Here's an interesting tale about the importance of telling the truth and the trouble that lies can get a person into which is a perfectly proper lesson for a young person to learn.
What a pity then that, once some digging is done, the actual lesson of this weeks story is totally different.
Right then, it starts off simple.
A woman had a daughter which, rather predictably, makes her a mother. Now the girl is a top class spinner and to make sure that everybody knows it mother starts bragging that her daughter can spin anything, even straw into gold. (1)
Eventually word of the daughters “ability” reached the ear of the king who accepted them as gospel truth and he placed her in a room with a spinning wheel and a massive mound of straw, he promised dire consequences should the straw not be gold by the morning, (2)
She laments at the Olympic level, as daughters often do when they are in a situation such as this but suddenly a man appears and offers her a way out. All she has to do is promise him her first born child and he'll spin the straw into gold.
She agrees and come the morning the straw has been magically spun into gold (3) The king is pleased and the important thing is that nobody gets killed.
Over time the daughter marries and has a child (4) when the man makes his appearance and demands the child she, understandably, doesn't want to give her baby up (5). Being a sporting fellow the man gives her a chance to keep the child. He tells her that he will return each night for three nights and she must call him by his proper name, if she can do this then the baby remains hers but if she can't then the baby will go with him. (6)
The daughter goes through the baby name book but the mans name isn't in there. The next night she goes through the dictionary because People have some very peculiar names sometimes (7) but none of the words are even remotely close to the mans name
Now we cut to the woods because unbeknown to everyone else the daughter has sent her servants out to the wildest parts of the kingdom to find out the names of things that are better left unnamed (8)
One of the servants sees the man in front of a tiny house having dinner and singing a merry little song about the girl, the baby and the fact that nobody will ever be able to guess that his name is actually “Rumpelstiltskin” (9)
The servant hurries back and whispers the mans name in the daughters ear and on that final fateful night the man turns up and she goes through the pantomime of guessing (10)
When he warns her that this next guess would be her final one she drops the bomb on him and asks “Your name wouldn't be Rumpelstiltskin would it?”
He curses and stamps his feet, stamping so hard that he breaks a hole in the floor and sinks in it up to his middle.
Everybody cavorts with joyus abandon because the little man has been thwarted and they begin living happily ever after.
- Exactly Why didn't the anybody tell the king that she couldn't spin straw into gold?
You might have egg on your face but hey who doesn't look foolish at least once in their lives?
- Exactly how intelligent was the king?
“Hello we live in a horrible neighborhood and the mice eat better than we do. Our debts are crippling but the one ray of sunshine in my life is that my daughter can spin straw into gold”
“That sounds perfectly logical. Bring your daughter to the castle at once”
- why didn't she take the straw and that damned spinning wheel to the market and sell them for whatever she could get?
If the intelligence of the king is anything to go by she probably could have turned it into gold that way.
- With the ownership of a baby on the line why is he out in the woods singing a song with his name in it?
It could have been that he was arrogant enough to think that he had won but he could have been rehearsing for his part in the Disney movie of this story with the obligatory 80's power chords.
- When she agrees to the naming contest why does Rumpelstiltskin think that she'll keep her word this time?
She could have held this thing over his head for years “Maybe I'll give you the baby if you fill the stable with gold. Maybe I'll give you the baby if you clean the house for me” the possibilities are endless (11 )
- How did Rumpelstiltskin get free?
Presumably someone pulled him out of the floor because you don't want to be stepping around him all the time. (12)
- If she had bargained for her first born child and she really wanted children why didn't she simply adopt one?
It would have solved the problem in the short term but the happy couple would have to be very careful from then on.
It is fairly obvious why Mr Stiltskin never got the law involved in this affair. Although the daughter is obviously in breach of contract, to whit 1 room of gold for one baby, It would be impossible for him to get any sort of fair hearing in any courtroom because no judge would want to award in favor of an obvious child trafficker who would spirit the baby away never to be seen again. (13)
I do feel that he picked the wrong time to make his demands. In almost every cartoon or book that I've seen of this particular story he makes his appearance just as she has put the child to bed and from what I can see it's solely so that he can scare her when she turns around.
If he had thought about it he might have gotten better results if he had shown up at three in the morning after they've spent a really bad night with a baby that just won't go to sleep.
I'm not saying that he would have gotten the child there but his request would seem that much more attractive.
As a matter of fact I imagine that everyone involved in this case would have been willing to keep the matter out of the eyes of the law and after it was all over Rumpelstiltskin would have been out of pocket after having to pay for a new floor. (14)
What then is the actual lesson of this story? You know, the one that the kids are going to actually take away from it all?
- Always tell the truth?
Unfortunately no. None of this would have happened if the mother had just admitted that her daughter couldn't really change straw into gold.
- If you bargain away your first born child for a room of gold then don't be surprised when it comes back to bite you in the bum.
A little better.
- If you're the only person that knows the secret mystic words that would lose you the contest then keep your trap shut.
Far too obvious
- If you make a deal that you don't like then you are perfectly justified in trying to weasel out of it any way that you can. (15)
There we go.
- This is where the drama happens.
- Presumably this event has made the papers and maybe onto Television so quite a bit of sponsorship money would have been at stake.
- Then woven into a golden lariat for Wonder Woman.
- The father barely rates a mention in all of this so sometimes she marries the prince and sometimes doesn't.
- Which is breach of contract right there but because she's the goodie in all of this we're supposed to be on her side.
- Even though the baby is already his but lets not stare directly into the plot holes.
- I'm looking at you Tiger Lilly and you, Blanket Jackson.
- Like Broccoli.
- A major blunder here methinks. although it's a good bet that if she hadn't guessed his name correctly there would have been some kind of A-Team ready to go.
- Having exhausted the baby name book and the dictionary she draws on the works of H P Lovecraft but good luck with the pronunciation of some of those things.
- Endless to the point where he simply takes the baby and gives her 13 hours to find him, But that's another book entirely.
- He'd be trying to bite everyone's ankles all the time as well
- Except at the troll markets where he is on special at the local Deli.
- But that's perfectly fine because he's the baddie.
- It didn't work for Faust but maybe you'll get lucky.