Friday, March 10, 2017

The Three Sisters

"The Three Sisters of the Father’s Loom (The Sisters of Evandra, The Three Weavers, The Loom-Saints)"

"In centuries past, when the city-state of Evandra was still a village, there lived in that village three sisters. They had no husbands, being married (in a sense) to their work, or perhaps to the Holy Father in a saintly vow. They were makers of cloth; one sister spun linen into strands, the second sister wove the strands into bolts of fabric, and the third sister took the cloth to market and returned with food enough for the next day."

"One day, however, their true giftedness was discovered. In what must have been a bolt of divine inspiration from the Father Above, the Three Sisters realized that their work itself was an oracle, as I will explain."

Okay, so FOUR women here. Imagine one of the central two is the supplicant (see below).
"The first sister, who sat spinning linen from flax, would receive supplicants, hearing their pleas and determining whether they were of pure heart and earnest faith, and receiving a single simple gift in exchange for being heard. Then, the supplicant would be admitted to the loom, where they spoke their question aloud to the second sister who wove, before exiting to wait. The third sister would inspect the cloth as it was woven, searching for mistakes in the weave: if the mistake were such that the weft had passed OVER the warp where it should not have, this was taken as an answer of “yes;” if the weft had passed mistakenly UNDER the warp, this was interpreted as an answer of “no.” A mistake or error of any other kind indicated that the answer was more complex, or that the supplicant’s heart was not truly pure and their question would not be heard by the Wise Father. The third sister would pass on one of these three answers, provided by the Father’s benevolence, to the supplicant, who would go their way blessed by this knowledge."

"The Three were young when they began this most holy work. By the time they were old, their fame as true oracles of the Hallowed Father had spread all around the Sea of Cora-Mar and beyond, with supplicants coming from far lands and bringing extravagant gifts in order to ensure their question be heard."

"It was then that a strange thing was noticed. The Three Sisters, now old and frail, would be forgiven if their work were to suffer from their infirmity, becoming slow and full of mistakes. However, as a miraculous sign of the Father’s blessing, over the course of a decade or so the woven cloth of the Three Sisters became more and more perfect, until finally a year passed without a single mistake in the weave. Clothing and other articles made from the cloth of this year - the finest ever produced by mortal hands - still remain in this world, exhibited in mighty temples, worn on days of coronation, or secreted away in the richest of noble vaults."

"Sadly, this cloth was to be the last of its kind, as at the end of this year of perfection all three sisters fell ill and were put under the care of the most skilled physicians. Alas, it became clear their recovery would never be complete, and they would not be able to resume their work. On the day that the warp of their final bolt of cloth was cut from the loom, the three sisters passed Above."

"The Three Sisters of the Father’s Loom are among the most popular Saints, receiving vast and worthy veneration from all manner of worshipers. Still, they are considered to be the especial patrons of weavers, dedicated celibates, and all Evandrans (it is said that the skilled work of these Three first secured the fame of Evandra for its weaving and tailoring, a reputation which has only grown to this day). They are, of course, invoked by those making an important decision; it is still the custom of some of the peasantry, when confronted by a conundrum, to search their current garment for a mistake in the weave as an answer to their question (such a custom is mere superstition, however; it is clear that the Father has not blessed ALL weavers with such clairvoyance as the Three!). The Saintly Sisters' aspects are the loom, and the bolt of cloth with three mis-woven strands accented upon its surface."

"Regretfully, I must take a moment to defend the Three Sisters from the impious inquiries of over-learned scholars, who claim that the tale of the Sisters far predates the village of Evandra, and perhaps even the settling of the shores of Cora-Mar by the human race, speculating that the Three Sisters were in fact elves whose tale was appropriated by our kind, and pointing out that the spread of this tale has benefitted Evandra greatly. Of course their argument defeats itself - the famed weaving of Evandra is TESTIMONY to the continued legacy of the Three! I admit us scholars have the tendency to overthink such questions and put the cart before the ox, as critics of the veneration of the Three Sisters have clearly done in this case. Let the pious reader pay no mind to their bovine lowings."

- From the Hagiograph of The Hundred by the Venerable Viebalde

This post is the fifth in my The Hundred Saints series, updating Fridays!
Previous Saints:
Saint Oro-Bora One-Eye
Saint Grenna of Merthis
Saint Be'lak the Bard
Saint Cryndwr Firebeard of Wealdvale

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