Once upon a time there was a poor miller who had a beautiful daughter. One day the miller was called to the palace to meet the King. He wanted to seem important to the King so he told him that he had a daughter who could spin straw into gold thread. The King was very impressed with what the miller told him. The King said, "If your daughter can really spin straw into gold thread, bring her to the palace tomorrow so that I can put her to a test. I want to see for myself."
The next day the miller brought his daughter to the palace to meet the King. She was taken to a room that was full of straw and given a spinning wheel, spindle and hundreds of bobbins to hold the gold thread. The King said, "Now get to work and spin all night. If this straw is not spun into gold by the time I come back in the morning, you and your father will be banished from my kingdom forever. Then he closed the door and left her in the room alone.
The girl sat down at the spinning wheel and didn't know what to do. She didn't know how to spin straw into gold. She didn't want to be banished from the kingdom with her poor father. Where on earth would they go? This was their home. She was so unhappy that she began to cry. Suddenly the door opened and in came a tiny little man. He said, "Good evening, young lady. Why are you crying?"
"Oh!", answered the girl, "I have to spin all this straw into gold by morning and I don't even know where to start."
"What will you give me if I spin it for you?", asked the little man.
The girl looked around and said, "I can give you my necklace."
The little man took the necklace and sat down at the spinning wheel. The wheel went around three times and the bobbin was full of gold. The he put on another bobbin. The wheel went around three times and the second bobbin was filled with gold. He did this all night long until all the straw was spun into gold.
As soon as the sun came up the King arrived. When he saw all of the gold and no straw, he was amazed. But seeing the gold made him greedy and he wanted more. He had the girl taken into another room full of straw, but this room was much bigger than the first. He told her once again to spin all of the straw into gold before the next morning or she and her father would be driven from his kingdom.
When he left the room, the girl began to cry again. The door opened and the tiny little man came in and said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw into gold for you?"
"I have this ring that belonged to my mother," answered the girl.
The little man took the ring and began spinning at the wheel again. By the next morning, he had spun the room full of straw into glittering gold.
When the King returned after the sun came up, he was very pleased. But still his greed for gold was not satisfied and he had the miller's daughter taken to an even bigger room filled with straw. The King told her, "You must spin all this into gold by the morning. If you do, then I will marry you and make you my queen."
When he left the girl alone, the little man appeared again and said, "What will you give me this time if I spin the straw into gold for you?"
"I don't have anything else to give you," answered the girl.
"Then promise me that when you are Queen you will give me your first born child," said the little man.
The girl thought about it and though it was not an easy decision she knew no other way out. She promised the little man that he could have her first born child if he once again helped her and spun the straw into gold. He went to work right away and by the time the sun rose in the sky, the straw was spun into gold.
When the King came in the morning and found this room filled with gold, he did as he promised and made the girl his wife. The miller's daughter became a queen.
After a year had passed, a beautiful son was born to her and the King. She had not thought any more of the little man during that time. All of the sudden one day he came into her room and said, "Now give me what you promised me."
The thought of this frightened the Queen. How could she give her beautiful child to this man. She offered him all the riches in her kingdom if he would just leave her the child. But the little man said, "No, a living child is worth more to me than all of the treasures in the world." When the Queen began to cry uncontrollably, the little man felt sorry for her. He said, "You can try to guess my name! If you guess it correctly within three days you can keep your child."
All night long the Queen thought and thought over all of the names she had ever heard. She even sent a messenger out into the neighborhood of the castle to ask the people their names and make a list of all that he could find. When the little man arrived the next day she began with Sheepshanks, Cruickshanks, Spindleshanks and all the other names that she could think of, but each time the little man said, "That's not my name."
The next day she sent the messenger to search throughout the land to find more names. The messenger brought back a long list of the most uncommon and unusual names that could be found. When the little man returned the Queen said, "Is your name, perhaps Kasper, Melchior, Belshazzar?" But he always replied, "That's not my name."
On the third day the messenger came to the Queen and said, "I have not been able to find any new names, but as I came over a high hill in the corner of the woods, I saw a little house. In front of the house there burned a fire and dancing around the fire was the strangest little man I have ever seen. He was hopping on one leg and singing:
Tomorrow I clean, today I bake,
And then the child away I'll take;
For little knows my royal dame
That Rumpelstiltzkin is my name!"
How happy the Queen was at hearing that name. When the little man arrived a short time later and asked, "Now, my Queen, what's my name?" she asked first, "Is your name Conrad?" "No." "Is your name Harry?" "No." "Is your name Rumpelstiltzkin?"
"Who has told you that?" the little man screamed. "A demon has told you that!" He jumped around the room in a fit of rage. He was so angry that he ran from the room, out of the castle and into the forest, never to be heard from again.