” ‘Do you see this stinging nettle in my hand? Those you must gather, although they will burn your hands to blisters. Crush the nettles with your feet and you will have flax, which you must spin and weave into eleven shirts of mail with long sleeves. Once you throw these over your swan brothers, the spell over them is broken…’ ”
From The Wild Swans by HC Andersen.
Illustration – Florence Harrison