The ladies are always divided into two groups of 5 each, and there is usually some matronly figure in the middle. You will have to take my word that they are virginal - it's hard to represent that in cross stitch. It seems five of the gals never caught on to the importance of proper prior planning and have let their lamps go out. As the ten wait for the (singular) bridegroom to arrive to take them to the wedding, only the wise girls have brought along extra oil to keep their lamps burning (you can see the jerry cans beside them in the lower version). When the suitor finally ambles in after midnight, five of the girls had gone back into town to get more oil since the wise virgins refused to share. The bridegroom heads out with the girl scouts and the others are left out in the cold. I do not know what activities ensued between the unchaperoned suitor and his five wise virgins. (Everybody sing: Five girls for ev - ry boy.) I don't think that an embroidered depiction is appropriate. This is all supposed to be a parable for the Second Coming and you can read more about it in the wikipedia.
Besides the scores of painting and sculptures, this motif has been a popular one for samplers in many lands. Once again Julia Line of Long Dog Samplers has made an outstanding rendition of of a classic motif in her "Wise and Foolish" sampler (on the left). On the right is a Norwegian version by Lucy Lyons Willis with the foolish virgins sobbing into their hankies.
Rather than cross the bounds of good taste and show what troubles five foolish virgins could really get into, mock thier ample hips, or introduce the Energizer Bunny or AAA roadside assistance, I decided an animal stand in would be a good plan. If it were but two virgins (one wise/one foolish), I could have used cows to created by own rendition of this "pair of bull".
So, that is when I came back to my thinking of what else shows up on these samplers in great numbers.
If my sampler had been wider, I could have done Four and Twenty Blackbirds: Twelve Wise and Twelve Foolish.
This has been the penultimate installment of the Chronicles of the Dutch Beast. Check back for the Final (and Original) Sin.