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it is only fair to add that wages of mechanics
and labourers are, at the present crisis,
enormous. From one pound to twenty-five
shillings per day being not infrequently paid
to some descriptions of artisans. How long
this will last, taking into consideration the
present rush of the whole world to Victoria,
and the competition which must follow,
cannot be foretold.


THERE was once an old woman who lived
with her daughter at the side of a hill in the
midst of a forest.  They were very poor, their
only means of support being the thread which
the daughter spun with her distaff and
spindle; and she, poor girl, worked early and
late to earn enough for their wants. It so
happened that the king's son, while hunting,
went astray in the forest, and entered the
widow's cottage to inquire his way. He was
greatly struck with the girl's beauty, and not
less with the numerous hanks of yarn which
attested her skill and industry. He inquired
how it happened that they had collected such
an immense pile; when the old woman
concealing the fact that this was nearly an
entire winter's storedeclared, that her
daughter had spun the whole in a week.
"In a week!" exclaimed the astonished
prince; "if this be true, I have found a wife
more worthy and valuable than any other
in the country. I will send you a load of
flax; and if she has it spun by the end of a
week, I will make her my bride; but if
not, I will have you both cut in pieces for
deceiving the son of your sovereign." The
terrified girl saw next day a train of laden
mules coming to the cottage; she went out
into the forest to weep over her destiny, when
she met a decrepid old man. On learning
the cause of her weeping, "Do not weep,
daughter," he said; "I will execute the task
imposed on you by the prince, provided that
you will either give me your first-born son
when he is twelve months and a day old, or
that you shall, in the meantime, find out my
name." The maiden, wondering greatly,
agreed to the terms; the old man conveyed
away the flax from the cottage, she did not
know how; and returned it in the form of
beautiful yarn just before the week had
expired. The prince found all as he had wished,
and married her; they were very happy, and
when the princess had a son, the joy of the
prince knew no bounds. But alas! the year
came near its close, and the princess had not
yet found out the name of the mysterious old
man: she dreaded to lose her little son, and
yet dared not tell her husband. The prince,
seeing his wife one day disconsolate, told her
an anecdote to amuse her. He had been
hunting, and lost his way in the forest; he
looked around, and saw a cave in which an
old man was spinning with a sort of wheel,
such as the prince had never before seen;
and the old man was singing,

"Little my mistress she knows my name,
Which shan't be forgot, which shan't be forgot,
When a prince as heir to the fortunes I claim
Of Wallotty Trot, Wallotty Trot."

The princess instantly guessed that this
must be her mysterious friend. When the
year and day expired, the old man appeared
and claimed the child. "Stop," said the
lady; "your name is Wallotty Trot." It
was so; and the old man said that, to reward
her ingenuity, he would teach her how to use
the wheel, which had enabled him to spin the
flax so quickly. Having done so, he disappeared,
and was never seen again; but the
prince and princess taught this new branch
of industry to their subjects, and so enriched
their country as to become the admiration of
surrounding nations.

Such is an epitomeshorn, we fear, of
much of its story-telling attractivenessof a
legend which the late Dr. Cooke Taylor
heard from the lips of an old woman in
Ireland, and which he believes to be nearly
identical with one preserved by the brothers
Grimm in Germany. That the old woman
believed in her story is very likely: people
have believed much worse stories in their
time. It is, in truth, one among many
examples of a curious tendency in the popular
mindto attribute to fairies or good people,
or mysterious people of some kind or other,
all useful inventions, the date or the
introduction of which is not well known.

The spinning-wheel marked one stage in
the great history of clothingone of the
greatest of our social histories. Weaving
was, in all probability, an earlier art than
spinning; because reeds and rushes and
straws, ligaments and fibres and rootlets, can
all be woven in their natural state. But
spinning was, nevertheless, one of the earliest
arts; the distaff and spindle were known to
most of the chief nations of antiquity; they
are known by everyday use to the Hindoos
at the present day; and they were the recognized
means of spinning until comparatively
modern times. The "spinsters" or spinners
with the distaff and spindle, included the
high-born and wealthy ladies of our feudal
days. Who was the real Wallotty Trot that
invented the spinning-wheel, will, in all
probability, remain an unfathomable mystery;
but, be he who he may, he was the Arkwright
of those days; he levelled one of the roads
which led to the gigantic manufacturing
system of the present times. Unless the
yarn had been spun more rapidly than the
distaff and spindle could accomplish it,
rapid weaving would have been useless, and
improvements in looms unsought for; the
spinning-machine would not have appeared,
for want of its progenitor the wheel; the
steam-giant would not have been called in
aid; and the neat cotton dresses and merino

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