RUMPELSTILTSKIN is a fairytale popularly associated with Germany
(where he is known as RUMPELSTILZCHEN). The tale was one collected by
Brothers Grimm in the 1812 edition of Children\'s and Household
Tales . According to researchers at
Durham University and the
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Universidade Nova de Lisboa , the story originated around 4,000 years
* 1 Plot
* 2 Variants
* 3 Name origins
* 4 Names used in translations
* 5 Appearances in media
* 5.1 Literature
* 5.2 Comics
* 5.3 Music
* 5.4 Television
* 5.5 Film
* 5.6 Games
* 5.7 Psychology
* 6 References
* 7 External links
In order to make himself appear superior, a miller lies to the king,
telling him that his daughter can spin straw into gold . (Some
versions make the miller's daughter blonde and describe the
"straw-into-gold" claim as a careless boast the miller makes about the
way his daughter's straw-like blond hair takes on a gold-like lustre
when sunshine strikes it.) The king calls for the girl, shuts her in a
tower room filled with straw and a spinning wheel , and demands she
spin the straw into gold by morning or he will cut off her head (other
versions have the king threatening to lock her up in a dungeon
forever). When she has given up all hope, an imp -like creature
appears in the room and spins the straw into gold in return for her
necklace (since he only comes to people seeking a deal/trade). When
next morning the king takes the girl to a larger room filled with
straw to repeat the feat, the imp once again spins, in return for the
girl's ring. On the third day, when the girl has been taken to an even
larger room filled with straw and told by the king that he will marry
her if she can fill this room with gold or execute her if she cannot,
the girl has nothing left with which to pay the strange creature. He
extracts from her a promise that she will give him her firstborn child
and so he spins the straw into gold a final time. (In some versions,
the imp appears and begins to turn the straw into gold, paying no heed
to the girl's protests that she has nothing to pay him with; when he
finishes the task, he states that the price is her first child, and
the horrified girl objects because she never agreed to this
arrangement.) Two illustrations by Anne Anderson from
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Grimm's Fairy Tales (London and Glasgow 1922)
The king keeps his promise to marry the miller's daughter. But when
their first child is born, the imp returns to claim his payment: "Now
give me what you promised." She offers him all the wealth she has to
keep the child but the imp has no interest in her riches. He finally
consents to give up his claim to the child if she can guess his name
within three days. Her many guesses fail, but before the final night,
she wanders into the woods (some versions she sent a servant in the
woods instead of going herself to keep the king's suspicions at bay)
searching for him and comes across his remote mountain cottage and
watches, unseen, as he hops about his fire and sings. In his song's
lyrics, "tonight tonight, my plans I make, tomorrow tomorrow, the baby
I take. The queen will never win the game, for
Rumpelstiltskin is my
name'", he reveals his name. Some versions have the imp limiting the
number of daily guesses to three and hence the total number of guesses
allowed to a maximum of nine.
When the imp comes to the queen on the third day, after first
feigning ignorance, she reveals his name, Rumpelstiltskin, and he
loses his temper and their bargain. (Versions vary about whether he
accuses the devil or witches of having revealed his name to the
queen.) In the 1812 edition of the
Brothers Grimm tales,
Rumpelstiltskin then "ran away angrily, and never came back". The
ending was revised in an 1857 edition to a more gruesome ending
Rumpelstiltskin "in his rage drove his right foot so far into
the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he
seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two". Other
Rumpelstiltskin driving his right foot so far into the
ground that he creates a chasm and falls into it, never to be seen
again. In the oral version originally collected by the Brothers Grimm,
Rumpelstiltskin flies out of the window on a cooking ladle.
Stamp series on Rumpelstilzchen from the Deutsche Post of the
GDR , 1976
The same story pattern appears in numerous other cultures: Tom Tit
Tot in England (from English Fairy Tales, 1890, by
Joseph Jacobs );
Whuppity Stoorie in Scotland (from Robert Chambers 's Popular Rhymes
of Scotland, 1826); Gilitrutt in Iceland; جعيدان (Joaidane "He
who talks too much") in Arabic; Хламушка (Khlamushka "Junker")
in Russia; Rumplcimprcampr, Rampelník or Martin Zvonek in the Czech
Republic; Martinko Klingáč in Slovakia; Ruidoquedito ("Little
noise") in South America; Pancimanci in Hungary (from A Csodafurulya
by Kolozsvari Grandpierre Emil); Daiku to Oniroku (大工と鬼六 "A
carpenter and the ogre") in Japan and Myrmidon in France. All these
Aarne–Thompson type 500, "The Name of the Helper".
Another of the Grimms' tales revolves about a girl trapped by false
claims about her spinning abilities,
The Three Spinners . However, the
three women who assist that girl do not demand her firstborn, but
instead ask that she invite them to her wedding and say that they are
relatives of hers. She complies, and when the three appear at the
wedding, amazing the king with their ugliness, they tell the king that
their various deformities (an overgrown thumb in one, a pendulous lip
in the second, an enormous foot in the third) are the result of their
years of spinning. The horrified king decrees that the bride will spin
no more. In contrast to Rumpelstiltskin's self-seeking, therefore,
these helpers ask only the "payment" of extending their benevolence to
the heroine, and ensure that she will not need their help again. In
one Italian variant, the girl must discover their names, as with
Rumpelstiltskin, but not for the same reason: she must use their names
to invite them, and she has forgotten them.
Illustration by Walter Crane from Household Stories by the
Brothers Grimm (1886)
The name Rumpelstilzchen in German means literally "little rattle
stilt", a stilt being a post or pole that provides support for a
structure. A rumpelstilt or rumpelstilz was consequently the name of a
type of goblin, also called a pophart or poppart, that makes noises by
rattling posts and rapping on planks. The meaning is similar to
rumpelgeist ("rattle ghost") or poltergeist , a mischievous spirit
that clatters and moves household objects. (Other related concepts are
mummarts or boggarts and hobs , which are mischievous household
spirits that disguise themselves.) The ending -chen is a German
diminutive cognate to English -kin.
The earliest known mention of
Rumpelstiltskin occurs in Johann
Fischart 's Geschichtklitterung, or Gargantua of 1577 (a loose
adaptation of Rabelais\'
Gargantua and Pantagruel ) which refers to an
"amusement" for children, i. e. a children's game named "Rumpele stilt
oder der Poppart".
NAMES USED IN TRANSLATIONS
Illustration for the tale of "Rumpel-stilt-skin" from The heart
of oak books (Boston 1910)
Translations of the original Grimm fairy tale (KHM 55) into various
languages have generally substituted different names for the dwarf
whose name is Rumpelstilzchen. For some languages, a name was chosen
that comes close in sound to the German name:
Rumplestiltskin in English, Repelsteeltje in Dutch , Rumpelstichen in
Portuguese , Rumpelstinski or Rumpelestíjeles in Spanish ,
Rumplcimprcampr or Rampelník in Czech . In Japanese it is called
ルンペルシュティルツキン (Runperushutirutsukin). Russian
might have the most accomplished imitation of the German name with
In other languages the name was translated in a poetic and
approximate way. Thus Rumpelstilzchen is known as Päronskaft
(literally "Pear-stalk") in Swedish , where the sense of stilt or
stalk of the second part is retained. Likewise, in Danish and
Norwegian , he is known as Rumleskaft (literally "Rumble-shank").
Italian has Tremotino (which loosely means "Little Earthquake").
French has – besides other names – Tracassin (like tracasser "to
pester"). In other translations an entirely different and generally
meaningless name was selected, such as Barbichu, Broumpristoche,
Grigrigredinmenufretin, Outroupistache or Perlimpinpin in various
translations to French . Turkish translations use "Hariparibuşki
Baripinpon" which doesn't mean anything and was chosen just because
the name was complicated.
Slovak translations use Martinko Klingáč. Polish translations use
Titelitury (or Rumpelsztyk) and Finnish ones Tittelintuure,
Rompanruoja or Hopskukkeli. Serbian , Bosnian and Croatian Cvilidreta
Hebrew the poet
Avraham Shlonsky composed the
name עוץ לי גוץ לי (Ootz-li Gootz-li, a compact and rhymy
touch to the original sentence and meaning of the story, "My adviser
my midget"), when using the fairy tale as the basis of a children's
musical , now a classic among
Hebrew children's plays. Greek
translations have used Ρουμπελστίλτσκιν (from the
English) or Κουτσοκαλιγέρης (Koutsokaliyéris) which
could figure as a Greek surname, formed with the particle
κούτσο- (koútso- "limping"), and is perhaps derived from the
Urdu versions of the tale used the name Tees Mar Khan for
APPEARANCES IN MEDIA
George Orwell 's novel
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), a character
Ingsoc party is described as being a "
Walter Tevis 's science fiction novel The Man Who Fell To Earth
(1963), Thomas Newton tells Nathan Bryce "My name is Rumplestiltskin"
Anne Sexton wrote an adaptation of the Grimm fairy tale as a poem
called "Rumpelstiltskin" in her collection Transformations (1971), a
book in which she re-envisions sixteen of the Grimm's Fairy tales.
Rumpelstiltskin appears in three 1976 fairy tales, Rumpelstilzchen
(English version as "Rumpelstiltskin") by Rosemarie Künzler-Behncke ,
Neues vom Rumpelstilzchen (English version as "Update on
Richard Bletschacher , and Das Rumpelstilzchen
hat mir immer leid getan (English version as "I Always Felt Sorry for
Rumpelstiltskin") by Irmela Brender , which are part of the children's
book Update on
Rumpelstiltskin and other Fairy Tales by 43 Authors ,
which was compiled by Hans-Joachim Gelberg , illustrated by Willi
Glasauer , and published by Beltz he is captured by the three
heroines, but is subsequently killed by Roudette, the adult Little Red
Riding Hood , now an efficient and deadly assassin, while being sent
to Fairytown to answer for his crimes.
* The Croning (2012) by
Laird Barron .
Stiltskin is the main character in J. A. Kazimer's book
* In Shelley Chappell's short fiction, Ranpasatusan. A Retelling of
Rumpelstiltskin (2014) the miller's daughter is a minstrel's daughter
who travels to Japan.
* Breeana Puttroff , author of the Dusk Gate Chronicles series, was
scheduled in 2014 to publish a book Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter, in
which Rumpelstiltskin's story is told from another point of view,
where the king makes the queen spin gold and
Rumpelstiltskin is not
Tom Holt 's novel, The Good, the Bad and the Smug (2015), a
former commodities trader escapes to a fantasy world and becomes
Michael Cunningham 's short story "Little Man" (in A Wild Swan and
Other Tales, 2015) is a retelling of the
Rumpelstiltskin story told
from Rumpelstiltskin's point of view.
Rumpelstiltskin appears in issue 4 of The Muppet Show that was a
part of "The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson" arc.
* The tale is adapted in the fourth issue of Zenescope 's series
Grimm Fairy Tales , but it is given an alternative, more tragic
* The Priest from the Dark Horse series
The Goon is actually
Rumpelstiltskin, having escaped from the hell he was cast into he
attempts the wrestle control of the town away from The Goon.
* The song "Split Myself in Two" by the
Meat Puppets is inspired and
loosely based on the tale.
* "Rumplestiltskin" is a song by the Columbus, Ohio underground
band Earwig from their album Gibson Under Mountain.
* Rumplestiltskin's Resolve is an album by folk-rock musician Shawn
* The third movement of
Robert Schumann 's Märchenbilder is
inspired by the story.
Rumpelstiltskin Grinder is a thrash band from Pennsylvania signed
Relapse Records .
Stiltskin is a Scottish rock band , notable for the fact that one
of its band members, Ray Wilson , was temporarily a lead vocalist of
progressive rock band Genesis .
* The industrial metal band
Megaherz released a song named "I.M.
Rumpelstilzchen " on their album
Herzwerk II , which quotes the
original German fairy tale.
* "Rumpofsteelskin" is a song by funk band Parliament from the album
Motor Booty Affair . The song title is reminiscent of the fairy tale's
Sir Mix-a-Lot sings of a "rump-o-smooth-skin" in the song "Baby
Got Back" from the album "
Mack Daddy ".
* "Rumplestiltskin" is a punk retelling of the fairy tale by John
* The ballet "Rumpelstiltskin" by the British composer David Sawer
is based on the tale.
Rumpelstiltskin in "The Monster" stating "Turn
nothing into something, still can make that, straw into gold, chump. I
Rumpelstiltskin in a haystack."
* "Rumplestiltskin," a retelling of the tale in song by Brian Dewan
from his album The Operating Theatre.
* A musical adaptation of the same name opened
Off-Broadway in 2012.
* In the ABC television series Once Upon a Time , Rumplestiltskin
(also known as Mr.
Gold ) is played by
Robert Carlyle and is one of
the central characters and is shown as a malevolent trickster who can
spin straw into gold and enjoys making deals with those he comes
across. Throughout the first seasons he concentrates on searching for
his son, Bae. An expert on black magic and the dark arts (known as the
Dark One ) this man has wizardly powers to make him a fair match for
anyone in the land - even the Evil Queen . The miller's daughter (the
Evil Queen's mother) Cora eventually becomes the Queen of Hearts . In
the course of the series, he is also revealed to have taken on the
role of Cinderella's fairy 'godmother', and is also essentially the
Beast , falling in love with Belle after he demanded her as a price
for saving her kingdom from a war. In the season three episode Think
Lovely Thoughts , he is revealed to be the son of a man named Malcolm,
Peter Pan . After marrying Belle,
as 'the Beast.' After Belle banishes him from Storybrooke, his own
nature turns against him, prompting him to ally with various other
villains to try and ensure their own happy endings. He is briefly
purified of his darkness when it is revealed that he is dying of the
dark magic in his heart, but despite Emma attempting to help him
become a hero while she takes on the Dark One role, he eventually
reclaims his powers, and he goes way too far from being a beast. In
the sixth season, Rumplestiltskin's mother is revealed to be the Black
Fairy, who had abandoned him and Malcolm after choosing power over
love. In the same season, he has a son with Belle named Gideon.
Rumpelstiltskin appears in Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for
Every Child voiced by Robert Townsend .
Rumpelstiltskin was featured in NBC's Grimm , where the tale is
the inspiration for the Season 2 episode "Nameless". He is a type of
creature ('Wesen') called a 'Fuchsteufelwild'. The episode featured a
Fuchsteufelwild named "Trinket Lipslums" (an anagram of
"Rumpelstiltskin"), who is revealed to have helped a team of video
game programmers finish an enormously popular
MMORPG . The programmers
omitted him from the game's credits since they could not recall his
name, so Lipslums starts hunting them down one by one; as in the
original tale, much of the story centers around determining the
* In an episode of the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine titled "If
Wishes Were Horses ", Miles O\'Brien reads his daughter the story of
Rumpelstiltskin at bedtime and then leaves her room. She comes out
shortly afterward to inform her father that
Rumpelstiltskin is in the
room with her. O'Brien assumes that it is just her imagination and
goes into the room with her only to discover that
indeed in her room. At the end of the episode it is revealed that
Rumpelstiltskin (along with various other manifestations) are in fact
aliens that were studying imagination.
* In the TV show
Shelley Duvall 's
Faerie Tale Theatre
Faerie Tale Theatre , the second
episode, aired originally in 1982, titled "
Rumpelstiltskin ", stars
Hervé Villechaize as Rumpelstiltskin,
Ned Beatty as the king, and
Shelley Duvall as the miller's daughter.
* The fairy tale was spoofed in the
Fractured Fairy Tales
Fractured Fairy Tales segment of
Rocky and Bullwinkle
Rocky and Bullwinkle show.
* In the German TV series Spuk unterm Riesenrad,
the only one of the three evil, living dummies (witch, giant, and
Rumpelstiltskin) who doesn't turn good at the end and is frozen by a
policeman with a fire extinguisher. He also tries to take over Burg
Falkenstein by blackmailing the owner with a fire.
* The German TV aired in 2009 an adaptation of the original story of
the Grimm Brothers.
Rumpelstiltskin was played by
Robert Stadlober .
According to the film makers: "We did not want overgrown dwarf, but a
prince of the forest, and Stadlober is exactly the right thing." In
this adaptation the title character was not created as the usual evil
man "who comes out of the woods to do evil", but also shows the human
side ". Their
Rumpelstiltskin has a desire, namely, to have a man
around. The filming location was the same Schloss Bürresheim, which
appears as Castle Grunewald in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade'.
* The character "Rumpledkiltskin" appears in the animated series
Courage The Cowardly Dog as the title character. Rumpledkiltskin
tricks Muriel and Courage into traveling to Scotland, where he reveals
himself and forces Muriel to weave 5,000 quilts. At the end of the
episode, his real name is revealed and he gains a change of heart.
Rumpelstiltskin appears in the animated television series Winx
Club , in Season 6 episodes "The Music Café", "The Anthem" and
Rumpelstiltskin is, according to both Selina and Daphne,
the most cunning, most stubborn, and most brilliant dwarf. He lives in
the Legendarium World. He is also very tricky but follows the
agreements he makes with others. Due to being exposed in Alfea, he had
learnt powerful enchantments when he lived there.
* In season 3 of the U.S. television series,
The Closer , in the
episode entitled "The Round File", the case involves an old man who
confesses to the murder of seven people but who will not give the
detectives his name and forces them to discover it on their own. As a
result, the squad refers to him as
Rumpelstiltskin throughout the
episode. The story of the fairy tale itself is referenced several
* In the
Happy Tree Friends episode, entitled "Dunce Upon a Time",
Petunia was spinning straw into gold within a castle, bearing a strong
resemblance, while the rest of the episode bore a strong resemblance
to the fairytale,
Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk .
Colorized still from the American film
Rumpelstiltskin (1915), an American film, starring J. Barney
Sherry and Elizabeth "Betty" Burbridge
* A 1940 live action film produced in Nazi Germany, directed by Alf
Zengerling starring Paul Walker as the title character.
* A 1955 live action film produced in West-Germany, but also
released in the U.S. by
K. Gordon Murray in 1965 and re-released by
Paramount Pictures in 1974, directed by Herbert B. Fredersdorf
starring Werner Krüger as the title character. The film is still
aired on German Television.
* In 1962's The Wonderful World of the
Brothers Grimm , a dream
Rumpelstiltskin (played by
Arnold Stang ) alongside
other Grimm characters such as Hansel during his segment, the Brothers
Grimm help the miller's daughter guess his name, and when she succeeds
at the last possible moment he angrily shouts "A plague on all your
houses!" before disappearing.
Rumpelstiltskin appears briefly in the
Dark Parables sixth
installment, Jack and the Sky Kingdom, as a stone imp, (having once
been a stone idol animated by a sorcerer, and having since its
captivity reverted to stone). He also appears in the bonus chapter,
Rumpelstiltskin and the Queen", where having claimed the Sky
Kingdom's new queen newborn daughter, the queen quests to reclaim her
child. After the queen has subdued the imp, the Sky King, corrupted by
the imp's magic, keeps the imp hostage to spin him more gold.
Rumpelstiltskin makes an appearance in the first game of the
series King\'s Quest , by
Roberta Williams . While there are variants
to his name (in some versions, the name is spelled with a backwards
alphabet, a = z, b = y, etc.; in others it is spelled backwards as
Rumpelstiltskin offers the knight Graham (hero of
the story) a reward for guessing his name. When the task is complete,
Rumpelstiltskin gives magic beans to Graham, allowing entrance to the
land of the giants to acquire the treasure chest of gold, a main quest
item in the game.
* In the DLC of The Witcher 3 Hearth of Stone, the Rumpelstiltskin
is represented by Master Mirror
* The value and power of using personal names and titles is well
established in psychology, management, teaching and trial law. It is
often referred to as the "
* Brodsky, Stanley (2013). "The
Rumpelstiltskin Principle". APA
PsycNET. American Psychological Association.
* Winston, Patrick (2009-08-16). "The
* van Tilburg, Willem (1972). "Rumpelstiltskin: The magic of the
right word". Academia.
* ^ BBC. "
Fairy tale origins thousands of years old, researchers
say". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
* ^ Sara Graça da Silva, Jamshid J. Tehrani (January 2016).
"Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of
Indo-European folktales". Royal Society Open Science. doi
* ^ "Name of the Helper". D. L. Ashliman. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
* ^ Wiktionary article on Rumpelstilzchen.
* ^ Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Wilhelm (2008). Bröderna Grimms
sagovärld (in Swedish). Bonnier Carlsen. p. 72. ISBN 91-638-2435-3 .
* ^ "Transformations -
Anne Sexton - Google Books".
Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
* ^ http://www.koffer-lahr.de/7.html
* ^ Elavsky, Cindy (18 September 2014). "Q and A: Week of Sept.
18". Retrieved 18 September 2014.
* ^ This comes from a section of Schumann's journals that is
difficult to find and has not been translated into English. See
Rapunzel in Music" and "
Sleeping Beauty in Music" for more
* ^ Roots, Kimberly (2013-03-26). "Grimm Season 2 Spoilers —
Rumplestiltskin Pages from Nick’s Books". TVLine. Retrieved
* ^ "Rumpelstiltskin". YouTube. 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
* ^ "Rumpelstilzchen rbb Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg".
Rbb-online.de. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
* ^ "
Rumpelstiltskin (1955)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
* ^ "Rumpelstilzchen rbb Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg".
Rbb-online.de. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
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