Story By Noor

Noor ul ain Nauman

The sun bade farewell to the sky as Ermine retreated her attic like every night. As the town was engulfed by the dark of night time, a tiny light flickered at her cottage as Ermine sat by her loom, effortlessly weaving the most glorious patterns of silk. Her works were reputable in the small valley, the likes of which had yet to be seen. Ermine used her silk to tell stories. She weaved characters and animals into her fabric and onlookers always marveled at the beauty and finesse with which she produced.

Often travellers crossing the valley would stop by to admire her craft or purchase some, for the luminous, soft fabric was always admired by people in far off lands and earned hefty in trade. The popularity and admiration of people made Ermine boastful. As she presented her fabric to the people one day, she exclaimed that even the Queen could not match her work. But word started spreading like wildfire. One person told another, and soon the words climbed over the walls of the palace and landed in the Queens court who was infuriated at Ermine’s gloating accounts of her work. The Queen, who herself loved to weave, challenged Ermine to a competition.

Eventually the day came, and the people gathered at the city center early in the morning, anticipating and evaluating how the events would turnout. Soon trumpets blew, and the crowd cheered as the Queen made her way to the pavilion. Equipped with beautiful thread and a glorious loom, she was welcomed by the crowds and was ready to prove that Ermine’s work was no match to hers. Ermine arrived soon after, and the bout began.

Both women weaved to the finest of their capacity; working through the day till dusk. The Queen had woven a beautiful fabric, showing the royal palace and its grandeur. However Ermine had been smarter. She had ridiculed the royals, and had shown them as drunk and falling from their thrones. Her fabric was also finer and better than the Queens. The crowds cheered her on and it was obvious who was superior.

The Queen could not tolerate this. Full of wrath, she summoned her magician and ordered him to cast a spell on Ermine. With a whiff of his wand and a spell, the crowds watch mortified as the magician turned Ermine into an insignificant, ugly worm.

However, jealousy and rage lead to nowhere. Little did the Queen know that the spell would be of no use in burning out true passion. The worm soon evolved and started producing beautiful, unmatched thread, and as people witnessed this, they were enthralled by miracle of the silk worm.

To this day, the silk worm is sought after for producing silks, yet the horrendous Queen, is nowhere to be heard of.  Thus, her hatred and jealousy could not erase Ermine’s skills completely. 

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