It all started with a myth...
According to Celtic Fairy legends, a woman told her daughter to spin flax into yarn; however, the girl did not like to spin, preferring to wander the meadows instead. As the girl was toiling in the meadow, fussing about how she did not want to do her chores, she came across a little old lady fairy with a prominent hairlip. After hearing the girl’s complaints, the fairy, named Habetrot, offered to spin the flax for the girl. Happily, the girl agreed.
The yarn that the fairy returned to her was so finely spun and so luxuriously soft that the girl’s mother bragged throughout the village about her daughter’s talents as a spinner. Unfortunately, the laird overhead and asked the mother to have the girl spin more flax for him.
The girl was NOT happy. She went back to the meadow and called out to Habetrot for help. Habetrot, taking pity on the girl, agreed to spin the flax for the laird so that the girl could pretend it was from her.
The laird was so impressed with the yarn that he married the girl. As a wedding present, though, he gave his new bride a large room, with a giant spinning wheel and mountains of flax to spin.
Needless to say, the girl was REALLY NOT happy.
She went back to Habetrot who told her to bring the laird to Habetrot.
Now, Scantlie Mab, another old woman fairy who worked with Habetrot, was worried that too many people would find out where the fairies lived if the Habetrot was going to meet with the laird, but Habetrot assured Scantlie Mab that all would be fine.
When the girl and the laird arrived, Habetrot took them to her workshop under the hill after telling them that only they would be granted magical permission to see inside. There, in the workshop, were a number of fairies—all old ladies, all with hairlips, and each was hunched over a spinning wheel. As the laird marveled at Habetrot’s workshop, Habetrot looked him in the eye and told him that if he planned on making his young bride continue to spin, then she, too, would grow old, shriveled, and develop a hairlip just like Habetrot and the other spinners.
The laird immediately forbade his bride from ever spinning, again.
But, really, who do you think is the real winner of this story?
Below, check out a brief video explaining the Habetrot legend.