Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he had to go and speak to the king, and in order to make himself appear important, he said to him, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold.”
The king said to the miller, “That is an art which pleases me well, if your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to-morrow to my palace, and I will put her to the test.”
And when the girl was brought to him he took her into a room which was quite full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and a reel, and said, “Now set to work, and if by to-morrow morning early you have not spun this straw into gold during the night, you must die.”
Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and left her in it alone. So there sat the poor miller’s daughter, and for the life of her could not tell what to do, she had no idea how straw could be spun into gold, and she grew more and more frightened, until at last she began to weep.
About the Story
In case you are not already familiar with the story, this is the beginning of Rumplestiltskin. No, he does not demand Cinderella’s child like he did in ABC’s Once Upon a Time, but he does demand the miller’s daughter’s firstborn when she has become queen. If you’d like to read the complete story, click here to visit a great fairy tale website that has the story and all sorts of interesting facts.
About the Photo
In the process of capturing this photo, my lovely model Olivia wept many tears and practically threw my little spinning wheel across the room when she discovered that she also lacked the ability to spin straw into gold. Sad times.
I will also go ahead and recommend a couple books:
The Rumplestiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde is an entertaining and easy read—it’s her collection of different versions of the same story. I would recommend it just for the introduction!
A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce is a great read. The words that come to mind are ‘hauntingly beautiful.’