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Monday, October 15, 2018

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: a West Indies Rumpelstiltskin

The Girl Who Spun Gold

Last week we brought back our Fairy Tales in Different Cultures and introduced the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. This week we are going to look at another version of Rumpelstiltskin. This one is written by Virginia Hamilton and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon and is called The Girl Who Spun Gold. In the author's notes about the story Virginia shares a bit of history of the Rumpelstiltskin tale and shares that this West Indian version is written what is called black dialect. 


The language is a huge part of this story. The tale itself is like the German version, however it is the mother who tells the lie about the daughter. The king locks the girl in with a padlock and she is already his wife. Rumpelstiltskin is called Lit'mahn Bittyun. He is a magical man that seems to be mischieveous and perhaps evil. His threat is if she doesn't know his name by the third night he will turn her smaller than he and make her live in his shadow. He is a scary and ugly man so she does not want to spend any time with him. 
Sample Painting from the Book Source

This is a fun version as the language reminds me of how some black people speak and set it in the environment. The paintings are beautiful and extremely colorful. Lit'mahn Bittyun is extremely scary as you can see in the sample painting. When Hazel was young, Rumpelstiltskin scared her. This version would definitely scare young children. I like the version, but would not share it with younger children (who are often the ones that want to hear fairy tales). 

Join us next week for another version of Rumpelstiltskin!!