Written & Illustrated by: Paul O. Zelinsky
In the story "Rumpelstilskin" a miller boasts to a king about his daughter's ability to spin straw into gold. The king then takes his daughter and locks her into a room and in return if she is successful she will become queen. He tells her that if she can't produce gold then she will face serious consequences. Knowing that she can't do this task, she cries until a little man comes and makes a deal with her. The deal is that he will make the gold if she pays him. The same scenario plays out for a few days until the little man asks for one thing in return, her firstborn child since she has nothing else to give him. A year later he comes again to collect his reward though the Queen is hesitant. She is given three days to figure out his name. Her servants venture out to find his name and then tells the queen. The Queen then says the little man's name which is Rumpelstilskin and is able to keep her baby.
People will tend to use each other for their selfish needs when it benefits them. The miller used his daughter for his own selfish needs. In the story, "The miller was so vain and proud of his daughter that he stupidly said to the king, “My daughter can spin straw into gold."Now the king was very greedy and he loved money and gold. When he heard the miller’s boast, he said, “How fascinating! If your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to the palace, and we will see what she can do.” When he agreed to the King's bet he accepted the offer without confirming with his daughter about her feelings on the situation. The miller obviously doesn't consider the feelings of others including his daughter.
My 2nd implication of this story is that a person shouldn't make promises that can't be finished. The dwarf and the miller's daughter made a deal with each other for different rewards in return. "All of a sudden, the door opened and in hobbled a little funny looking man. He said, “Good evening. What are you crying for?” “Oh,” she said, “I must spin this straw in to gold by tomorrow morning and I don’t know how.”“What will you give me,” said the little man, “if I do it for you?” “My necklace,” replied the miller’s daughter."I think the little man has been in a situation like this before and knows how to con someone. Later in the story the miller's firstborn child was offered and agreed upon. I think it was a careless mistake she made that would of affected her life dramatically.
Greed will make a person do unthinkable things. I think the that the king is only interested in the girl's "abilities" and doesn't care about her welfare. "When the daughter was brought to the king he took her to a room that was full of straw, and gave her a spinning wheel. He then left her after saying, “Off you go then. All this straw must be spun into gold by tomorrow morning. If you don’t manage this, I will have you killed.” His greed has taken over his emotional appeal for others than himself. The king didn't really care the girl, instead he used her as an object. She gave him a child and more riches. In fact, I believe he only married her for what she could bring to his wealth and not for love.
How would the story had changed if the gender roles were switched?
What would you do if you were in the same situation?