FICTION READING - THE BROTHERS GRIMM - this version of the folk tale Rumpelstiltskin is from The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. It is an example of how textiles have always been used in folk and fairy tales.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN. THE BROTHERS GRIMM. 1812.
Once upon a time there was a miller who was poor, but he had a beautiful daughter. Now, one day he happened to talk to the king and said, 'I have a daughter who knows the art of transforming straw into gold.'
So the king had the miller's daughter summoned to him right away and ordered her to spin all the straw in a room into gold in one night, and if she couldn't do this, she would die. Then she was locked in the room where she sat and wept. For the life of her, she didn't have the slightest inkling of how to spin straw into gold. All of a sudden a little man entered the room and said, 'What will you give me if I spin everything into gold?'
She took off her necklace and gave it to the little man, and he did what he promised. The next morning the king found the entire room filled with gold, but because of this, his heart grew even greedier, and he locked the miller's daughter in another room full of straw that was even larger than the first, and she was to spin it all into gold. Then the little man came again, and she gave him a ring from one of her fingers, and everything was spun into gold.
However, on the third night the king had her locked again in another room that was larger than the other two and filled with straw.
'If you succeed, you shall become my wife,' he said.
Then the little man came again and spoke: 'I'll do everything for you one more time, but you must promise me you firstborn child that you have with the king.'
Out of desperation she promised him what he wanted, and when the king saw once again how the straw had been spun into gold, he took the miller's beautiful daughter for his wife.
Soon thereafter the queen gave birth, and the little man appeared before her and demanded the promised child. However, the queen offered the little man all that she could and all the treasures of the kingdom if he would let her keep her child, but it was all in vain. Then the little man said, 'In three days I'll come again to fetch the child. But if you know my name by then, you shall keep your child.'
During the first and second nights the queen tried to think of the little man's name, but she wasn't able to come up with a name and became completely depressed. On the third day, however, the king returned home from hunting and told her, 'I was out hunting the day before yesterday, and when I went deep into the dark forest, I came upon a small cottage, and in front of the house there was a ridiculous little man, hopping around as if he had only one leg and screeching:
'Today I'll brew, tomorrow I'll bake.
Soon I'll have the queen's namesake.
Oh, how hard it is to play my game,
for Rumpelstiltskin is my name!'
When the queen heard this, she rejoiced, and when the dangerous little man came, he asked, 'What's my name, your Highness?' she responded first by guessing,
'Is your name Conrad?'
'Is your name Henry?'
'Is your name Rumpelstiltskin?'
'The devil told you that!' the little man screamed, and he ran off full of anger and never returned. (The Brothers Grimm, 2014, pp.181-2).
The Brothers Grimm. (2014 [1812 and 1815] ) The original folk and fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Translated by Jack Zipes. Woodstock: Princetown University Press.