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Rumpelstiltskin


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The name of a vindictive dwarf in one of Grimm' fairy tales; he initially appears beneficent, helping a miller's daughter to fulfil her father's boast to the king that she can spin straw into gold, but as a price on three successive nights he takes her necklace, her ring, and finally the promise of her first child. After she has married the king and born a son, Rumpelstiltskin returns for his forfeit; the only way in which she can save the child is to discover the dwarf's name. Over the next three days she sends out messengers to discover names; it is only on the final day that one of the messengers overhears the dwarf gloating that the queen will never discover that ‘Rumpelstiltskin is my name’. When the dwarf appears for his prize, the queen is able to name him; Rumpelstiltskin tears himself in two in his frustrated rage.

Subjects: Children's Literature Studies.


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