Monday, July 8, 2013

The Three Spinsters - A Fairytale - ESL Worksheet

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Hope your Monday has been easier than mine! I am on an archaic computer that uses linux and is suspicious of every possible link in existence. If I get my post out today it will be a miracle. (Here's to hope and determination!)

Today's activity is a story and questions, a fairytale in fact. It's taken from those published by the Brothers Grimm, but modified slightly in order to fit on one page.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to upload the PDF for some reason, but I've included the story and questions below. Printing it as is should you give about a page, but you can always decrease the font if need be. As soon as I can get to a library, I will upload the PDF, etc.

In any case, I hope you enjoy the story and thank you for visiting!

Illustration of al-Hariri Maqamat spinning wheel - Wikipedia


Once upon a time, there was a lazy girl named Rose. Rose was beautiful and for this her mother was very proud. However, Rose's mother did not know what to do with such a lazy girl. One day, Rose's mother told Rose to spin some flax. Rose did not do anything. Instead, she sat and looked at herself in the mirror. At the end of the day, Rose's mother found that Rose had not spun anything. She became very angry. She hit Rose and sent her out of the house.

Rose sat on the porch and began to cry. It so happened that the Queen was passing in her carriage, and heard Rose crying. The Queen looked and was amazed to see such a beautiful girl. She asked Rose what was the matter and Rose told her. The Queen took pity on Rose and took her to the palace.
Now this Queen had a great hall full of fine flax near the palace, but no one to spin it. The Queen had an idea. She told Rose: If you can spin all this flax in three days, you shall have the Prince for a husband. If you do not, then you must leave the palace. The Queen did not need wealth, but wanted a good and beautiful wife for her son. 

Rose did not know what to do. She knew that if she went back home her mother would be angry. Yet she was too lazy to spin all that flax. As Rose sat looking out of the window, three spinsters walked by. They were as ugly as ugly could be. One had a huge fat lip. Another had a huge flat foot. The third had a thumb as big as an egg. The three women stopped when they saw Rose crying. They asked her what was wrong. Rose told them.

The spinsters had an idea. They told Rose: We will spin all this flax for you on one condition. You must invite us to your wedding. You must call us your aunts and let us sit at the wedding table. Rose agreed and the women began right away. They worked for three days and nights without stop. When they were finished, there was a great hall full of the finest and softest linen you had ever seen. The spinsters told Rose: Do not forget what you promised us. We will see you on your wedding day.

The Queen was pleased and set a wedding date. On the day of the wedding, Rose's family came and so did the three spinsters. They all sat at the wedding table. The Prince was repulsed at the sight of the spinsters and asked Rose who they were. Rose told them that they were her aunts. The Prince asked the spinsters what gave them such a big lip, a big thumb and a large foot. They told the Prince it was from spinning all day. The Prince was so shocked that he told Rose never to touch a spinning wheel again. And so it came about that Rose was free from spinning forever


  1. Why was Rose sent outside?
  2. Why did the Queen take Rose to the palace?
  3. What task did the Queen give to Rose?
  4. Why did Rose agree to invite the three spinsters to her wedding?
  5. What is meant by "and so it came about"?
  6. Was the Queen was wise in choosing Rose for her son? Why or why not?
  7. Describe Rose. Choose from the following adjectives: smart, creative, good-looking,
    wealthy, clever, kind, selfish, active, silly, aggressive, lucky, friendly, elderly, single, simple, sophisticated, attractive, young, brave, bold, hardworking.


    • Is it okay to hit your children? Why or why not?
    • What is one lesson that can be learned from this story?
    • Describe the ideal husband and the ideal
    • wife.
    • Do you think that lazy behavior should be rewarded?
    • What kinds of lessons do fairy tales teach? How do you feel about them?
    • Give a summary of your favorite fairy tale. Write 5 sentences.
    • Why do you think fairy tales are still so popular?
    • THINK & WRITE Some people marry for beauty while others marry for wealth or status. Why do you think people do this? How do you feel about it?


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