An adaptation of the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm
By the side of a wood, in a country a long way off, lived a miller. He had a very beautiful daughter. She was, moreover, very clever and hardworking; and the miller was proud of her. So proud in fact, that one day told the king of the land, that his daughter could spin straw into gold.
Now this king was very fond of money; and the news made his very greedy. So he sent for the girl to be brought before him. He led her to a chamber in his palace where there was a great heap of straw. He gave her a spinning-wheel, and said;
“All this must be spun into gold before morning, or you will lose your life.”
The poor maiden tried to explain that it was only a silly boast of her father, and that she could do no such thing as spin straw into gold. But the King paid no attention, the chamber door was locked, and she was left alone.
She sat down in one corner of the room, and began to cry her little heart out; when all of a sudden the door opened, and a funny-looking little man hobbled in. He was a hobgoblin! and he said: “Good morrow to you, my good lass; what are you weeping for?”
“Alas!” said she, “I must spin this straw into gold, and I don’t know how.”
A little smile crept onto the man’s lips as he said, “What will you give me to do it for you?”
The maiden stopped crying and looked up from her hanky. Could this man really spin straw into gold?
“My necklace.” replied the maiden. He nodded and sat himself down to the wheel and sure enough he started spinning straw into gold! He sang while he worked:
“Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!”
And round about the wheel went merrily. The work was quickly done and the maiden thanked him and handed him her necklace.
Next morning, the king came back, and was greatly astonished and pleased. He sat on the floor and lifted handfuls of gold up into the air.
“Wonderful,” he said.
But his heart grew still more greedy, and instead of letter her go, he shut up the poor miller’s daughter again. This time he left even more straw and threatened to kill her if she didn’t turn it into gold by morning.
Alas, the poor maiden really didn’t know what to do. She once again fell to the floor crying. But, once again, the hobgoblin opened the door and said, “What will you give me to do your work?”
The maiden was so pleased to see him! She held her hand up and said “The ring on my finger”. So her little friend took the ring and began to work at the wheel again, singing:
“Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!” ‘til, long before morning, all was done again.
The king was greatly delighted to see all this glittering treasure; but still he had not enough: so gave the miller’s daughter an even bigger heap of straw, and said “All this must be spun tonight; and if it is, you shall be my queen.”
She was so shocked; she didn’t know what to say. She turned to look at the heap of straw, and again she cried, not because she was unable to do the work. She was sure the hobgoblin would come again, but she cried because she had nothing left to
Finally, the dwarf came in, and said, “What will you give me to spin gold for you this third time?”
“I have nothing left,” said she.
That little smile crept back onto the hobgoblins lips. “Then say you will give me,” he said, “your first child that you have when you are queen.”
The maiden thought about this; there was no way that she was ever going to give away a child! But there really was no way she could ever spin this straw into gold. So she agreed to the deal with the hobgoblin.
Round went the wheel again to the old song and the man once more spun the heap into gold.
The king came in the morning, and, finding all he wanted, he organised the wedding that very day and the miller’s daughter really did become queen.
It was at least a year later when she gave birth to her first little child. She had forgotten all about the hobgoblin and the promise she made. She loved the baby so much and was happy to be a mother.
But one day, into the palace hobbled the little man from the tower.
“Have you forgotten the deal you made with me? It was agreed in the tower that you would give me your first child!”
The queen was greatly worried, and said she would give him all the wealth in the kingdom if he would let her keep her baby.
But the hobgoblin didn’t care for gold, he wanted the baby. She begged and pleaded and at last her tears softened him, and he said, “I will give you three days. In that time, if you can tell me my name, you shall keep your child. If not, the child is mine!”
Now the queen lay awake all night, thinking of all the odd names that she had ever heard; and she sent messengers all over the land to find out new ones.
At the same time the next day the little man came, and she began guessing his name:
“Timothy?” she said.
And the little man replied, “Madam, that is not my name.”
“Matthew?” she tried.
“Madam, that is not my name.”
“Jeremiah, Benjamin, James, Hassan, Curtis, Peter, Archibald, Abdullah, Zachariah, Simon?”
And all the names she could remember; but to each and every of them he said: Madam, that is not my name.
The second day she began with all the funny names she had ever heard of:
“Bandy-legs, Hunchback, Crook-shanks” and so on.
But the little gentleman said to every one of them: Madam, that is not my name.
On the third day, one of the messengers returned to the palace, and said, “I have travelled two days without hearing of any other names; but yesterday, as I was climbing a high hill, among the trees in the forest, I saw a little hut; and in front of the hut burnt a fire; and round about the fire a funny little dwarf was dancing upon one leg, and singing:
“Merrily the feast I’ll make.
Today I’ll brew, tomorrow bake;
Merrily I’ll dance and sing,
For next day will a stranger bring.
Little does my lady dream
Rumpelstiltskin is my name!”
When the queen heard this she jumped for joy, and hugged the messenger so hard he could barely breathe!
And so, when her little friend arrived, she sat down upon her throne, with her courtiers all around her and with the nurse standing by her side holding the baby as if it was ready to be given up.
Then the little man began to chuckle at the thought of having the poor child, to take home with him to his hut in the woods; and he cried out: “Now, lady, what is my name?”
“Is it John?” she asked.
“Is it Tom?” she called.
“Is it Jemmy?”
“It is not, Madam.”
“Why, my friend, you truly have beaten me, for there cannot be anymore names in the land, unless of course…”
The man leaned closer.
“Can your name be Rumpelstiltskin?”
The man’s smile fell off his face and his face turned red with anger.
“Some witch told you that! – some witch told you that!” he cried, and stamped his foot in a rage so deep into the floor, that he had to hold it with both hands to pull it out. Then he stormed out of the palace and made his way back to the forest.
When he was gone, the Queen cried with joy; the crowd cheered; the nursed laughed and the baby giggled. And they all called after him “Have a lovely day Mr. Rumpelstiltskin!”