Rumpelstiltskin is a very famous fairytale. This fairytale is widely known around the world with many variants. It tells a story of a miller’s daughter who was saved by an ugly ogre called Rumpelstiltskin. As I grew up, I noted some disturbing lessons from the story which I thought makes this story inappropriate for young children.
How the story goes
Once there was a miller who had a very lazy daughter. One day the miller lied to the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king locked the girl in a tower and forced her to spin straw intogold in one night. If on the next morning he didn’t see his gold, he would cut her head. She was crying helplessly when suddenly a crooked little man called Rumpelstiltskin appeared and offered help. The creature can spin straw into gold for her in return for her necklace. The king was so happy when he saw gold in his tower that he ordered the girl to do it again. Rumpelstiltskin agreed to help this second time in return for the girl’s ring. The king was again so happy to see the gold. He locked the girl in larger room and once again ordered her to fill it with gold overnight. If she could do it, the king will marry her. Rumpelstiltskin agreed to help but the girl had nothing to be given to him in return. So Rumpelstiltskin made the girl promise to give him her firstborn child.
The girl agreed, the gold was ready and the king married her and she became queen. When she had her first child, Rumpelstiltskin appeared again to claim the baby. She didn’t want to give him up to him and offered him her wealth instead. Rumpelstiltskin didn’t want money and fortune, but he asked the queen to guess his name in three days. If she succeeded he will leave the child alone. The queen followed Rumpelstiltskin to his home. He sang a song and in one of his songs’ lyrics, he mentioned his name. The queenguessed the name correctly. Rumpelstiltskin was angry as he cannot get the baby and then he vanished. End of the story.
The immoral lessons
First of all why the miller lies to the king? How could he put his own daughter in a dangerous situation? Some versions say that the miller does it because he wants to look important before the king. So he sells his daughter for fame. The king obviously marries the girl because of the gold not out of love. He even threatened to kill her three times if she ever fails to spin the straw into gold. The father doesn’t love the girl the king does not either. Then who really loves the girl? Rumplestiltskin? No. Rumpelstilskin is also an opportunist who is willing to help only in return of something. When the girl no longer has anything valuable to give him, he asked her to promise to give him her firstborn child after she becomes queen. What a poor girl. It looks like everyone wants to take advantage of her.
The girl, on the other hand, has questionable characters too. How could she marry the cruel and greedy man who had imprisoned her, who doesn’t love him, who had threatened to kill her and who only after the gold? Is she afraid or she also after the king’s fortune? She also breaks her oath to Rumpelstilskin, the only creature who comes to the rescue when she was powerless and helpless.
They story is less violent compared to other fairytales but it has very gruesome ending. In the Brother Grimm’s version, after the queen guess his name correctly, Rumpelstiltskin stamps his foot on the ground, the foot gets stuck, he grabs it, tries to pull it and eventually rips himself in half.