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Rumpelstiltskin, a Poetic Revision

Updated on September 17, 2014


Once upon a time,

in a country a long way off,

next to a forest,

there was a stream of water,

and next to the water lived a miller.

And because this is a fairytale, the miller had a daughter.

And one day the miller told the king,

who was passing by,

(because why wouldn’t the king be passing by a random stream

next to a forest

in a country a long way off?)

that his daughter could spin straw into gold.

Because that was the sensible thing to tell the king.


The king, being the gullible and greedy man he was,

ordered the miller’s daughter to be brought to his castle

where she was locked in a room

full of straw

and told to spin it all into gold

by morning,

lest she die with the sunrise.

The miller’s daughter,

a very practical young woman,

threw herself upon the straw,

the moment the door closed upon her,

and began to sob.

But then the door opened.

A little man,

who had somehow gained access into the castle,

eluded all the king’s men,

and entered into a locked room

(for no real reason at all),

offered the girl help

in spinning the straw to gold

if she just give him her necklace.

A small price to pay

for a room full of gold.

The little man,

who looked much more like a goblin,

sat himself down at the spinning wheel.

where he sang as he worked,

like dwarves in a jewel mine,

and when he was done,

the straw was gold.

Without as much as a “thank you,”

the girl sat in the room and waited

for the king,

and when he came,

she claimed all the goblin’s hard work

as her own.

And since the king,

who was already a very rich man,

was not satisfied with one room

full of gold,

he forced the miller’s daughter

into an even bigger room

full of even more straw

that she must spin into riches

lest she die with the sunrise.

And the girl,

just as practical as before,

began to sob again.

Once again the little man

came to her rescue.

“What will you give me,

to spin this straw to gold?”

He asked.

And the girl gave him the ring from her finger.

Once again the goblin sang

as he worked on the girl’s chore.

And, just as before,

the room was glittering gold by morning.

And still the king was not satisfied.

He stole the girl once more

into an even larger room

filled with even more straw

and told the miller’s daughter

that if she spin this straw to gold by morning

she would become his queen.

And once again the girl began to sob,

though the threat was much less this time,

and once again

the little man answered the girl’s sobs

for the third time.

“What will you give me?”

He asked.

But the girl had nothing left to give.

“Then give me the first child

you have when you are


And the girl,

thinking that gambling away

her first born child

was the safest bet,

or perhaps hoping she was infertile,

or perhaps willing to give anything to become



And once again the straw was spun to gold.

And the miller’s daughter married the king

never once considering he might ask for spun gold again

some other time down the line.

Then the new queen gave birth,

and the little man appeared

to receive his payment.

And, like a politician who has already been elected,

the girl backed away from her promise.

But the little man had a soft heart,

and offered the new queen

a three day grace period

and an escape from their deal

if she could guess his name.

So the new queen guessed,

but at the end of the first day,

even the most unusual of names had

failed the test.

The queen sent out her servants

to find the most exceptional names

in this country a long way off.

But by the end of the second day

she still had not guessed.

On the third day

a servant returned.

“I have traveled two days,”

he said,

“without hearing any names,

anywhere in the kingdom,


But on my third day of travel,

I was climbing a high hill,

next to a deserted forest,

thinking this empty place a great place to find new names,

when I saw a little hut,

whereupon a little dwarf was dancing and singing.

And his name was


And so the queen gathered all her court

to humiliate the little dwarf

when he came to take her child.

“Is your name John?”

She asked.


“Is it Tom?”


“Well then, can your name be


Upon hearing his name

the little imp screamed and

stamped his foot into the floor

so deep that he disappeared.

And the queen never saw

nor heard from him again.

And so the moral of this fairy tale

goes to show

that if you lie to kings,

enslave and threaten millers’ daughters

and make bargains you do not tend to keep,

your daughter will become queen,

you will gain rooms full of gold,

and you will become royalty.

However, if you are honest,

and follow through on your word,

others will merely use you for your skill

and leave you to disappear forever.


be careful what you say out loud.

© 2014 Sckylar Gibby-Brown


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      Lee Cloak 2 years ago

      A fantastic piece, great writing, very engaging, thanks, Lee