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The earliest version of Rumplestiltskin is Johann Fischart's adaptation of Book 1 of Francois Rabelais' between 1494 and 1553.
A Brief Discussion of Rumpelstiltskin
The best known edition of Rumplestiltskin originated in Germany with the Grimm Brothers in their 1812 edition of Children's and Household tales. The Grimm Brothers collected four different versions of Rumplestiltskin in their search for fairy tales, and compiled them all into the story we know today.
Some variations on the Rumplestiltskin tale include:
- Tot Tit Tom - in England;
- The Golden Spinster - a Hungarian-Slovenish tale;
- Kruzimugeli - in Austria; and
- Penelop - from Wales.
An Extract from Rumplestiltskin
THERE was once upon a time a poor miller1 who had a verybeautiful daughter.2 Now it happened one day that he had an audience with the King,3 and in order to appear a person of some importance4 he told him that he had a daughterwho could spin straw into gold.5 "Now that's a talent worth having,"6 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,7 gave her a spinning-wheel8and spindle,9 and said: "Now set to work and spin all night till early dawn,10 and if by that time you haven't spun the straw into gold11 you shall die."12 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 man13 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?"14 asked the manikin.15 "My necklace,"16replied the girl. The little man took the necklace, sat himself down at the wheel, and whir, whir, whir, the wheel went round three17 times, and the bobbin18 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.19 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,"20 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."21"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,"22answered the girl. "Then promise me when you are Queen togive me your first child."23 "Who knows what may not happen before that?" thought the miller's daughter; and besides, she saw no other way out of it,24 so she promised the manikin what he demanded,25 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 daughterbecame a queen.26