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Rumpelstiltzkin

from The Blue Fairy Book





There was once upon a time a poor miller who had a
very beautiful daughter. Now it happened one day that
he had an audience with the King, and in order to appear
a person of some importance he told him that he had a
daughter who could spin straw into gold. "Now that's
a talent worth having," said the King to the miller; "if
your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to my
palace to-morrow, and I'll put her to the test." When the
girl was brought to him he led her into a room full of
straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and spindle, and said:
"Now set to work and spin all night till early dawn, and
if by that time you haven't spun the straw into gold you
shall die." Then he closed the door behind him and left
her alone inside.

So the poor miller's daughter sat down, and didn't
know what in the world she was to do. She hadn't the
least idea of how to spin straw into gold, and became at
last so miserable that she began to cry. Suddenly the
door opened, and in stepped a tiny little man and said:
"Good-evening, Miss Miller-maid; why are you crying so
bitterly?" "Oh!" answered the girl, "I have to spin straw
into gold, and haven't a notion how it's done." "What
will you give me if I spin it for you?" asked the manikin.
"My necklace," replied the girl. The little man took the
necklace, sat himself down at the wheel, and whir, whir,
whir, the wheel went round three times, and the bobbin
was full. Then he put on another, and whir, whir, whir,
the wheel went round three times, and the second too
was full; and so it went on till the morning, when all the
straw was spun away, and all the bobbins were full of
gold. As soon as the sun rose the King came, and when
he perceived the gold he was astonished and delighted,
but his heart only lusted more than ever after the precious
metal. He had the miller's daughter put into another
room full of straw, much bigger than the first, and bade
her, if she valued her life, spin it all into gold before the
following morning. The girl didn't know what to do, and
began to cry; then the door opened as before, and the tiny
little man appeared and said: "What'll you give me if I
spin the straw into gold for you?" "The ring from my
finger," answered the girl. The manikin took the ring,
and whir! round went the spinning-wheel again, and when
morning broke he had spun all the straw into glittering
gold. The King was pleased beyond measure at the sights
but his greed for gold was still not satisfied, and he had
the miller's daughter brought into a yet bigger room full
of straw, and said: "You must spin all this away in the
night; but if you succeed this time you shall become my
wife." "She's only a miller's daughter, it's true," he
thought; "but I couldn't find a richer wife if I were to
search the whole world over." When the girl was alone
the little man appeared for the third time, and said:
"What'll you give me if I spin the straw for you once
again?" "I've nothing more to give," answered the girl.
"Then promise me when you are Queen to give me your
first child." "Who knows what may not happen before
that?" thought the miller's daughter; and besides, she
saw no other way out of it, so she promised the manikin
what he demanded, and he set to work once more and
spun the straw into gold. When the King came in the
morning, and found everything as he had desired, he
straightway made her his wife, and the miller's daughter
became a queen.

When a year had passed a beautiful son was born to her,
and she thought no more of the little man, till all of a
sudden one day he stepped into her room and said: "Now
give me what you promised." The Queen was in a great
state, and offered the little man all the riches in her kingdom
if he would only leave her the child. But the manikin
said: "No, a living creature is dearer to me than all
the treasures in the world." Then the Queen began to cry
and sob so bitterly that the little man was sorry for her,
and said: "I'll give you three days to guess my name, and
if you find it out in that time you may keep your child."

Then the Queen pondered the whole night over all the
names she had ever heard, and sent a messenger to scour
the land, and to pick up far and near any names he could
come across. When the little man arrived on the following
day she began with Kasper, Melchior, Belshazzar, and all
the other names she knew, in a string, but at each one the
manikin called out: "That's not my name." The next day
she sent to inquire the names of all the people in the
neighborhood, and had a long list of the most uncommon
and extraordinary for the little man when he made his
appearance. "Is your name, perhaps, Sheepshanks
Cruickshanks, Spindleshanks?" but he always replied:
"That's not my name." On the third day the messenger
returned and announced: "I have not been able to find
any new names, but as I came upon a high hill round the
corner of the wood, where the foxes and hares bid each
other good-night, I saw a little house, and in front of the
house burned a fire, and round the fire sprang the most
grotesque little man, hopping on one leg and crying:

"To-morrow I brew, to-day I bake,
And then the child away I'll take;
For little deems my royal dame
That Rumpelstiltzkin is my name!"


You can imagine the Queen's delight at hearing the
name, and when the little man stepped in shortly afterward
and asked: "Now, my lady Queen, what's my name?"
she asked first: "Is your name Conrad?" "No." "Is your
name Harry?" "No." "Is your name perhaps,
Rumpelstiltzkin?" "Some demon has told you that! some demon
has told you that!" screamed the little man, and in his
rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it
sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the
left foot with both hands and tore himself in two.[1]





Next: Beauty And The Beast

Previous: The Tale Of A Youth Who Set Out To Learn What Fear Was



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