Tela Incantata

(The Enchanted Loom)

Geia was a young farm-girl who was ejected from her land after her parents died. Although she was very poor, she was also very good, and she lived as best as she could by washing for others. One day she met an old woman at the river who offered to let her live with her. The woman, who was called Nuntia [Messenger], taught Geia to use her ancient loom, which was magical, but Geia didn't know that, since she was quite ignorant about nearly everything. This loom allowed them to weave the richest fabrics out of the poorest wools, and so Nuntia and Geia were able to live comfortably enough and they began to save some money. All went well for several years, until Nuntia died, but before she died she made Geia promise that she would never give the loom away.

As time passed, Geia made friends with other young people and they all marvelled to see her working at the enchanted loom. But one young girl, Erigone [Child of Strife], was jealous of Geia and wished to get the loom from her, for she could see it was magical. So she convinced Geia to dress herself in finery and live like a rich person in hopes of attracting a rich husband. But especially she convinced her to move out of old Nuntia's house and to get rid of the old furnishings, including the loom. At first Geia refused to part with the loom, because of her promise to Nuntia, but eventually Erigone convinced her to give it to her along with the other old things. However, Erigone could not get the loom to work at all, because she couldn't enchant it.

Now Geia did not find a husband for, although she was beautiful, they all discovered that she wasn't very wealthy, and so the only result for Geia was that she wasted the money that she and old Nuntia had saved, and before long she wished she had the old loom back so she could make some fine fabric to sell. She tried weaving on a new loom, but there was nothing exceptional in the cloth she made. When she went to Erigone to buy back her old loom, the latter said that it had been broken up and burned, although this was a lie. So Geia was forced to leave her expensive house and move into an abandoned hut in the woods, where she gathered and grew herbs as Nuntia had taught her; these she sold as medicines, and in this way managed to survive.

One day when she was gathering herbs, she heard a groaning and discovered an old woman who had injured her ankle. Geia chewed into a paste some of the herbs she had picked and placed them on the ankle while uttering an appropriate spell. Soon the woman's leg was well enough for her to walk and Geia brought her back to her hut. Although Geia sought no payment, the woman said that as a reward she would recover anything that had been lost, and Geia said that she wanted the old loom but that it had been destroyed. The woman said "No, it existeth yet," and sang a spell to bring it back.

Instantly the air in the room began to swirl in a dark spiral around them, and in a moment they were back in Nuntia's old house, and the enchanted loom was there too. Thereupon the crone underwent a transformation, and turned into Nuntia.

"I have returned," she said, "to recover thy loom. For this loom was made by Virgilius, after the plan of the Great Loom of his mother Maia [see above, "Birth of Vergilius"]. On Her Loom Maia weaveth the tapestry of the world, for Her name is Magic (Magia) and She weaveth together the warp and woof of reality and illusion, thus creating the world. For many years I have held the Loom, but thou, Geia, shalt be the new Weaver. Thou art now the Keeper of the Loom."

This said, Nuntia vanished, and then Geia knew that she was a Daemon of some kind or one of the Fata. Geia had become much wiser and weaved on the Loom for many years before passing it on.

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Last updated: Sun Oct 27 11:44:41 EST 1996