Posted by: bschutzgruber | April 18, 2021

Fiber Folktales -The Three Aunts

This month’s post weaves together my two great artistic loves: fiber and stories

When I studied comparative folklore in college and grad school I was drawn to the old stories from all parts of the world that featured spinning, weaving and stitch work as tests of worthiness and as ways to outwit adversaries. I began collecting these stories and they have been the foundation for my storytelling programs over the past 35 years as a professional storyteller.

The Aarne-Thompson-Uther (ATU) classification system of indices classify, organize and analyze folklore narratives. Included are the Motif-Index and Tale Type Index which catalogues some 2,500 basic plots from which European and Near Eastern storytellers have built their tales. During the pandemic I worked on a retelling of ATU 501 Magical Helpers – The Three Spinners. It’s a story about a girl who must complete three tasks and receives help from thee very unusual women.

I chose the Norwegian version, The Three Aunts, as my starting point and had wonderful discussions with an international and varied group of flax spinners, linen weavers, and bespoke tailors as I worked the story.

For your enjoyment I present The Three Aunts.
(If you don’t see the YouTube video – click on the story title.)

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