It was supposed to be a normal November day. You were in your house, brooming the dust and grain powder off the floor of your kitchen, when you heard a commotion outside your front door. It was your father and the king of your kingdom, having an argument about the importance of your father's work.
"Please, my Lord, the village needs the flour. How else will we make bread?" Your father pleaded to the king. Your father was a miller who made his living by grinding wheat and grain into flour in order to sell it to the market. You often helped him and used the leftover flour to sell baked goods over the weekends. It was not a very rich lifestyle but made a decent living.
"I want the money. Either you will pay more taxes or I will tear your mill down." The selfish king replied. No matter how much your father begged him to reconsider he refused to change his decision. Shifting yourself a bit, you did the best you could to hide yourself behind the curtains as you peeked through the window to eavesdrop. You feared that your family would lose your home. You knew you and your father would not be able to afford giving up any more money.
"Please, isn't there anything else I can do?" Your father asked him.
"Unless you have something of value, I have no other use for you." The king said sharply. Your father looked like he was going to burst into tears.
That was when things changed.
"My daughter," your father said suddenly. "My daughter can spin straw into gold."
"What?" The king scoffed. "If that's true, then why are you still so poor?"
we do not have a spinning wheel. But it's true! She can spin straw into gold! Please, take her! Ask her to do it!" Your father sounded almost hysterical. You weren't sure what he was even talking about. It was impossible to spin straw into pure gold. Even if it was possible, you didn't know how to use a spinning wheel. It was something your mother never got to teach you before she passed away. You stopped looking through the window, quickly letting the curtain fall back into place, and tried to creep back into your room when you winced. Your father was calling your name. By orders of the king, you had to come out of the house.
"So this is your legendary daughter?" The king crossed his arms and examined you once you walked through the front door. "She is pretty, but we will determine her value yet." He ordered one of his men to sit you onto his horse before exchanging final words with your father and getting back into his carriage. You looked desperately at your father both in shock and betrayal. Why? You thought. Why did you give me away?
was the last thing he mouthed to you before he went back into your house and shut the door.
"Get her in that room." The king told his assistants. They saluted in response before grabbing your arm and escorting you to a room full of straw. A single dusty spinning wheel stood in the middle of the room next to a wooden stool. You were pushed toward the stool before you turned around to look at them. "As you can see, this room is covered in straw. I want you to spin all the straw into gold by tomorrow morning. If you cannot do it, then I'll cut off your head." The king explained to you. "Let's see what she can do." He chuckled to himself before leaving the room with his men. The door shut behind him and locked with a loud click.
As soon as they were gone, you fell to your knees and sat down to hold your reeling head. "What am I going to do?" You whispered to yourself. "This is impossible." At first you looked around the room, seeing if there was any window you could escape from or hidden trapdoor you could hide in until you found a way out. There were only a couple of windows in the room but they were blocked with heavy metal bars that you knew you would not be able to break. You searched all the walls, floor, and even ceiling but there was no other door than the one that you had entered to get into the room. Without a better idea, you went to the spinning wheel and tried to figure out how to use it, hoping to remember what you saw other women did when they made thread.
You sat in the stool and tried stringing some straw into the machine, knowing you were probably doing it wrong. The wheel was not able to spin so you tried to force it in desperation, ending up with a bruise on your arm from bumping into the spindle. You realized, after hearing a horrible grinding sound that the spinning wheel had broken as well. You yelled in frustration and ran to the door, pounding on it, willing even to break it. "Help! Let me out!" You screamed. No one was coming. After pounding on the door long enough, you walked back to the stool and cried, knowing you would do or say almost anything in order for the king to spare your life.
The door in front of you clicked again as it unlocked. You were startled, wondering if the king was coming back into the room and raised your head toward it. The door opened slowly to reveal a beautiful young man with short blond hair and mysterious green eyes. He had strange bushy eyebrows and clothes that seemed foreign to the ones the villagers wore in your town. His mischievous smile turned into one of surprise as he found you sobbing in the room.
"A beautiful lady should not be crying in a locked room all by herself." He whispered to you gently. "What seems to be the problem?"
he wants me to use the spinning wheel to spin all the straw in this room into gold. Otherwise he'll kill me. But, but that's impossible! What am I supposed to do?" You answered him. You weren't sure why you trusted him but he didn't seem like he was going to hurt you. He contemplated your response for a bit, the mischievous look returning to his face.
"Suppose I could do it? What will you give me in exchange?" He said, glancing over at the broken spinning wheel. You stared at him in confusion, wondering how on earth he could even do such a feat. Still, you regarded his question and fingered the necklace around your neck.
"I will give you this. It belonged to my mother
but I will be willing to part with it if it would save my life," you replied. He smiled at you and bowed before he sat on the stool in front of the wheel. With swift and expert hands, he quickly fixed the spinning wheel back to its original state. Then he brought handfuls of straw and spun it through the machine. You looked in surprise as the dull and dusty straw turned into a long and shiny string made of gold. Once the last stalk of straw had transformed into gold with his magic, he stood up and smiled at you again.
"I have done the task. Is this alright?" He asked. You were still shocked but nodded and removed the necklace, gently putting it into his outstretched hand.
did you do that? What type of person are you?" You asked him. You couldn't help but notice at how empty the room was now that all the straw had turned into a neat golden coil next to the wheel.
"I suppose you can call me a traveler of sorts. Or a magician if you prefer." He laughed. He started to get off the stool and turn towards the door. You realized he was getting ready to leave.
"Wait! Can you teach me how to do that? In case I am asked to spin the straw again?" You called after him. He shook his head and gave a small frown.
"I cannot do that. And a magician cannot reveal all his secrets, you know."
"Then, will we meet again?"
"If that will please you, then I will be happy to visit you." He said, placing a kiss on the back of your hand before bowing again. "Unfortunately I must leave before your king finds me here. We do not want him to know what really happened. I wish you the best of luck, milady."
"[Name]. My name is [Name]." You said.
"[Name]. That's very beautiful."
"Can you tell me your name?" You asked, wanting to know that at least before he left.
just call me England for now." A peculiar expression briefly crossed his face.
"Thank you then, England." You whispered. He smiled again and waved goodbye before turning around and going through the front door, closing it behind him.