Another of Grimmís Fairy Tales that Susan Meredith has made kinder and gentler is Rumpelstiltskin. In the original version, the miller told the king that his daughter could spin straw into gold. That was not a good thing for the man to tell the greedy king. He took the millerís daughter, locked her in a room full of straw and told her that if it hadnít all been spun into straw by morning, she would be put to death. Of course, she had no idea how to spin straw into gold.
A funny little man came to her rescue in exchange for her necklace. He came to her rescue again the next night, this time for her ring. The third time, she had no jewelry left to give, so he spun a huge room of straw into gold in exchange for the promise that she would give him her firstborn child.
Once her first child was born and the little man appeared, she regretted what she had promised to do and tried to talk him out of it. He finally relented a little and told her that she could keep the child if she could guess his name within the next 3 days.
The fact that the king told the millerís daughter that he would have her killed if she couldnít successfully spin the straw into gold is harsh and may frighten some children. That is not nearly as bad, though, as how the story ends. When the new queen actually guesses the little manís name, he throws such a fit that he rips himself in two.
In Susan Meredithís version, Rumpelstiltskin is a very different sort of person Ė he is, in fact, part gnome. His gnome father and human mother are the ones who taught him the family craft of how to spin straw into gold. He wants to do nothing more than to help people, but since they live so far away from everyone else, he seldom gets the opportunity to do so. He decides to leave home and go where he can help people.
On his journey, he gets a rude awakening of how mean and uncaring others can be, until he meets Clarissa, the millerís daughter. She is sad. Her parents have boasted that she can spin straw-colored flax into gold-colored linen. They will arrange her marriage to the suitor who makes the best offer. The little man assures her that all will be well and goes on his way.
With his bag of gold, Rumpelstiltskin manages to outdo all of the other suitors and is moved to the front of the line until the king decides he wants to marry the maiden who can spin straw into gold. He takes her to the castle and puts her in a room filled with straw. She is told, even while trying to tell him that there has been a misunderstanding, she will have to stay in that room until all of the straw has been spun into gold. Rumpelstiltskin comes to her rescue and only asks that she marries someone who is kind.
Clarissa is locked into a second even bigger room filled with straw the next day. Rumpelstiltskin again comes to her rescue, this time asking only to be invited to her wedding festivities.
Now she is locked into the biggest room yet. It is, of course, filled with straw for her to spin into gold. This time he asks that she name her firstborn son after him. She agrees to this, even though she has no clue of the little manís name.
The king is annoyed by this little man who appears at his wedding and asks him to leave. Since the rules of hospitality cannot be broken Ė Clarissa had asked him to attend the wedding Ė the little man tells the king that if he guesses what his name is he will leave his kingdom and never return. Iím not going to tell you the rest of the story. You will have to buy the book and read it for yourself. I will say that everyone in the story gets just what they want. This a story to be enjoyed by you and your children and/or grandchildren.
For young readers, various words throughout the book are underlined. These words many not be familiar to those just beginning to read. At the end of the book, a small illustrated dictionary explains what these words mean.
This Gram's Fairy Tale was sent to me free of charge by the publisher. A link to buy this book through Amazon is provided below.