Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fairy Tale Fridays: Rumpelstiltskin

Special Thanks to my Personal Faery Friend for the Button Art: Ye Olde Faery Shoppe

This week for Fairy Tale Fridays, we read Rumpelstiltskin by The Brothers Grimm. How can we not forget this classic tale? A miller tells a king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king wants to see the daughter work her magic and locks her up at night to do so. In pops a little man named Rumplestiltskin who spins her way out of trouble, producing the gold. The only catch is that he wants something in return . . . It starts with a necklace and ends with the daughter's (and soon-to-be Queen's) first-born. Of course, he reappears at the end to collect on his dues, playing a riddle game, and resulting in his own destructive (and very grotesque) end!!

One thing that I find absolutely intriguing is how different versions of one story are roaming around. As in Hansel and Gretel, many versions of Rumpelstiltskin exist. One of the greatest deviances that I found was of the title character's chant. In my version, this is what I read . . .

"To-day I bake, to-morrow brew,
The next I'll have the young Queen's child.
Ha! glad am I that no one knew
That Rumpelstiltskin I am styled."

However, if you go to SurLaLune Fairy Tales (with annotations I might add!), you find this little diddy instead . . .

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

And yet, from Wikipedia, I find this version . . .

"To-do do I bake, to-morrow I brew,
The day after that the queen's child comes in.
And oh! I am glad that nobody knew
That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin."

We find the same basic meaning in each, but the rhythm tends to be completely different. And, I am left to ponder . . . where do the differences come from? Is it because many of these tales came from oral traditions? Or, that multiple variations can be found across the country?

Whatever the case may be, I did find one very strong theme very interesting in this story. In my research, I have found that Rumplestiltskin is in essence a mischievious creature, or in John Connolly's words . . . "a trickster." Do you find it at all odd (or ironic) that it is Rumpelstiltskin himself that sticks to his word? The miller himself lied about his daughter's abilities, the King was greedy for gold, and the daughter herself claims to be the one making the gold. Hmmmmm . . .

Would you accept help from Rumpelstiltskin?!? Don't forget to share your thoughts via Mr. Linky below! I can't wait to read them!! And, you may want to come on back here tomorrow for the announcement of a special giveaway in honor of Fairy Tale Fridays!!

Next week, we will switch gears a bit and move to a Hans Christian Anderson classic, The Emperor's New Clothes!


  1. Oh, I'm loving this meme so far!

    Mine is linked in McLinky, but it's here:

  2. I read a re-telling of the West Indian version that doesn't involve the baby.

    Would I accept the help? I would hope not, but probably. I tend to believe that only the good parts will happen, never the bad.

  3. Great pick this week! I've read a few versions of this, and I remember watching a tv version of it too that I really liked :)

  4. I suppose if I was in a desperate situation I would accept help from anybody.

    There was a book I read for a class once that was all about fairy tales in different countries (mainly France and Germany) and how the different histories of the countries shaped them. I can't remember the title, but the author was definitely named Dalton.

  5. I love Fairy Tale Fridays!! Rumpelstiltskin is a great favorite version is the one my husband directed on stage a few years ago. He always mixes things up so nicely with a fairy tale. I enjoy the struggle between the Queen and Rumpelstiltskin. The Queen knows she hasn't made the best choices but does the punishment fit the crime...
    thank you for revisiting fairy tales!!

  6. Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow . . . I finally am getting around to reading and replying to everything!! I just read your weekly post and loved it. I actually went off on another tangent in your comments! Sorry about that!! :)

    carolsnotebook . . . I'm heading over right after I right this to read your's!! I'm curious to hear about the version you read.

    inthehammockblog . . . A TV version? Totally missed that!!

    heidenkind . . . I am going to do a little looking into Dalton! Thanks for the recommendation! I'm very intrigued by the history!

    Peaceful Reader . . . You are welcome! And, I love when you ask if the punishment fits the crime! It does seem a bit extreme, doesn't it?? Though, then again, so do many fairy tales!


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