retold and illsutrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
read February 2009
This is a classic retelling of the original German Brothers Grimm tale. This one was never one of my favorite fairy tales. First of all, what a crummy father to get his daughter into that situation in the first place. Second, why on earth would she want to marry the King afer he threatened to kill her 3 times, if she couldn’t turn straw into gold. Third, Rumpelstiltskin has always freaked me out. What is he exactly. What does he want with the baby?
For those of you who don’t know the story; A Miller brags to the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold with a spinning wheel. Being a very greedy king, he insists that she be brought to her castle. She is instructed to spin a roomful of straw into gold on three consecutive nights, each night being told if she doesn’t do it, she will be killed. She of course, has no idea how to turn straw into gold.
A strange little man appears and tells her he will turn the straw into gold for her. The first night she pays him with her necklace, the second with her ring. The king has told her if she succeeds on the third night he will make her his queen. This is also the night that she has nothing to give the little man. Facing death, she agrees to his demand, her first born child.
She becomes queen and eventually bears a son. The small man appears demanding his payment. He gives her an out, if she can guess his name he will not take her son. She guesses every name she can think of. Finally she sends her most trusted servant into the woods to find the man.
The servant finds the little man dancing around the fire singing about his future and how the queen will never guess his name, Rumpelstiltskin. The servant runs back to the queen and tells her the name. She is relieved and when the little man returns the next day she gives his name. He runs off defeated and is never seen again.
Zelinsky has a very distinct style of illustration. It is very realistic and reminds me of paintings…and I’m trying to think of the style, but my art history classes are eluding me.
The only other Zelinsky book I have read to my knowledge is his 1998 Caldecott Award winner, Rapunzel. I looked up his website and realized i have read many books either by him or illustrated by him. I was amazed.
This book recieved the Caldecott honor in 1987.