Rumpelstiltskin Brothers Grimm
- Pages: 6
- Word count: 1393
- Category: Life
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The story of Rumpelstiltskin was popularized by the Brothers Grimm but can be dated all the way back to the 14th or 15th century. Bear in mind that the Brothers Grimm came in around 1812-1822, and the original story can be, “traced back some 4,000 years,” according to science. Not only that but this story comes from many different countries in Europe, each naming our beloved troll something different. The story can be traced back to 11 different countries. The history of Rumpelstiltskin has been quite baffling for quite some time, and the creature in of itself has always been strange to think of.
The most popular version came from the Brothers Grimm, as stated before, who wrote about a miller who tells the King that his daughter can spin straw into gold; obviously, he is interested and takes her to the castle and tells her to spin all the straw in the room if she wanted to live. She doesn’t know how to spin straw into gold, so she begins to cry, but then a little man comes into her room and begins to spin the straw for her, only after she had given him her necklace. The next morning the King sees what the miller’s daughter has done, and takes her to an even bigger room and makes her do the same, if not he will kill her. Once alone in the room, she begins to cry, but then he comes back into the room and asks her what she can give him. She gives him her ring, and he begins the straw into gold. On the third day, the King still wanted more and told her that if she can spin this straw into gold, he would marry her. Then when the little guy comes back, he asks what she can give him.
She has nothing left, and so then he tells her that when the king and her have a child, he wants their first born, she is in such distress that she agrees to do so. A year later the King and her end up having a child, but by then she had long forgotten about the deal she had made with the little man and pleads with him not to take her baby, telling him she would give him all the riches in the world. He declines saying something along the lines of how life is more precious than riches. However, he ends up making a deal with her by telling her that she had three days to guess his name. In the end, an informant ends up telling her he heard a small man sing a song and giving away his name. It is the very last day, and when she guesses his name, Rumpelstiltskin becomes so enraged, says the devil told her and drove his foot into the ground, and rips himself in half. As we all know, the Brothers Grimm are known for their violent endings, so the ending was not surprising. But after first reading, you are left with many questions, what does Rumpelstiltskin mean? Why would he rather want a baby over money? What’s up with all the name guessing? Moreover, where did this story come from?
There are way too many versions to list off, some from Iceland, Austria, and just in general all over Europe, and even in Mongolia. However, they all have a pretty common theme, none straying too far from the story that is most well known. There’s a beautiful, but poor and lazy girl, who is forced to spin something into something even more valuable, but cannot because she is both incapable of doing so. A dwarf/goblin/devil-like figure comes to seemingly save the day, but only if she gives him something in return, such as her company or her baby. She agrees, and when everything’s all said and done she tends to forget about it, and when the time does come she always ends up getting out of it. But aside from in fairytales, Rumpelstiltskin has been portrayed in many other different shows and movies. He was a character in Once Upon A Time, where he is portrayed as an evil character, although many people label him as misunderstood, and is also the son of Peter Pan. He wants Cinderella’s baby, just like in most other versions, and also treats name as very important.Moreover, he’s even in a few movies, titled “Rumpelstiltskin”. There has only been two films, one in 1995 and 1987. The one in 1995 is a horror fantasy movie, where he also demands a baby when he is imprisoned. In the 1987 version is a musical which follows the same storyline.
Rumpelstiltskin is studied as a tale type 500, which means that the story is being studied as though Rumpelstiltskin as a helper when that isn’t the truth. According to the website Pitt.edu, this tale type is defined by,” in which a mysterious and threatening helper is defeated
when the hero or heroine discovers his name.” It is quite plain to see that Rumpelstiltskin, and just about every other variant all come from a place of greed and blackmailing. He will only do the work after something is given to him, and when she has finally given him everything she has, her only other choice is to give him her child out of desperation.
The story is said to come from German origin, and was merely told in many different countries, even Spain. Not only that but,“The earliest known version of the tale has been traced back to Johann Fischart’s adaptation of Book 1 of Francois Rabelais’ Gargantua, Geshichtkitterung also known as Gargantua and Pantagruel which was published in 1575-1590. The 363rd amusement given in the book is titled ‘Rumpele stilt oder der Poppart.’ The name Rumpelstiltskin was thought to have come from a German game, where children would act as a goblin that makes loud noises, such as a crashing pot. I, personally, don’t see the hype behind the game, but who am I to judge. According to Pookpress.com,”rumpeln’ meant to make a noise, and ‘Stilzer’ referred to someone with a limp.”
So, why all the names? According to Edward Clodd, names had a great deal of power behind them. As he says,” is the notion that the name of any being, whether human or superhuman, is an integral part of that being; and that, to know it, puts its owner, whether he be deity, ghost, or man, in the power of another, often involving destruction…” Not only that but the naming serves an important function to the story. According to Jack Zipes, “As a riddle, the naming added tension and humor to the narrative… ” Also, the naming adds cleverness to the miller’s daughter, and as basically stated before, naming someone means knowing someone. But also according to Zipes his name,” is just as meaningless as the scholarship that has been absorbed in naming them.”
Two common themes in every story about Rumpelstiltskin is that in return the dwarf/devil/goblin all want the girl to either be his, or give him her baby, but why is that? Well, there is no for sure reason, all he really says about the baby is that it is more precious than all the gold in the world. There is no definitive reason as to why he wants life over gold, but since in many a few versions he is portrayed as a literal devil, it may be because he wants to sacrifice it or may simply just want company. Another common theme is that the young, beautiful girl always has to spin something, but can’t because she is both lazy and incapable. As said this theme by Ibid,”marked the end of an important aspect of female productivity as important to the maintenance of civilization”. Another author, Zipes argues,”that the tale offers a metaphor about the changing nature of women’s work.”
Rumpelstiltskin has been changed and told throughout history, mostly all over Europe. There has been no significant differences in the story that is told, just questions that have been raised about the story. In reality, there is no exact answer to the questions, just theories and speculations. As every other great fairy tale or story, the interpretation is for the reader to decide. There will probably never be an answer or reasoning behind Rumpelstiltskin, but that’s what makes a great story, a sense of mysteriousness.