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The story—from Rumplestiltskin to War and Peace—is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind for the purpose of understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.– Ursula K. Le Guin
RUMPELSTILTSKIN Story Summary
There is a beautiful young girl who makes several exchanges with a mysterious little man. She gives him her jewelry and he spins straw into gold. When she runs out of things to give him, she agrees to give him her firstborn child. She marries the king and has a child.
The mysterious man appears. She begs to keep her child and they strike a new deal. If she can guess his name in 3 days, she can keep the child. She sends her messengers out to find his name. One learns his name is Rumpelstiltskin and she gets to keep her child.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN Writing Practice
Herded Words is all about improving your story writing. Find writing practice exercises using the RUMPELSTILTSKIN story as inspiration here:
|Guide to Plot||Learn the 5 key plot points of every story.|
Modern Adaptations of the RUMPELSTILTSKIN Story
The Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale is said to have originated around 4,000 years ago. It has been widely adapted into comics, film, literature, toys, games, art, etc., Sur La Lune Fairytales is home to a fairly comprehensive list of adaptations.
Below you’ll find 4 recent Rumpelstiltskin adaptations (2 literature, 2 film/tv).
RUMP: THE (FAIRLY) TRUE TALE OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN
By Liesl Shurtliff
In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.
To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE SMUG
By Tom Holt
Mordak isn’t bad, as far as goblin kings go, but when someone, or something, starts pumping gold into the human kingdoms it puts his rule into serious jeopardy. Suddenly he’s locked in an arms race with a species whose arms he once considered merely part of a calorie-controlled diet.
Helped by an elf with a background in journalism and a masters degree in being really pleased with herself, Mordak sets out to discover what on earth (if indeed, that’s where he is) is going on. He knows that the truth is out there. If only he could remember where he put it.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Aired by ABC (2012-2018)
Emma Swan wonders if the residents of Storybrooke, Maine are somehow actual characters from legendary children’s tales. Parallel worlds unravel in this modern take on classic fables where a curse has trapped famed storybook characters in our world.
Rumplestiltskin (aka Mr. Gold and Detective Weaver) was one of the central characters of ABC’s Once Upon A Time. He appeared in all 156 episodes of the series.
SHREK FOREVER AFTER
Distributed by Dreamworks Animation (2010)
It started with a lovable ogre…who befriended a talking donkey…and rescued a beautiful princess in the unforgettable story that broke the mold for all animated films to follow. Now comes Shrek Forever After, the hilarious and fitting fourth installment in the record-breaking, Academy Award-winning movie phenomenon. Longing for the days when he was a “real ogre,” Shrek signs a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to get his roar back…but turns his world upside down in the process. Donkey suddenly can’t remember his best friend, Fiona is now a tough warrior princess, and Puss In Boots is one fat cat! Together, they have just 24 hours to reverse the contract and restore happily FOREVER AFTER!
Grimms’ Fairy Tale: The RUMPELSTILTSKIN Story
The Grimm’s Fairy Tales are a collection of fairy tales by Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm. The original publication, released in 1812, contained 86 stories. The seventh edition, released in 1857, contained 211 unique fairy tales.
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Grimms’ Fairy Tales contains 62 stories.
By the side of a wood, in a country a long way off, ran a fine stream of water; and upon the stream there stood a mill. The miller’s house was close by, and the miller, you must know, had a very beautiful daughter. She was, moreover, very shrewd and clever; and the miller was so proud of her, that he one day told the king of the land, who used to come and hunt in the wood, that his daughter could spin gold out of straw. Now this king was very fond of money; and when he heard the miller’s boast his greediness was raised, and he sent for the girl to be brought before him. Then he led her to a chamber in his palace where there was a great heap of straw, and gave her a spinning-wheel, and said, ‘All this must be spun into gold before morning, as you love your life.’ It was in vain that the poor maiden said that it was only a silly boast of her father, for that she could do no such thing as spin straw into gold: the chamber door was locked, and she was left alone.
She sat down in one corner of the room, and began to bewail her hard fate; when on a sudden the door opened, and a droll-looking little man hobbled in, and 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 know not how.’ ‘What will you give me,’ said the hobgoblin, ‘to do it for you?’ ‘My necklace,’ replied the maiden. He took her at her word, and sat himself down to the wheel, and whistled and sang:
‘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 straw was all spun into gold.
When the king came and saw this, he was greatly astonished and pleased; but his heart grew still more greedy of gain, and he shut up the poor miller’s daughter again with a fresh task. Then she knew not what to do, and sat down once more to weep; but the dwarf soon opened the door, and said, ‘What will you give me to do your task?’ ‘The ring on my finger,’ said she. So her little friend took the ring, and began to work at the wheel again, and whistled and sang:
‘Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!’
till, 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 he took the miller’s daughter to a yet larger heap, and said, ‘All this must be spun tonight; and if it is, you shall be my queen.’ As soon as she was alone that dwarf came in, and said, ‘What will you give me to spin gold for you this third time?’ ‘I have nothing left,’ said she. ‘Then say you will give me,’ said the little man, ‘the first little child that you may have when you are queen.’ ‘That may never be,’ thought the miller’s daughter: and as she knew no other way to get her task done, she said she would do what he asked. Round went the wheel again to the old song, and the manikin once more spun the heap into gold. The king came in the morning, and, finding all he wanted, was forced to keep his word; so he married the miller’s daughter, and she really became queen.
At the birth of her first little child she was very glad, and forgot the dwarf, and what she had said. But one day he came into her room, where she was sitting playing with her baby, and put her in mind of it. Then she grieved sorely at her misfortune, and said she would give him all the wealth of the kingdom if he would let her off, but in vain; till at last her tears softened him, and he said, ‘I will give you three days’ grace, and if during that time you tell me my name, you shall keep your child.’
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. The next day the little man came, and she began with TIMOTHY, ICHABOD, BENJAMIN, JEREMIAH, and all the names she could remember; but to all and each of them he said, ‘Madam, that is not my name.’
The second day she began with all the comical names she could hear of, BANDY-LEGS, HUNCHBACK, CROOK-SHANKS, and so on; but the little gentleman still said to every one of them, ‘Madam, that is not my name.’
The third day one of the messengers came back, 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 of the forest where the fox and the hare bid each other good night, I saw a little hut; and before 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 as soon as her little friend came she sat down upon her throne, and called all her court round to enjoy the fun; and the nurse stood by her side with the baby in her arms, as if it was quite 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?’ asked she. ‘No, madam!’ ‘Is it TOM?’ ‘No, madam!’ ‘Is it JEMMY?’ ‘It is not.’ ‘Can your name be RUMPELSTILTSKIN?’ said the lady slyly. ‘Some witch told you that!—some witch told you that!’ cried the little man, and dashed his right foot in a rage so deep into the floor, that he was forced to lay hold of it with both hands to pull it out.
Then he made the best of his way off, while the nurse laughed and the baby crowed; and all the court jeered at him for having had so much trouble for nothing, and said, ‘We wish you a very good morning, and a merry feast, Mr RUMPLESTILTSKIN!’
Share Your RUMPELSTILTSKIN Story
Consider your favorite story – fairytale or otherwise – and try brainstorming ways it can be changed.
A different POV? A different tense? What happened before/after?
Rumpelstiltskin has been inspiring storytellers for centuries. What’s your favorite adaptation?
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