Rumpelstiltskin: Classic Childrens Tales: 7

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When she gives birth to her first child, she forgets her promise to the little man, who appears in her chamber and reminds her of it. She begs him to release her from her promise, but he refuses. Instead, he says that if she can guess his name in the next three days, he will let her keep her child. The same occurs on the second day. But on the third day, one of her messengers reports that he overheard a funny-looking little man dancing with glee around a fire, and in his song he let slip that his name is Rumpel-stilts-kin.

When the little man returns to the queen on the third night, she tells him his name, and in his rage at being thwarted, he puts his foot through the floor and promptly splits in two.

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Everyone lives happily ever after except Rumpelstiltskin, who was divided over the issue. This is a pretty full summary of the plot of this curious fairy tale, which is doubtless familiar to most of us. But where did the story come from? But the central story of Rumpelstiltskin predates the German tale, and its goblin-like figure, by many centuries, and is found in various cultures around the world: it seems that through a sort of convergent evolution of cultural thought and storytelling, different nations have come up with strikingly similar versions of the same basic narrative.

Other versions are found in Israel, Serbia, and Japan, among others. Why is the story of Rumpelstiltskin found across the globe, and why can it be traced so far back in our cultural history? The story obviously has its roots deep in the most primal and basic drives and emotions which are commonly shared throughout humanity. But are those roots within us i.

Or is it, perhaps, a bit of both? How, moreover, should we analyse or interpret the intriguing title character? His supernatural abilities suggest that he might almost be perceived as a kind of god — or, alternatively, as a demon.

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The child, though, is different. Yet why he might want the child is never revealed or explained. Not only does he not do so, but he even gives the queen another opportunity to wriggle out of their deal, by guessing his name. Is this hubris? Certainly the three male characters in the story — the miller, the king, and Rumpelstiltskin himself — are too cocky for their own good, in many ways. This is a good narrative technique, of course, and repetition is very important in primal stories such as fairy tales.

The central motif of the story, of course, is the idea of being able to spin straw into gold. Other versions have Rumpelstiltskin driving his right foot so far into the ground that he creates a chasm and falls into it, never to be seen again. In the oral version originally collected by the Brothers Grimm, Rumpelstiltskin flies out of the window on a cooking ladle.

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The name Rumpelstilzchen in German means literally "little rattle stilt", a stilt being a post or pole that provides support for a structure. A rumpelstilt or rumpelstilz was consequently the name of a type of goblin, also called a pophart or poppart , that makes noises by rattling posts and rapping on planks. The meaning is similar to rumpelgeist "rattle ghost" or poltergeist , a mischievous spirit that clatters and moves household objects. Other related concepts are mummarts or boggarts and hobs , which are mischievous household spirits that disguise themselves. The ending -chen is a German diminutive cognate to English -kin.

The earliest known mention of Rumpelstiltskin occurs in Johann Fischart 's Geschichtklitterung, or Gargantua of a loose adaptation of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel which refers to an "amusement" for children, i. Translations of the original Grimm fairy tale KHM 55 into various languages have generally substituted different names for the dwarf whose name is Rumpelstilzchen. In other languages the name was translated in a poetic and approximate way. Likewise, in Danish and Norwegian , he is known as Rumleskaft literally "Rumble-shank".

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Italian has Tremotino which loosely means "Little Earthquake". In other translations an entirely different and generally meaningless name was selected, such as Barbichu , Broumpristoche , Grigrigredinmenufretin , Outroupistache or Perlimpinpin in various translations to French. Serbian , Bosnian and Croatian Cvilidreta "Whine-screamer". Urdu versions of the tale used the name Tees Mar Khan for the imp. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For other uses, see Rumpelstiltskin disambiguation. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Hansel, who liked the taste of the roof, tore down a great piece of it, and Gretel pushed out the whole of one round window-pane, sat down, and enjoyed herself with it. Suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills, who supported herself on crutches, came creeping out.

Hansel and Gretel were so terribly frightened that they let fall what they had in their hands. No harm shall happen to you.

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Then good food was set before them, milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts. Afterwards two pretty little beds were covered with clean white linen, and Hansel and Gretel lay down in them, and thought they were in heaven. The old woman had only pretended to be so kind; she was in reality a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the little house of bread in order to entice them there. When a child fell into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast day with her. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw near.

Scream as he might, it would not help him. When he is fat, I will eat him.

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And now the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Gretel got nothing but crab-shells. When four weeks had gone by, and Hansel still remained thin, she was seized with impatience and would not wait any longer. Let Hansel be fat or lean, tomorrow I will kill him, and cook him. Early in the morning, Gretel had to go out and hang up the cauldron with the water, and light the fire. Then Gretel gave her a push that drove her far into it, and shut the iron door, and fastened the bolt.

The old witch is dead! How they did rejoice and embrace each other, and dance about and kiss each other! When they had walked for two hours, they came to a great stretch of water. The duck came to them, and Hansel seated himself on its back, and told his sister to sit by him.


The man had not known one happy hour since he had left the children in the forest; the woman, however, was dead. Gretel emptied her pinafore until pearls and precious stones ran about the room, and Hansel threw one handful after another out of his pocket to add to them. Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness.

My tale is done, there runs a mouse; whosoever catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it.

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Rumpelstiltskin: Classic Childrens Tales: 7 Rumpelstiltskin: Classic Childrens Tales: 7
Rumpelstiltskin: Classic Childrens Tales: 7 Rumpelstiltskin: Classic Childrens Tales: 7
Rumpelstiltskin: Classic Childrens Tales: 7 Rumpelstiltskin: Classic Childrens Tales: 7
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