of relationships and duties to the point of forgetting people that were once very dear to them.
There is no time to spare for others. They’re not part of the circle and they wouldn’t belong.
The young girl from our story does not forget about the spinsters.
She wants them by her side on the day of her wedding. She welcomes them in the most sincere and loving fashion.
The prince won’t understand what binds her to those old, goofy hags.However the girl doesn’t care about their appearances, and shows no shame in front of the prince.
This marks the beginning of her fortune.
And to me, this looks like a really ethical story, am I right?