Once there was a miller who was very poor and very boastful. He had a beautiful daughter whom he loved very much and whom he tried to keep protected from the world.
One day she was playing in her garden when she met Boy. They became friends and he told the miller’s daughter all about the selfish king. Boy worked in the palace for the king. The Miller was not happy about his daughter talking to Boy.
One day the miller happened to be talking to the king. The miller was so vain and proud of his daughter that he stupidly said to the king, “My daughter can spin straw into gold.”
Now the king was very greedy and he loved money and gold. When he heard the miller’s boast, he said, “How fascinating! If your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to the palace, and we will see what she can do.”
When the daughter was brought to the king he took her to a room that was full of straw, and gave her a spinning wheel. He then left her after saying, “Off you go then. All this straw must be spun into gold by tomorrow morning. If you don’t manage this, I will have you killed.”
She sat down in one corner and started to cry. She didn’t know what to do. How on earth could she spin straw into gold? All of a sudden, the door opened and in hobbled a little funny looking man. He said, “Good evening. What are you crying for?”
“Oh,” she said, “I must spin this straw in to gold by tomorrow morning and I don’t know how.”
“What will you give me,” said the little man, “if I do it for you?”
“My necklace,” replied the miller’s daughter.
The little funny looking man took the necklace and sat himself down at the spinning wheel. Whirr, Whirr, Whirr, three times the wheel went round and the first reel was full. Whirr, Whirr, Whirr, three times the wheel went round and the second reel was full. He worked well into the night, happy in his work, until all the work was done and all the straw was spun into gold.
When the king unlocked the door and came into the room he was amazed and astonished. He was delighted with the reels of gold. But the king was a greedy man and his heart swelled with greed. This was not enough for him. Now he wanted more. So he took the miller’s daughter into a larger room that was also full of straw, and again told her to spin all the straw into gold or he would have her killed.
Again, the king locked the door and she started to weep. But all of a sudden the little funny looking man came in again and said, “ What will you give me this time to do your task?”
“This ring on my finger,” she replied. So the little man took her ring and started work. Whirr, Whirr, Whirr, three times the wheel went round and the first reel was full. Whirr, Whirr, Whirr, three times the wheel went round and the second reel was full. He worked well into the night, happy in his work, until all the work was done and all the straw was spun into gold.
In the morning the king cam in again and was even more astonished to see that all the straw had been spun into gold once again. However his greed meant that he was still not satisfied, and he took the miller’s daughter to an even bigger room, also full of straw and said, “All this must be spun into gold by the morning. If you succeed, I shall have you killed.” (He thought to himself, “She could be my queen. She may only be a miller’s daughter, but I couldn’t find a richer wife in the whole world”)
As soon as she was left alone and started to cry, the funny looking little man came in again and said, “What will you give me this time for doing your task?”
“I have nothing left to give you,” sobbed the miller’s daughter.
“Then promise me,” he said, “if you ever become queen, to give me your first child.”
The miller’s daughter thought to herself, “That will never happen. The king will never marry a poor miller’s daughter!” So she promised the little man to give her what he wanted.
The little man sat down to work. Whirr, Whirr, Whirr, three times the wheel went round and the first reel was full. Whirr, Whirr, Whirr, three times the wheel went round and the second reel was full. He worked well into the night, happy in his work, until all the work was done and all the straw was spun into gold.
The king came into the room in the morning and found all that he had wished for, so he married the miller’s daughter the very next day, and she really did become queen.
A year later, she had her first child, and they were both very happy. She had forgotten all about her promise to the funny looking little man, until one day he suddenly appeared in her room and reminded her of it. The queen was horrified. She offered him all the riches in the kingdom if only he could forget her promise to him. She cried and cried and cried. In fact she cried so much that the little man took pity on her. “I will give you three days grace” he said. “If, in that time, you can find out what my name is, you can keep your baby.” Boy heard of the queen’s pain and went to speak to her. He saw how distressed she was so he went out into the world to try and seek out the funny looking little man and find out his name.
That night the Queen tossed and turned all night trying to think of all the odd names that she had ever heard. She sent out messengers around the kingdom, and across the land to ask what other names there may be. The next day, the little man came and she began to reel off some names. “Timothy, Benjamin, Casper, Melchior, Jerome” and all the other names she knew, but to all of them he said, “That’s not my name!”
On the second day she sent the messengers back out to found out more new names, and when the little man came back she tried all the funny, comical names she knew. “Scar-face, Bandy-legs, Sparerib, Turnip-head”, but he answered “No!” to all of them.
On the third day, after having many adventures and meeting many different creatures, Boy came back. He told the queen, “As I walked through a thick forest yesterday, where the fox and the hare said goodnight to each other, I saw a little hut, and before the hut there burnt a fire, and round the fire danced a little funny looking man. As he was dancing, he sang:
Today I brew, tomorrow I bake,
And after that the child I I’ll take.
I’m the winner of the game,
Rumpelstiltskin is my name”.
When the queen heard this, she jumped for joy as she knew that this was surely the little man’s name. As soon as her little visitor came into her room that night, she joked.
“Is it Tom?”
“No” laughed the little man.
“Is it Jas?”
“Is it Sloppy Joe?”
“Could it be………… Rumpelstiltskin?”
“Some witch must have told you that!” cried the little man and he stamped his foot so hard into the ground that his whole leg went in. He then was so angry that he pulled so hard to get his leg out and he split himself in two then disappeared!
So the queen kept her baby, and loved it all the more because she had so nearly lost it.
And her and her king, and the miller and Boy lived happily for a long time and never heard from the funny little man again.