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Re: MR: Huswifery

Poster: "Ed Hopkins" <Ed.Hopkins@MCI.Com>

In "The Monk's Prologue", the Host
<hooste@southwerk.tabard.com> says of his wife:

> [...]
> And if that any neighebor of myne
> Wol nat in chirche to my wyf enclyne,
> Or be so hardy to hire to trespace,
> Whan she comth hoom she rampeth in my face,
> And crieth, -- false coward, wrek thy wyf!
> By corpus bones, I wol have thy knyf,
> And thou shalt have my distaf and go spynne! --
> [...]

This is the sort of thing that leads me to think that,
in England, at least, spinning has been considered
strictly "woman's work" for a long time.

But maybe it was just that only women used a distaff
when they spun, and men wrapped the tow on their knives.
I notice that Anarra didn't mention any distaff in
describing the fiber demos.  Just what is a distaff,
anyway, and how does one use it?

-- Alfredo

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