woman in the village, thus the wisest. The old woman took the forlorn child to live with her, kept
her to her work, and educated her in all that was good. She taught Beauty how to make analgesic
from the sap of gum trees, to brew antidote from venom and to heal pruritus with mimosa petals.
She showed Beauty how to weave the cloths as light and shiny as cobwebs, and how to bake the
bread as soft and white as clouds. She told Beauty the tales of the sun, the moon and the stars.
She taught Beauty how to read and write.
When the girl was fifteen years old, the old woman became ill, called the child to her bedside,
and said: “My dear daughter, I feel my end drawing near. I leave you this little house, which will
protect you from wind and weather. I leave you my skills, with which you can earn your bread. I
leave you my wisdom, which will protect you from evils in life.” Then she laid her hands on the
girl's head, blessed her, and said, “Preserve the goodness in your heart, and all will go well with
Thereupon she closed her eyes, and when she was laid in the earth, the maiden followed
the coffin, weeping bitterly, and paid her the last mark of respect.
And now the girl lived quite alone in the little house. She continued the life that the old woman
taught her. She read books, wrote poems and painted. She came to the woods and meadows to
collect plants for her healing potions. She delivered the women with breech births, she dressed
the hunters’ wounds, she made porridge for the ailing elder and gave young girls wise advice on
their behavior. Soon she earned the respect of the elder and the young, men and women, just like
the old woman. Children loved to gather around to listen to her tales, the farm wives brought her