Rumpelstiltskin

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Rumpelstiltskin
Rumpelstiltskin.jpg
Andrew Lang's The Blue Fairy Book, (1889)
Folk tale
NameRumpelstiltskin
AKATom Tit Tot
Päronskaft
Repelsteeltje
Data
Aarne-Thompson grouping500
CountryGermany
England
Sweden
Netherlands
Published inGrimm's Fairy Tales
English Fairy Tales
 
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Rumpelstiltskin
Rumpelstiltskin.jpg
Andrew Lang's The Blue Fairy Book, (1889)
Folk tale
NameRumpelstiltskin
AKATom Tit Tot
Päronskaft
Repelsteeltje
Data
Aarne-Thompson grouping500
CountryGermany
England
Sweden
Netherlands
Published inGrimm's Fairy Tales
English Fairy Tales

Rumpelstiltskin (also spelled as Rumplestiltskin) is the antagonist of a fairy tale that originated in Germany (where he is known as Rumpelstilzchen). The tale was collected by the Brothers Grimm in the 1812 edition of Children's and Household Tales. It was subsequently revised in later editions.

Plot[edit]

In order to make himself appear more important, a miller lies to a king, telling him that his daughter can spin straw into gold. (Some versions make the miller's daughter blonde and describe the "straw-into-gold" claim as a careless boast the miller makes about the way his daughter's strawlike blonde hair takes on a goldlike luster when sunshine strikes it.) The king calls for the girl, shuts her in a tower room filled with straw and a spinning wheel, and demands that she spin the straw into gold by morning or he will cut off her head (other versions have the king threatening to lock her up in a dungeon forever). She has given up all hope until an imp-like creature appears in the room and spins the straw into gold for her in return for her necklace. When the king takes the girl, on the next morning, to a larger room filled with straw to repeat the feat, the imp spins in return for the girl's ring. On the third day, when the girl has been taken to an even larger room with straw and told by the king that he will marry her if she can fill this room with gold or kill her if she cannot, the girl has nothing left with which to pay the strange creature. He extracts from her a promise that her firstborn child will be given to him, and spins the room full of gold a final time.

The king keeps his promise to marry the miller's daughter. But when their first child is born, the imp returns to claim his payment: "Now give me what you promised." The now-queen offers him all the wealth she has if she may keep the child. The imp has no interest in her riches, but finally consents to give up his claim to the child if the queen is able to guess his name within three days. Her many guesses over the first two days fail, but before the final night, her messenger (though he does not know the significance of his mission) comes across the imp's remote mountain cottage and watches, unseen, as the imp hops about his fire and sings. In his song's lyrics, "tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll go to the king's house, nobody knows my name, I'm called Rumpelstiltskin," he reveals his name.[1]

When the imp comes to the queen on the third day and she, after first feigning ignorance, reveals his true name, Rumpelstiltskin, he loses his temper and his bargain. (Versions vary about whether he accuses the devil or witches of having revealed his name to the queen.) In the 1812 edition of the Brothers Grimm tales, Rumpelstiltskin then "ran away angrily, and never came back." The ending was revised in a final 1857 edition to a more gruesome ending wherein Rumpelstiltskin "in his rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two." 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.

Variants[edit]

The same story pattern appears in numerous other cultures: Tom Tit Tot in England (from English Tales by Joseph Jacobs), Whuppity Stoorie in Scotland (from Robert Chambers's Popular Rhymes of Scotland), Gilitrutt in Iceland, Joaidane جعيدان in Arabic (he who talks too much), Khlamushka Хламушка (junker) in Russia, Rumplcimprcampr/ Rampelnik in Czech Republic, Martinko Klingáč in Slovakia, Ruidoquedito (meaning "little noise") in South America, Pancimanci in Hungary (from A Csodafurulya by Kolozsvari Grandpierre Emil), Cvilidreta (whine-screamer) in Serbia and Croatia, Tremotino in Italy, Ootz-li Gootz-li עוּץ-לי גוּץ-לי in Israel (a compact and rhymy touch to the original sentence and meaning of the story, "He advised me and then turned me into a joke"), Daiku to Oniroku (daiku means "a carpenter", to means "and", and Oniroku is an ogre's name), "大工と鬼六" in Japan and "Myrmidon" in France.

These tales are Aarne-Thompson type 500, The Name of the Helper.[2]

Another of the Grimm's tales revolves about a girl trapped by false claims about her spinning abilities, The Three Spinners. However, the three women who assist that girl do not demand her firstborn, but instead ask that she invite them to her wedding and say that they are relatives of hers. She complies, and when the three appear at the wedding, amazing the king with their ugliness, they tell the king that their various deformities (an overgrown thumb in one, a pendulous lip in the second, an enormous foot in the third) are the result of their years of spinning. The horrified king decrees that the bride will spin no more. In contrast to Rumpelstiltskin's self-seeking, therefore, these helpers ask only the "payment" of extending their benevolence to the heroine, and ensure that she will not need their help again. In one Italian variant, the girl must discover their names, as with Rumpelstiltskin, but not for the same reason: she must use their names to invite them, and she has forgotten them.

Name origins[edit]

The name Rumpelstilzchen in German means literally "little rattle stilt". (A stilt is a post or pole which provides support for a structure.) A rumpelstilt or rumpelstilz was 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 that are mischievous household spirits that disguise themselves.) The ending -chen is a German diminutive and designates something as "little" or "dear", depending on context.

The earliest known mention of Rumpelstiltskin occurs in Johann Fischart's Geschichtklitterung, or Gargantua of 1577 (a loose adaptation of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel) which refers to an "amusement" for children named "Rumpele stilt or the Poppart".

Names used in translations[edit]

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 the original.

For some languages, a name was chosen that comes close in sound to the German name: Rumpelstiltskin in English, Repelsteeltje in Dutch, and Rumpelstichen in Portuguese. He is known as Päronskaft in Swedish[3] (literally "Pear stalk"); the sense of stilt or stalk of the second part is retained. In Danish and Norwegian, he is known as Rumleskaft (literally "Rumble shank"). In other languages an entirely different and generally meaningless name was selected, such as Barbichu, Broumpristoche, Grigrigredinmenufretin, Outroupistache, Tracassin or Perlimpinpin in various translations to French. Polish translations use Titelitury or Rumpelsztyk, Greek translations use Κουτσοκαλιγέρης, Czech translations use Rumplcimprcampr or Rampelník, Slovak translations use Martinko Klingáč, and Finnish ones Tittelintuure. Italian has Tremotino, Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian Cvilidreta, and Hebrew עוץ לי גוץ לי (Ootzly-Gootzly), a name chosen by the poet Avraham Shlonsky when using the fairy tale as the basis of a children's play, now a classic among Hebrew children's plays. In Spain, the character's name is Rumpelstinski and Rumpelestíjeles. The name Rumpelstiltskin comes from the Italian novelist Diego Tehslub who wrote the original novel titled 'Diablo el negro' about a young English girl called Elizabeth Shepherd (a school teacher).

Appearances in media[edit]

Cover of Classics Illustrated Junior issue 512

Literature[edit]

Comics[edit]

Music[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

Games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Some versions have the imp limiting the number of daily guesses to three and hence the total number of guesses allowed to a maximum of nine, and credit the queen's messenger for knowledge of the significance of his mission.
  2. ^ "Tales Similar To Rumpelstiltskin". SurLaLune Fairy Tales. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  3. ^ Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Wilhelm (2008). Bröderna Grimms sagovärld (in Swedish). Bonnier Carlsen. p. 72. ISBN 91-638-2435-3. 
  4. ^ "Mr. Mxyzptlk (mix-yiz-pittle-ick): The History of Superman's Most Powerful Villain - Yahoo Voices". voices.yahoo.com. 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  5. ^ This comes from a section of Schumann's journals that is difficult to find and has not been translated into English. See "Rapunzel in Music" and "Sleeping Beauty in Music" for more corroboration.
  6. ^ "Screenshot from beginning of episode 'Manhattan'". Retrieved 2013-12-02.  Spelling of name is shown.
  7. ^ Roots, Kimberly (2013-03-26). "Grimm Season 2 Spoilers — Rumplestiltskin Pages from Nick’s Books". TVLine. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  8. ^ "Rumpelstilzchen | rbb Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg". Rbb-online.de. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  9. ^ "Rumpelstiltskin (1955)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  10. ^ "Rumpelstilzchen | rbb Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg". Rbb-online.de. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 

External links[edit]