Story Saturday: The Little Seamstress (Once Upon a Time)

"The Little Seamstress"

Once upon a time, there was a poor girl living in a small village with her father. The two were in mourning for the tragic death of her mother, who taught her how to be a seamstress like she was. The girl, whose name was Beatrice, diligently took on her mother's profession and mended garments for the residents of the small village. One client named Prunella seemed to visit more and more often and spent a great deal of time talking to Beatrice's father. Prunella would bring things like a skirt with a missing button that appeared to be torn off or other clothes with small rips that did not look like they happened by accident. Soon, Beatrice learned that the woman was to become her new stepmother.

On the night of her father's wedding, Prunella demanded a gift from her soon-to-be stepdaughter. Beatrice had little to offer. She tried offering a prized pincushion, some of her finest needles, and even her favorite spool of fabric that shimmered like silk. Prunella scoffed at all of these offerings and accused Beatrice of not truly wanting to have her as her new mother. Eager to please her father, Beatrice insisted that wasn't true and asked Prunella what she could do to make up for her transgressions. Prunella pointed to the heart-shaped ruby amulet that Beatrice wore around her neck, the last thing her mother had given her before her death. When Beatrice explained that the necklace belonged to her mother, Prunella only insisted that was more reason for her to have it since she was to become the girl's mother. Beatrice could not come up with a valid argument for that, and so she lost her precious amulet to her new stepmother.


Over the next few years, tragedy struck, and Beatrice lost her father in a carriage accident. Prunella's heart never softened. She forced Beatrice to sew fine clothes for her at all hours of the night while she slept comfortably in her room. She kept her door locked all the time and told Beatrice that she was never to enter under any circumstances. Now that her father was gone, Beatrice had nothing keeping her tied to the house with her awful stepmother. She devised a plan. While Prunella was asleep, Beatrice practiced the art of lockpicking with the pins and needles that she was so familiar with from her work. When she felt she had thoroughly mastered the skill, she used her tools to break into her stepmother's room one night while Prunella was fast asleep. Inside the room, she found her mother's necklace glittering in the moonlight on the nightstand. Careful not to wake her stepmother, she stuffed it in a bag with some of her finest gowns and slipped out of the house, never to be seen again.

Beatrice ran deep into the forest with no means of survival aside from the dresses she planned to sell to passing travelers. All she knew was that she could never return to that awful village again. After sleeping many nights in the woods and surviving on berries and river water, she finally came upon a beautiful kingdom with picturesque houses and a tall shimmering castle. Beatrice attempted to sell her dresses at a local marketplace, but no one wanted to buy anything from such a filthy girl who appeared out of nowhere. Soon, one of the local vendors took pity on her and gave her a tip about an opening for a maid at the palace. Beatrice did her best to clean herself up and applied for the job.

As it turned out, the king and queen were planning a huge festival that took place celebrated every year, and they needed help tailoring and mending their finest clothing for their sons and daughters. When Beatrice demonstrated her skills with a needle and thread, they were impressed and decided to give her the job. Over the next few weeks, Beatrice was busy helping with all the preparations. She met several of the princes and princesses for fittings and was taken with one prince in particular, who was fascinated by her delicate stitches and diligent work.

When the day came for the festival, Beatrice wore one of the fine gowns she had brought with her that no one wanted to buy at the market and pinned her hair in the same way she had seen the princesses and ladies at court do. As the finishing touch, she wore her mother's heart-shaped amulet, which made her feel closer to her than ever now that she was no longer trapped by Prunella's cruelty. When she entered the ballroom, everyone was impressed by her fine gown and assumed she was a visiting noble from a foreign land. The prince, however, immediately recognized her for who she was. He realized that she was not only a skilled seamstress but also a gentle and graceful dancer. He proposed to her on the spot, and she wore the same jewel on the day they were married. The prince and the little seamstress lived happily ever after.

Comments

Sugar said…
Very nice story! It seemed to me something like "Cinderella without a fairy godmother where the prince already knows who she is". Also although it is not a story about "a woman kicks butt" I think it is in tune with current ideals: a girl who saves herself from her evil stepmother, who gets recognition thanks to her abilities, "transforms" with a dress made for herself and marries a man who has known her since before she put on the pretty dress but without forgetting that sometimes we need help from others.
Also all these stories about evil stepmothers require the father to either be fooled by the woman's acting skills or be innocent to the point of looking a bit silly for not realizing that his new wife is just as evil and not like his kind first wife hahaha­čśů
Lisa Dawn said…
Yup, it was definitely Cinderella inspired! I'm betting the new Snow White movie will be similar in terms of the king not being very smart before he dies while Snow White will have more agency.

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