Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Rumpelstiltskin & Other News

Some of my most popular posts are the ones in my Fairy Tales in Different Cultures series. I have been considering bringing it back. Then when I was at the library the other day the children's librarian mentioned some different versions of Rumpelstiltskin. I decided to check out what versions there are of Rumpelstiltskin and Sleeping Beauty. So today I am sharing Rumpelstiltskin retold and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. (I also have big news down at the end of the post!)

In this Caldecott Medal winning (1998) and Caldecott Honor (1987) book, Zelinsky shares the Grimm Brothers version of Rumeplstiltskin. His illustrations are beautiful oil paintings that are each a piece of artwork. The tale is the one most of us know--the poor miller with a daughter who brags that she can spin straw into gold and the king demands the daughter be brought to the castle and prove it or die. She of course cannot (or the miller wouldn't be poor) and weeps not knowing what to do until a strange, little man comes and asks what she will give him if he does this task.
She offers her necklace the first night and he spins all the straw in the room into gold by morning. The king brings the girl to a bigger room full of straw and puts on the same request. This time the girl offers the man her ring and the task is done. The next day she is shown into an even larger room full of straw with the king saying he will marry her if she spins this straw into gold. This time she has nothing to offer the little man, so he suggests her first born child. She agrees and then he spins the straw into gold and she marries the king. When she has her first son she had forgotten about the little man, but he appears to get what was promised however the queen cannot part with her baby. He makes another deal with her that she has to guess his name within three days or the baby is his. The queen tries all the names she knows and sends out her servants to gather more names. One servant comes back having witnessed the little man dancing around his fire singing about getting the baby because the queen doesn't know his name is Rumpelstiltskin. Therefore the queen is able to keep her baby and live happily ever after. (Afterall it is a fairy tale.)

Zelinsky's website offers information about the book as well as a teacher's guide to go with the story. I love the paintings that bring this familiar story to life. As I think about this story I think about who was good and who was bad. This story has many complexities to good and bad. The miller was bad for lying. The girl was good for obeying and being a loving mother, but bad for lying about who spun the straw into gold and go back on her promise. Rumpelstiltskin was good to offer his services to do an impossible task but bad that he wanted a baby in exchange for the work. I am going to look at different versions of this story and see how they are similar and different. I hope you will join us in our exploration!

My Big News

So I love Thirty-One Gifts. I have hosted several parties and have many of their bags. I decided to become a consultant. I am having a kick-off on-line party and would love to have your support. Disclosure: By shopping at this link I will receive a percentage as well as hostess rewards. Thank you for any support you give!