All my life, I’ve done the same thing. I’ve swept the house, and I’ve left the sweepings on the heap outside.

Then, a few days ago, I found a letter on the heap. It was an invitation from the fairies to attend a christening for one of their own. An invitation from the fairies must be heeded, and so I allowed them to lead me into the hollows of a mountain. I spent three days with them, and they were wonderful days, filled with music, dancing, and feasting. I must say, though, that the whole time I felt compelled to get back to work.

After three days had passed, the fairies filled my pockets with gold and led me out of the mountain. I came back to the house and picked up my broom. Then a strange man walked in. “What are you doing?” he asked. He didn’t know me. I told him who I was, and he said that my masters had died, and that seven years had passed! He didn’t need me to sweep his house.

I have put the broom to rest, now. Where to next? What is it that I wish to do now that it is not necessary to do anything at all?

The Retired Sweeping Girl in The Elves, Second Story, Grimms