Audio Stories

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

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


“Oh, but you already have.  The straw is spun into gold.  And so the deal is made!” said the imp.  And he was gone.

A moment later, a young man stepped into the room.  “Miss, are you all right?” said the Prince.  “I know how hard my father can be.”

“True, that,” she said, and they smiled.  This young man seemed very different from his father.  

“When I am King,” he said, “I will not rule as he does.”  The Prince looked around.  He saw the large piles of gold, shining on the floor.

“How can you do such a thing?” he said in wonder.  The girl said nothing.  “I was told that if the straw were spun into gold by this morning, you were to marry me.  But know this.  If you really want to get out of here, I will help you.  Do not worry. I will find a way to tell my father.”

This young man was very different!  The girl wanted to get to know him better.  The two stayed in the room and talked about all sorts of things.  Before long, they had fallen in love.  Then he asked her to marry him.  And the girl said yes.

So the two were married.  It was not long after the wedding when the terrible old King died.  The prince became King and the miller’s daughter became Queen.  In time, the new Queen had a baby of her own, a son.  Joy filled the palace.  

Until one day, when the Queen was alone in the garden. 

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 tightly. 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,” said the queen.

“I come and go where I want,” said the imp.  “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. And no one must know about this!  If you say but one word of this to anyone, the baby will be gone forever.”

Three days is a long time to come up with a lot of names, thought the Queen.  And so she 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.  “Lucas?” “Jacob?  “Hugo?” “Felix?” “Oliver?” 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 looked through every book in the royal library.  She found 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.  The third night is when that baby is mine!”  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 wished she could tell her husband her woes, but she dare not.  She walked to one side of the room, then back again.  Back and forth, over and over.  “This does not help a thing!” she said.  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 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?  Bobek? How about Salaman?”

“No, a thousand times, no!” said the imp.  “You are 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 it.  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.