A Story From: Germany
Read Time: ["3 to 5mins"]
For Ages: 5 to 7yrs., 8 to 10yrs.

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RumpelstiltskinRumpelstiltskin Fairy Tale Story ~ English Stories for Kids

This is the classic fairy tale story of Rumpelstiltskin, originally written by The Brothers Grimm. It is adapted and brought to you by Stories to Grow by. 

There once lived a miller and his daughter.  The miller was very proud of his daughter, and she was a fine young woman indeed.  But the miller could not stop talking about it.  Do you know people like that?

This miller said to the King, “My daughter is so clever she can spin straw into gold!”

“Straw into gold?” said the King.  “That is amazing! She must come at once to my palace and do it for me.”

“Well, she might not really…” said the Miller.  He wished he had not told the King his daughter could spin straw into gold!  But it was too late.

The King sent for the miller’s daughter right away.  He took the girl to a room that was filled with straw.  He told her, “By morning I want all this straw to be spun into gold!  Do you hear me?  If not, you and your father will go to jail!”

He shut the door.  The girl was all alone.  “What will I do?” she called out.  “I cannot do this impossible thing!”

“My daughter is so clever she can spin straw into gold!”

Just then, an odd little man stood before her.  “Where did you come from?” said the girl, amazed. “Who are you?”

“Never mind that,” said the imp.  “What matters is that I can save your life.  For a price, of course.”

“Hmm…what price?” said the girl.  She did not know if she should trust this stranger.

“What you give me must be important to you,” said the imp.  “I will take your necklace.”

“True, my necklace has always been dear to me,” thought the girl. “But not as much as my freedom.”  

“What matters is that I can save your life.  For a price.”

So the girl said, “Very well. If by morning you can turn this room full of straw into gold, my necklace is yours.”

The little man got to work.  Very busy was he, all night long.  By morning the work was done.  No more straw left in the room – just piles of pure spun gold!

“You did it,” said the girl to him.

“Of course I did!” snapped the imp.  “Now hand it over!”

“A deal is a deal,” said the girl.  So she took off the necklace and handed it to him.  And he was gone.

When the King stepped into the room, he was very glad indeed.  “Look at that!” he said.  “It’s all pure gold!”

“Yes,” said the girl.  “Now if you please, I’d like to go home.”

“Not so fast!” said the King.  “I will have my servants bring new straw to fill up a room larger than this one.  You will stay there tonight.  Beware – by morning all the straw must be spun into gold.  Or you and your father will go to jail!”

“Look at all that gold!” he said.

“But I already–!” said the girl.

“No ‘buts’ about it!” said the King.  And he left, shutting the door behind him.

“Oh!” the girl called out.  “I was lucky last night.  It will not happen again.”

“Who says?” said a voice.  The girl spun around.  There before her was that odd little man again!

“I will do this job for you,” said the imp, “IF you give me that ring on your finger.  I know the ring is dear to you.”

“I always loved this ring,” thought the girl, “but after all, it is just a ring.”  And to the imp, she said, “Very well.  It’s a deal.”

So the imp spun the straw all night.  By morning, the straw was spun into piles of gold thread.  The girl gave the ring to the imp, as she said she would do.

The next morning, the girl felt sure that the King would be so happy, he would let her go home.  But alas!  If two rooms of gold look good to a king, three rooms of gold look even better.  The King took the girl to the biggest room yet.  He filled it up with straw.  And told her she must turn that straw into gold by morning.  Or else!

By morning, all the straw was spun into piles of gold thread.

When the King left, the girl fell into a deep sadness.  How long would this go on?  

When the girl lifted her head, there was the little man again.  “I bet you knew I would come back,” he said.

“I could not know for sure,” said the girl.  “But this time will have to be different.  I no longer have anything to give you.  I cannot pay you anymore.”

“We will find a good price,” said the imp. And he went to work, spinning the straw into gold.

“Stop!” said the girl.  “Please!  I have nothing left to pay you.”

But stop the imp did not.  He worked all night long.  Though the girl waved at him and begged him to stop, hour after hour, it was no use.

By morning, the job was done.  “There!” said the imp.  “All done.  Now I will tell you my price.”

“That’s not fair!” said the girl.

“Lots of things are not fair,” said the imp with a shrug.

She sighed.  “Very well.  What is your price?”

“Oh, nothing right now,” said he, lightly.  “Later, I will take your first born child.”

“What?!” said the girl in fear.  “I will never let you do this!”

“There!” said the imp.  “Now I will tell you my price.”

“Oh, but you must.  It is done, after all,” said the imp.  And he was gone.

A moment later, the King stepped into the room.  He was very pleased.  For all his life, people would tell him they would do this, or they would do that.  But almost every time they said so, they would not do the thing.   “You are different,” said the King, looking at the girl’s eyes with love.  “You are special.”  

The girl saw the King in a new way.  When he asked her to marry him, she said yes.

So the two were married.  In time, the new queen had a baby of her own, a son.  Joy filled the palace.  Until one day, the queen was alone in the garden when, all of a sudden, the imp stood before her.

“Give me what you promised!” said the imp, pointing at the baby.  “Now.”

In time the new queen had a baby of her own, a son.

“I never promised it!” said the queen.  She held her baby more tightly. Then she said, “I will give you gold instead. More gold than you have ever seen.”

“Why do I need gold?” said the little man.  “I can make all the gold I want!”

“I will give you a castle of your own,” said the queen.

“I come and go where I want,” said the imp with a shrug.  “What do I want with a castle?”

“I will give you servants to take care of you,” said the queen.

“No one takes care of me!” said the imp.  “No one even knows who I am!”

“I will find out who you are,” said the queen.

“Oh, REALLY?” said the imp.  For he knew that no one on earth knew his true name.  

“No one takes care of me!” said the imp.  “No one even knows who I am!”

“Very well,” he said.  “I will give you three days.  After three days, if you cannot tell me my true name, the baby is mine.  But if you guess my name, you can keep that baby, for all I care.”

Three days is a long time to come up with a lot of names, and so the queen agreed.  

The next day, the queen wrote a very long list of every name she could think of.  That night, in the baby’s bedroom, the imp appeared before her.  “Well?” he said in a loud voice.

The queen read the whole list of names, one by one.  “Could your name be Nathan?” she said.  “How about Lucas?” “Or Jacob?  “Hugo?” “Felix?” “Oliver?” And as you can imagine, many other names, too.

“Not even close!” laughed the imp.  “See you tomorrow night.”  And he was gone.

The next day, the queen called each one of her advisors.  Each advisor gave her strange names from faraway places.  Names she had never heard of.  

That night when the imp appeared, the queen read her list.  

“Perhaps your name is Maximilian,” she said.  “No? How about Gunnar?”  “Alfonso?” “Pointdexter?” And many more.

“This is boring,” said the imp.  “But I will not be bored tomorrow night, when I take the baby!”  He laughed again, and was gone.

That night when the imp appeared, the queen read her list.

The third day, the queen did not know what to do.  She walked over to one side of the room, then back again, back and forth, over and over.  “This does not help a thing!” she said.  So she put on her royal cape and hood, and walked outside the castle.  

“If I have peace and quiet, maybe I will think of something,” she thought.  The queen went into the woods.  She followed a brook to a big lake, and went past the lake to the deep, deep forest hidden in the darkness.

All of a sudden, the queen saw the light of a fire far away.  And there was a voice that was hard to make out.  There was something about that voice, too, but what?  She stepped closer.  At last, there in front of a fire, danced a little man.  It was he, the very same imp!  Very quietly, the queen listened.

As the little man danced, he sang:

Tonight, tonight, my plans I make

Tomorrow tomorrow, the baby I take.

The queen will never win the game

For Rumpelstiltskin is my name!

“Rumpelstiltskin!” said the queen.

That night when the imp appeared, the queen went through more names.  “Is your name Yusaf?” she said.  “Or Bobek?” “How about Salaman?”

“No, a thousand times, no!” said the imp.  “You’re wasting my time.  I will give you one last guess, then that is the end!”

“Well, I am sure this is not right.  But could your name be – Rumpelstiltskin?”

“RUMPELSTILTSKIN?” yelled the imp.  “How could you know?”  He was so mad that he stamped his feet.  He stamped them so hard that a very big hole opened in the ground, and he fell right down into that hole.  And Rumpelstiltskin was never seen again.  


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The story of Rumpelstiltskin has been adapted from The Grimm's Brothers Fairy Tale collection.  Rumpelstiltskin is a fairy tale popularly associated with Germany (where he is known as Rumpelstilzchen). The tale was one collected by the Brothers Grimm in the 1812 edition of Children's and Household Tales.