Monday, March 31, 2014

Rumpelstiltskin

In order to make himself appear more important, a miller lies to a king, telling him that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king calls for the girl, shuts her in a tower room filled with straw and a spinning wheel, and demands that 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). She has given up all hope until animp-like creature appears in the room and spins the straw into gold for her in return for her necklace. When the king takes the girl on the next morning to a larger room filled with straw to repeat the feat, the imp spins in return for the girl's ring. On thethird day, when the girl has been taken to an even larger room with straw and told by the king that he will marry her if she can fill this room with gold or kill her if she cannot, the girl has nothing left with which to pay the strange creature. He extracts from her a promise that her firstborn child will be given to him, and spins the room full of gold a final time.
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." The now-queen offers him all the wealth she has if she may keep the child. The imp has no interest in her riches, but finally consents to give up his claim to the child if the queen is able to guess his name within three days. Her many guesses over the first two days fail, but before the final night, her messenger (though he does not know the significance of his mission) comes across the imp's remote mountain cottage and watches, unseen, as the imp hops about his fire and sings. In his song's lyrics, "tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll go to the king's house, nobody knows my name, I'm called Rumpelstiltskin", he reveals his name.[1]
When the imp comes to the queen on the third day and she, after first feigning ignorance, reveals his true name, Rumpelstiltskin, he loses his temper and his bargain. In the 1812 edition of the Brothers Grimm tales, Rumpelstiltskin then "ran away angrily, and never came back." The ending was revised in a final 1857 edition to a more gruesome ending wherein 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 versions have 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 (Heidi Anne Heiner).

Hungarian Tale: 

My name is Emma Orczy. I am also known as Baroness Orczy because my father was a Baron. I was born in Tarnaƶrs, Hungary, in 1865. Then my family lived in Budapest for a few years. We were very proud of our Hungarian heritage, and often dressed in traditional Hungarian costumes. We also enjoyed Hungarian goulash for many meals.
When I was older, I married a nice man and lived in France. We didn't have much money so we translated some of the very old Hungarian folk tales into French and English. Here's one of my favorite folk stories, called "It's Not True."
Once upon a time there was a Hungarian princess who was very beautiful. One day she announced that she would only marry the man who could tell her father, the king, a story which he could not believe. Now, in a village there dwelt a poor young peasant, who, hearing of this proclamation, went up to the king's palace, and loudly knocking at the gates demanded an audience of His Majesty.
The king knew very well what the young fellow wanted, as by that time many princes and knights had come on the same errand, in the hope of winning the beautiful princess, but they had all failed. So John, the young peasant was admitted to the royal presence.
"Good morning, your Majesty," John said.
"Good morning, my lad. Well, what do you want?" asked the king, kindly.
"So please, your Majesty, I want a wife."
"Very good, lad; but what would you keep her on?"
"Oh! I dare say I could manage to keep her pretty comfortably. My father has a pig. A wonderful pig, your Majesty; he has kept my father, my mother, seven sisters, and myself, for the last twenty years."
"Indeed!" said the king.
"He gives us as good a quart of milk every morning as any cow."
"Indeed!" said the king.
"Yes, your Majesty, and lays most delicious eggs for our breakfast."
"Indeed!" said the king.
"And every day my mother cuts a nice bit of bacon out of his side, and every night it grows together again."
"Indeed!" said the king.
"The other day this pig disappeared, my mother looked for him high and low, he was nowhere to be seen."
"That was very sad," said the king.
"Finally, she found him in the larder, catching mice."
"A very useful pig!" said the king.
"Yes, your Majesty, and he pays all the bills out of the gold he picks up on the road."
"A very precious pig," said the king.
"Lately he has seemed unruly, and rather out of sorts."
"That's very sad!" said the king.
"He has refused to go where he is told, and won't allow my mother to have any more bacon from his side. Besides which, your Majesty, he is growing rather blind, and can't see where he is going."
"He should be led," said the king.
"Yes, your Majesty, that is why my father has just engaged your father to look after him."
"That's not true," yelled the king . . . then suddenly he remembered his daughter's promise. So he was obliged to allow the princess to marry the peasant's son, but this he never regretted, for the peasant's son became a most clever and amiable young prince, and lived happily with his bride and his father-in-law for very many years. Years after, when John became the king, all his people declared they had never had so wise a ruler. Then it was that he romanced no longer but was always believed and respected.

 Fairy Tales and the Ancient Mythology
At eve, the primrose path along,
The milkmaid shortens with a song
Her solitary way;
She sees the fairies with their queen
Trip hand-in-hand the circled green,
And hears them raise, at times unseen,
The ear-enchanting lay.
Rev. John Logan: Ode to Spring, 1780