January 14, 2021

#08-036: Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin dancing

Note: Few story collections are better known than those of the Grimm Brothers. One of my favorites is the tale of "Rumpelstiltskin," a warning to those who would try to "get rich quick."

Get Ready: Is it wise to take shortcuts to achieve success, wealth, fame, etc.?

The story of Rumpelstiltskin begins with a miller bragging to a king that his daughter can turn straw into gold on a spinning wheel. "That's a talent worth having," the king said, and bade the miller bring his daughter in for a test.

When the girl arrived, the king had her locked in a room full of straw with a spinning wheel and told her, "Spin all night. If by dawn you haven't spun all this straw into gold, you shall die."

The distraught girl sat down and began at once to cry. Suddenly, the door opened and a funny-looking little man stepped in and asked the girl, "Why are you crying so bitterly?"

When she told him her problem, he asked what she would give him, and in exchange for her necklace, he sat down at once and whir, whir, whir! by morning the room was full of gold!

The king was astonished to see what had transpired. The second night things went the same, only the room was much bigger, with much more straw, and the girl gave the ugly little man her ring.

The king 's greed was not yet satisfied. Another night, another--bigger--room, but this time the king promised to marry the girl if she succeeded.

The girl had nothing left to give the little man, so he agreed to do it in exchange for her first-born child. Thinking only of the moment, the girl agreed. Again he spun, and the miller's daughter became a queen.

When her first son was born and the little man arrived to fetch him, she tried everything, but to no avail. At last, she sobbed so pitiably that the strange little man made her this deal: if she guessed his name within three days, he would let her keep her son.

On the first night she guessed every name she had ever heard--and none hit the mark. On the second, after sending out messengers to conduct a census, she tried the names of all the people of the realm. Nothing.

But on the third evening, a messenger reported having seen a man dancing in the woods, singing:

Tomorrow I brew, today I bake,
And then the child away I'll take.
The queen will never win this game,
For Rumpelstiltskin is my name!

That night, the queen guessed: "Is it Conrad?" No. "Harry?" No. "Perhaps, RUMPELSTILTSKIN?"

And in a rage the little man stomped his right leg in the ground all the way up to his waist, then grabbed his left foot and, giving a yank, tore himself in two!


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumpelstiltskin

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. bade
  2. distraught
  3. fetch
  4. miller
  5. rage
  6. sobbed
  7. spin
  8. straw
  9. transpired
  10. whir

  1. extremely upset
  2. cried
  3. sound like a turning wheel
  4. dried grain stalks
  5. person who turns grain into flour
  6. commanded; ordered
  7. happened; passed
  8. extreme anger
  9. make yarn or thread from plant fibers
  10. get; retrieve

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for January 14, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. f; 2. a; 3. j; 4. e; 5. h; 6. b; 7. i; 8. d; 9. g; 10. c