Image Details: ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ by monsterpants, via Flickr
Rumpelstiltskin was a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, who first published it in 1812. It follows the story of a miller, who lied to the King by saying his daughter was able to spin straw into gold. She couldn’t, and was locked in a tower with a spinning wheel and some straw and told by the King to get on with spinning some bling or she would be executed. As luck would have it (if you can consider being locked in a tower on operation certain death ‘lucky’) there was a sneaky little gnome on hand, who could indeed spin straw into gold, for a fee. The first night it cost a necklace, the second, a ring, and on the third night she had nothing left to offer, so the gnome demanded she hand over her first born child. As you do. As if, being a young, single gnome who can, in fact, spin straw into gold, you would ask for a screaming child. I would have asked for a cartful of straw myself and then gone to Vegas with the proceeds. An-y-way, the King marries the daughter as he’s clearly a golddigger, and they produce the sprog, at which point the gnome returns and demands the Queen hand it over. She doesn’t want to do this, and manages to convince the gnome to give her a chance to win the brat back. He says if she can guess his name correctly, she can keep the child. She has a couple of goes and gets it wrong, so she sends her messenger to spy on the gnome, who overhears him singing a rhyme to himself which includes his name. A bit schoolboy, really. If he’d been getting on with the spinning, he wouldn’t have been found out. So the messenger tells the Queen that the gnome’s name is Rumpelstiltskin and she wins the bargain, leaving Rumpers pretty vexed, so vexed in fact, that in some versions of the story, he rips himself in half. Seriously, just get on with the gold making dude!