There lived a King in a grand palace. Among his subjects, there was a poor miller. But he had the habit of boasting. One day, he boasted to the King: “My daughter can spin golden threads out of straw.
“That’s impossible!” said the King.
“But my daughter can do it!” the miller said
“I can’t believe it. Bring her tomorrow to the palace and we will see for ourselves!” ordered the King.
The next day, the miller brought his daughter to the palace. The King took her to a room. The room full of straw and a spinning wheel.
“By morning, you should spin all this straw into golden threads. If what your father claims turns out to be a lie, he will be put to death!” he told her and left the room.
The poor girl didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know how to spin golden threads out of straw. She started crying. Just then, the door opened and a strange looking dwarf walked into the room.
‘Why are you crying?” he asked her.
“I have to spin golden threads out of the straw lying around here. If I can’t, the King will order his men to execute my father. Can you help me to spin golden thread!”
“Of course, I can do it for you. But what will I get in return?” the dwarf asked.
The miller’s daughter had a pearl necklace around her neck. She gave it to the dwarf and asked him to get to work. The dwarf sat near the spinning wheel and within no time had spun all the straw in the room into beautiful golden threads.
The next morning, the King was surprised to see the golden threads. But he was not yet fully convinced. So he took the miller’s daughter to a bigger room with still more straw and asked her to spin more golden threads by next morning. That night, when the miller’s daughter sat thinking how to repeat her feat of the previous night, once again the dwarf walked into the room and said “You want my help again?”
“Indeed, I do! Please help me to spin some more of the golden threads!” she pleaded.
‘You know I need something in return?” the dwarf looked at her expectantly.
The miller’s daughter had a silver ring. She gave the ring to the dwarf. The dwarf sat near the spinning wheel and started spinning the golden threads effortlessly. Soon, all the straw was exhausted.
The King could not believe his eyes. The golden threads were shining beautifully. He looked at the miller’s daughter as if he was looking at the strangest being in the world. He then took her to a large hall full of straw stored for the season, and told her: “Dear lady, this is your final test! If you can spin all the straw stored here into golden threads, I will marry you. Naturally, you will become the Queen after our marriage and can lead a life of comfort! Don’t disappoint me!”
After the King had left, the miller’s daughter was worried again. She knew that if the strange dwarf did not show up, she will never be able to show any golden threads to the King. As she waited expectantly for the dwarf to appear, he did come in the dark of the night!
“Thank’s a lot for coming to my rescue”. She said “Help me to become the Queen!”
“You will become the Queen. But what will I get if I help you?” asked the dwarf.
The miller’s daughter didn’t have anything to offer to the dwarf. She looked around helplessly and said “I don’t have anything to give you!”
“But you can make a promise!” said the dwarf.
‘What promise?” she asked
“Promise me that after becoming the Queen, you will give me your first born baby!” he asked.
“Anything you want! I promise!” said the miller’s daughter, without thinking much of the promise she was making.
The dwarf once again spun the golden threads for her. The next morning, the King was immensely pleased to see her fulfilling his wish. True to his word, he announced his marriage with the miller’s daughter. After a few days, they were married. Many people came from different places to bless the newly married couple. So, the miller’s daughter became the Queen.
Time passed quickly and soon she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. One day, when she was attending to her little baby, the door opened and in walked the strange dwarf! The Queen was shocked to see him. She had entirely forgotten about the dwarf and her promise. But when she saw him again, very well.
“O, Queen! The time has come to fulfill your promise. Give me your child!” he demanded.
She started weeping and pleaded with him to spare her child. But the dwarf was very much unmoved. He finally said
“Okay, I will give you three days time. You have to find out what my name is within these three days! If you are not able to find out, I will take the baby away!” said the dwarf. As soon as he had left, the queen started thinking of as many names as she could.
When he came the next day, she called him by a variety of names, but the dwarf kept smiling and denying. He was confident that she will never be able to find out his real name.
The dwarf came on the second day also. The Queen had enquired some more names from nearby places. But the dwarf denied any of those to be his own and left, reminding her that only one more day was left for her to find out his name.
The Queen then called a messenger and asked him to go and find out about the dwarf. The messenger set about his task and returned late in the night. He told the Queen “I saw a dwarf in the forest, who had lit a fire and was singing and dancing. He was singing like this:
“Today I bake; Tomorrow I brew;
The next day I will fetch the Queen’s child;
Oh! Lucky it is that they don’t know;
That Rumpelstiltskin is my name; ho, ho!”
The Queen was very pleased to know the dwarfs name. She gave the messenger a nice reward and waited for the dwarf to turn up.
The third morning, the dwarf came to the Queen’s chambers. He was very confident of taking away the Queen’s baby.
“Well, tell me what is my name, or else I will take the baby today!” he said.
The Queen thought of having some fun with him.
“Is your name Tom?” she asked.
“Not at all!” said the dwarf with a smile.
“It is Dick?” she asked .again “No, my dear Queen!”” he said
“Then, it must be Rumpelstiltskin!” she said decisively.
The dwarf was taken aback. He had never even dream that she would learn his name.
“The devil told you that! The devil told you that!” he shrieked, stamping his foot to the ground. He glared at her for a long time, then turned and walked out of her room, and was never seen again. The Queen was very happy to have been able to avoid giving her baby to the strange dwarf. She praised the Lord!