This is “Rumpelstiltskin Fairy Tale|The Rewrite” with an interesting new spin.
“Pride and greed will cause men, and women, to desire what they are not or what they cannot have.”
– ©Veron Lee Campbell, July 2018
In the small village of Cartersville, Miller Granger and his 16-year-old daughter, Annabelle, lived in a rather dilapidated house. His wife had passed away from pneumonia when Annabelle was only two years old.
Her chestnut hair, oval face, and dazzling brown eyes made her more than an ordinary looking girl. She loved and respected her father helping him as much as she could to keep the meager portions of food on their table.
One day while Miller Granger was returning home on his donkey from the marketplace, the king was riding in his chariot accompanied by two of his servants.
He alighted from his donkey and bowed before the king. The king asked about his family, to which he answered that he had an only daughter who could spin straw into gold.
The king was delighted. He summoned the miller to take Annabelle to his palace by sunrise the following day so he could put her to task.
Miller Granger was terrified, but knew he could not disobey the king’s order. The next day he brought Annabelle to the palace and left her to face her demise.
The king took her to a room furnished only with a brightly varnished wooden spindle and a matching stool in the middle. Piles of freshly gathered tan-colored straw filled the rest of the room.
“All this straw has to be spun into gold by sunrise tomorrow,” he ordered.
Annabelle’s heart somersaulted. Moisture seeped through her palms calloused from her daily tasks helping her father. Tears slowly rolled then galloped down her face.
She couldn’t bring herself to hate her father for making up such an impossible tale, leaving her at the peril of this greedy king. He was all she had.
She sobbed louder and louder knowing there was no way to honor the king’s demand. Through her tears, she saw a glistening light coming from a window high above close to the ceiling.
Rumpelstiltskin to the Rescue!
An elf skillfully glided down the beam as though it were a slide reaching down to the floor. She rubbed her eyes to get a better view. He was dressed as ordinary as the elves she had read about in fairy tales.
He carried a butterfly catcher with a black and gold ornament in the shape of a bee at the end of the wand. She couldn’t imagine her situation getting any stranger.
This very tiny man not quite three feet tall with piercing olive eyes, large ears and clothes that fitted snugly to his limber frame asked, “Why are you crying?”
“The king expects me to spin all this straw into gold by tomorrow morning,” she said as she continued to sob. “Only a magician could accomplish such an impossible task,” she wailed.
“Well,” he said thoughtfully “you have three choices: Escape with me to the wilderness where you will become a real princess. Or, confess to the king that you have no power to do this and beg him to let you go free …
… Or, allow me to complete this impossible task for you.”
Her eyes grew wide with anticipation when she heard the third offer. “Can you really turn this straw into gold?” she asked him anxiously.
“Oh yes,” he replied. “By the powers invested in me at my christening in the land of far away, I can whisk this off and have time to spare before the king comes back.”.
“But …” he continued, “you have to give me something in exchange for my services.”
“I can give you my chain and pendant that belonged to my mother,” she offered without hesitating, taking it off as she spoke.
“That will do,” he chanted as he alighted on the stool. And as only someone possessed with magical powers could, he transformed each pile of straw into glimmering piles of golden nuggets.
She fell asleep on the floor while he worked. When she awoke, the little man had disappeared but the room was illuminated with piles of sparkling gold.
She thought to herself, “At last I can go home and be rid of this curse forever.”
Her thoughts were interrupted as the door flew open. The king walked in and upon seeing the room full of gold, he clapped his hands.
“I shall be the richest king of the east and the west and the north and the south. I will build myself barns and storehouses. I will throw parties every other day and invite kings, queens, princes, and princesses from every corner of the world to see my great riches.”
Annabelle’s joy was short lived. The king declared, “Come with me, maiden girl.” He took her to a larger room than the previous one.
“This room should be full of gold by tomorrow morning. Now get to work! In due time I will reward your father with a gold ring.”
Again, Annabelle didn’t know what to do. “She cried so hard her face became a bright pink and her eyes swelled up as though she had gone without sleep for an entire week.
Soon afterwards, the little man slid down the sunbeam coming from the window. The conversation was the same as the night before. This time she gave him a golden comb her godmother had given her on her 16th birthday.
The story was that it once belonged to a mermaid who lived in the river at the north end of the village garden path. She had given it to Annabelle’s godmother’s great, great aunt who had befriended the mermaid as a little girl.
He snatched the comb from her and placed it in his net, then jumped onto the stool and started spinning as he did the night before.
Annabelle watched closely but couldn’t follow his swift movements. Soon she became sleepy and fell asleep before he was finished.
When she awoke it was morning and the little elf was out of sight. The room glowed by the brightness of gold all around it. She danced around and clapped her hands with joy.
“I’m going home today,” she exclaimed with such a surety as though the king had made her this promise. As soon as she heard his footsteps outside the door, she jumped up and ran to greet him.
“Oh, my maiden girl,” he exclaimed whistling a joyous tune. You have made me the happiest king in the whole wide world. Come with me to the biggest room of all. The story of my wealth will spread to every corner of the earth.”
Annabelle was terrified. “Please,” she begged. “May I go home to my father?”
He flew into a rage, “Come with me at once! Your mission is not yet over.” She followed him into a room that was twice as big as the last one and closed the door behind her.
She sat down and cried even more profusely than before. “What if the little man did not return?” she thought. And if he did, she had nothing left to give him in exchange for his services.
The sunbeam caught her attention, bringing in this stranger for the third time. She was excited yet scared for her life.
“What could be the matter now?” he asked inquisitively. “The king must be satisfied with two rooms full of gold.”
“No,” she sobbed. “He wants this room to be filled as well.”
“Do not worry, my friend,” said the elf. “Have I not delivered on the other two occasions?”
“Yes,” she exclaimed “but I have nothing to give you.”
“Tonight, I will spin the finest gold the king has yet seen.” With that he started to spin even faster than before. Annabelle tried earnestly to see how he did it, but that was as impossible as imagining that such a thing could be done.
He finished before daylight and had a strange message for her: “The king is going to make you his queen.”
“Me?” she laughed. “I’m the poorest of the poor in the land of Cartersville.”
“That may be true. But where would he find a wife that would make him as rich as you have?”
“But …” she started to say.
He continued, “In two weeks you shall be queen of Cartersville. I will be a spider on the wall to celebrate this grand occasion with you.”
“I have one final request,” he continued. “You must promise me your firstborn as my repayment for this final service to you.”
“Anything! Anything!” she declared excitedly. She thought the king would never make her queen, so she wouldn’t have to keep her promise.
She would go back to her life as usual. It was far better than being locked away in the king’s palace waiting for a strange creature to come to her rescue.
While she mused, the little man disappeared. She breathed a sigh of relief and waited for the king to enter.
He leapt in the air and danced about while whistling. “I’m the happiest and wealthiest king alive on the face of the planet.” He held out his hands for her to join him while he danced and sang.
“I will send to all the kings, queens, princes, and princesses from near and far. You shall be my wife. We are going to have the biggest celebration ever.”
Annabelle froze in his arms, but he continued dancing and singing as he twirled her around. Her heart sank. She thought about the promise she had made to the elf not long before.
The king took her to a chamber that only a person of royal descent could even dream of stepping into. He called two of his servant maids to attend to her transformation into a lady fit to be the king’s betrothed.
The biggest, fanciest, and most lavish wedding ceremony and celebration Cartersville had ever seen took place as the elf predicted. Two weeks to the date!
A Prince is Born
Annabelle was in a daze. She forgot everything about the elf and her promise to him until shortly after the birth of her beautiful baby boy, Prince Joeladin.
The morning he turned one month old, she was sitting in a rocking chair beside the head of the bed. She was enjoying the beautiful sunbeam that had streamed into the room.
“This is a glorious day. I am happier than I ever dreamed I would be. After all the hard labor and poverty, my father is a nobleman and I am queen with the most handsome baby in the whole wide world,” she exclaimed to herself.
“Ugh! What are you doing here? I could NEVER give up my baby to anyone!”
The elf had returned to take her baby. Her exact promise to him was, “Anything! Anything!” How could he dare to expect her to keep such a promise?
She burst into tears holding tightly to her baby boy as he approached her. “Oh, you mustn’t be so cruel,” she wailed. “Have some mercy. Take all the riches in the kingdom, only spare my child and the grief it would cost me.”
He halted at the foot of the bed. “You cannot break your promise or the favors I granted you will be reversed. The king will find out you are a fraud and you will lose your baby anyway.”
“Oh, please kind sir,” she pleaded. How was I to know the king would desire me for his queen?”
“So, you planned to deceive me?” He made a step toward her with outstretched arms.
“No!” she screamed. “Please …”
He stepped back and with a finger over his lips, he bowed before her. His face appeared gentler than she had ever seen it. “I will have mercy on you,” he said in a soft tone.
“You can keep your child for now. I have one last request before I go. I will give you the meaning of my name and if you can tell me what it is on my return in two weeks, the child is yours to keep.” He chanted …
“In a land far, far away, my kinsmen lived for thousands of years.
My glide is quick and light as a feather; I have the most sensitive ears.
Swifter than a jaguar, wiser than an owl, and more cunning than a fox.
My name at my christening is written on parchment and buried in a box.”
With that, he sprang into the air fading into the sunbeam.
Annabelle called her maid, Dorlene. “Quick!” she urged. “Ask Michelo, the enchanter, to come to me at once!” Dorlene saw the terror in her face and heard her shaky voice. She wasted no time in getting the chief enchanter in to see her.
Annabelle asked him about lands far away and names that may be unusual to their parts of the world. Michelo, puzzled by her anxiety, asked if she was in danger. She confided in him then sent him on his way.
For the next week he shared the history of faraway lands and some of the most unusual names. She spent another week memorizing them and trying to keep her composure while hoping the elf would not return.
Two weeks later at the same hour, the elf was in the room with a huge grin lighting up his entire face. He bowed before her. “Are you ready for the challenge, dear queen?”
“I’ll try,” she said nervously. “In the lands far, far away there are the most exquisite names. Are you Featherlight Slicker?”
“Hootie the Swift?”
“See no evil, hear no evil?”
“Oh, so boring.”
“Not even close. Don’t stop.”
Annabelle reeled off hundreds of names from her list, but none of them fit.
Rumpelstiltskin is Your Name!
“Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz, bzzz.” A bee circled around her head, but she was more concerned about getting to the end of her list to pay any attention to it. “Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz, bzzz,” it continued coming closer to her left ear.
It was chanting something in a rhythmic fashion. She paused long enough to listen while trying to focus on her list hoping the elf would not hear what she heard. “Rum-pel-stilt-skin.”
She finished the entire list with a look of despair on her face.
The elf leapt forward almost touching the child.
She jumped to her feet, swerving to her right while she blurted out, “RUMPELSTILTSKIN is your name!”
The elf turned green, then purple and swelled up like a puffer fish. “That honey-sucking buzzer!” he screamed. “I shouldn’t have left my net!”
The bee followed the sunbeam and darted out the window. Rumpelstiltskin dragged himself up after it and disappeared.
Annabelle kissed her baby boy, hugging him close to her bosom. She wiped her tears then went in search of the king. He was delighted to see them.
Kings, queens, princes, princesses, peasants, young, and old were gathered in the courtyard and along the roads. Some had even climbed into trees to see the new Prince Joeladin.
Nothing was said about the elf and he never showed his face again.
— THE END —
I hope you have enjoyed this short story, Rumpelstiltskin Fairy Tale|The Rewrite by Veron Lee Campbell.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I will be more than happy to serve you.