Guest Author - Siobhain M Cullen
Reading the Rumpelstiltskin story online is a quick way to study the fairytale and complete a summary or review of it's darker, more adult themes. Therefore it makes a more suitable short story for students to study, than for little ones who enjoy it on a simpler level of spookiness and scariness! Older more able students are ready to pick out and discuss the themes of Fantasy, Reality, Age, Beauty, Power, Poverty, Wealth, Bondage, Debt and Good and Evil in each event as the story unfolds.
The fairy tale begins with a poor miller who has a beautiful daughter. He boasts to the king that his daughter can spin gold out of straw. Here it is a possibility that we have a fantasist who craves attention and status. It is also possible that he is cleverer than he looks and has planned an elaborate con right from the start. Given the illiteracy and poverty of the time, however, this is unlikely.
From his powerful position of intellectual prowess and privileged education, the king obviously wants proof and calls the daughter for an audience at his castle. He provides a room full of straw with a spinning wheel. He threatens that she will be killed If there's no gold by the morning, exerting power and control.
The miller's daughter begins to cry because she cannot fulfil the unreasonable and fantastical boasts promised by the other person who exerts power and control over her - her father. Then enters, not a saviour, but another expoliter and representation of cowardly power - a dwarf. The little man offers a cunning and exploitative plan, one which will lead by degrees to the slow removal of the only thing she has that is her birthright - her freedom. He starts by suggesting he takes a simple necklace in return for help. Soon all the straw is spun into gold.
The king also exploits what he thinks is the young girl's lucrative talent and imprisons her permanently to get more gold. On the third visit, the king says he will marry the girl if she can spin the straw into gold one more time. This time she has nothing to offer in return for Rumpelstiltskin's help and the disempowerment is complete. He says she must give him her first child. Powerless and vulnerable, she can do nothing but agree.
Thrilled with all the gold, the king marries the girl and they soon have a new born baby son and for a while, forgetting her bond of debt, she experiences joy. But the little dwarf appears again, demanding his forfeit - the child. The new queen pleads and promises him all the riches in the kingdom instead. He refuses, but in mischief offers her one last reprieve - an intellectual game of cat and mouse power, where she has to guess the answer to a question that only he can know - his name.
She sends messengers out all over the globe to enquire after the controlling little man, but not one of the names they collect is right. She tries nick names next. By the third day, when her deadline is up, the young queen is almost resigned to her fate, until she hears the news the messenger brings. He has seen a dwarf frenetically dancing and singing a boasting song in the forest. In it he shouts that she will never guess his name for it is 'Rumpelstiltskin.' At last she has the key to unlock her psychological prison and loose the bond to save her child.
She turns the tables and indulges in a mischievous little power game of her own by teasing the dwarf. She pretends for a while that she still doesn't know his name. When she reveals it, all his anger, power and contol disappears with him - in a cloud of smoke.
Nowadays it's easy to read the Rumpelstiltskin story online,on your Kindle or on your new ipad! All ready for that essay,term paper,analysis or review!