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Q: fairy tales ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: fairy tales
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: sm64-ga
List Price: $75.00
Posted: 09 Mar 2005 08:18 PST
Expires: 08 Apr 2005 09:18 PDT
Question ID: 489000
I wish to recieve any analysis (philospophical, psychological) of the
fairy tale Rumple Stilskin as well as the name of its "author".
Subject: Re: fairy tales
Answered By: adiloren-ga on 26 Mar 2005 06:29 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Thank you for the interesting question. I hope this helps.



""Rumpelstiltskin" seems to send odd messages: 

*	It's OK to reneg on a deal. 
*	It's OK to promise something as long as you think it will never come
to pass, and if it does come to pass, you can ignore the promise (see
*	A funny-looking little man is necessarily more evil than a father
who jeopardizes his daughter's life for his own benefit or than an
unjust king who will execute a young woman who won't perform
miraculous tasks to make him rich.
*	It's not enough to just "win"; you have to torment the loser (even
if he saved your life).
Again, the story probably shouldn't be taken too literally. The young
woman is desperate and a victim. Rumplestiltskin should not be asking
for her first-born child. "

This article argues that the story can be interpreted as statement on
female productivity. At the time spinning was the primary, acceptable,
mode of productivity for women, in addition to procreation. The story
allows a male figure to dominate this realm and introduces a
mechanization of the process, in the form of the spinning wheel. The
machine, arguably is controled by men and therefore serves to further
oppress women and their productive role in society.

Fairy Tales as Myth

"Jane Schneider analysis of Rumpelstilzkin in her essay
Rumpelstiltskin's Bargain, which appeared in Cloth and Human
Experience, and Ruth Bottinger's text Tale Spinners: Submerged Voices
in Grimms' Fairy Tales, both looks at specific social conditions that
existed when these folk tales were written. They also look at the many
other Fairy Tales thatcontain spinning and other textile activities in
Frau Holle, Seven Swans, The Goosegirl, The Spindle, the Shuttle and
the Needle, The Lazy Spinner, The Little Briar Rose,

They shed some light on the confusing morals around spinning, which
seem on the surface to imply that it is an honorable task to strive
for, but success seems to be attainable only through dishonest means
and/or supernatural help. Therefore the unreasonable expectations (to
spin straw into gold, or to spin huge amounts) allow the girl to cheat
and 'get away' with it without punishment."

"Therefore, deeply rooted in childhood experiences, Rumpelstiltskin
can be expected to appear in analysis, and he does. The compelling
central character is the title figure, Rumpelstiltskin, whose name and
actions tell us who he is and what he was intended to
'mean'--especially to his contemplated audience. The original
narrators of and listeners to this tale were female visitors to the
evening spinning chamber (Spinnstube), where women gathered and told
tales to amuse themselves to ward off sleep while they spun. The butt
of this story is male impotence and bluster, and the key to the
story's meaning arises from matching the etymological roots of the
central character's name with his actions as they appear
philologically and psychoanalytically."

On the "power of the name":

"In most fairy tales, names are simply descriptive, common or "plain"
to create an everyman type of character. The Grimms use Hans several
times for the everyman purpose, similar to "John Doe." Snow White is
descriptive of the physical attributes of the character. Rapunzel is a
name that serves as a reminder of the price paid for a daughter.
Psychological and religious reasons may be assigned to these names,
but most interpretations are probably stretching way beyond any truly
useful purpose. (Of course, this comes from the me, the person trying
to complete the annotations on her site at last and feeling very
frustrated in the process.)

However, in tales like Rumpelstiltskin, the knowledge and use of the
name becomes very important. It gives power to the user over the owner
of the name. There are several articles about this tale and the power
of the name. I can't remember any in particular at the moment, but I
am sure someone else will pipe up with some in later posts.

Stith and Thompson classified Rumpelstiltskin under "The Name of the
Helper." If you are studying this tale, it may be useful to read Jack
Zipes' article arguing against this classification of the tale. He
contends that the tale is really about spinning, spinners, and their
power in their community. His arguments are compelling and quite

This person suggests the tale may be anti-semetic:

"I, on the other hand, read Rumnplestiltskin as a thinly disguised
anti-semitic tale. The moral center of the story is surely not the
miller (who lies) or his daughter (complicitous in the lie) or the
king (greedy for gold) but the little man who is willing to help and
does what he says he will do.

Change straw into gold. A money lender, by God. With an unrpounceable
name. Who lives outside the hallowed palace grounds. With an
unpronounceable name. And who wants the child--so the queen
believes--for some horrible blood rite (though there is no evidence of

In the English version, the little man is a "black imp." And in some
varients he is a gypsy."

From a term paper;

"There are many reasons why the story "Rumpelstiltskin" has endured
for so long, despite its modification into a modern interpretation
(Grimm, Household Stories. New York, Dover, 1963. Page 228, and
Garner, James Finn, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. New York,
Macmillan, 1994, Page 13). The story, in both interpretations that I
read, contains a element of human nature that has remained unchanged
throughout the years.
In the story "Rumpelstiltskin" the miller?s daughter is a beautiful
girl. However the miller has no money. He makes up a story that she is
able to spin straw into gold. A king hears this story and challenges
the girl. She is, alas, not able to do so and becomes very distraught.
An enchanting little man comes to her aid, but only after she promises
him her first born child. The daughter, who is now no longer a girl,
goes to great lengths to get out of her promise and prospers by
showing tremendous strength of character.
Exploitation is defined as the use or manipulation of another person
for one?s own advantage ( Webster?s Universal College Dictionary. New
York. Gramercy. 1997). This is an element of human nature that is
found in the interpretations of this story that I read. The miller,
The king and Rumpelstiltskin all exploit the girl (Esmeralda) in
different ways for personal gain. She too uses them, as well as others
around her to gain what she wants.
The miller, in both versions tells people that his daughter has a
wonderful ability to make gold from straw so that he can become a rich
man. "It happened one day that that he came to speak with the king,
and, to give himself consequence, he told him that he had a daughter
who could spin gold out of straw" (Grimm). " ?If only I could get my
daughter to marry a rich man,? he mused . . .  ?she?ll be fulfilled
and I?ll never have to work another day in my life? " (Garner). The
miller implies that his daughter is merely his property whom he should
use to raise his station in life.
The king, upon hearing the story decides that the girl?s ability would
be an asset to him, and his gold reserves. "He believed the rumor and
invited Esmeralda to his castle for a May Day festival. But when she
arrived he had her thrown into a dungeon filled with straw and ordered
her to spin it into gold" (Garner). The king was so happy that he was
now richer that he exploited her more, he threatened her with death if
she could not perform again. "By the next morning all the straw was
spun into glistening gold. "

Comparing President Bush to Rumpelstiltskin



The story is derived from folklore and thus there is no true author
that is known. However, the modern tale as most have heard or read it
today is credited to the brothers Grimm.

Jacob Ludwig Grimm and Wilhelm Carl Grimm

The story was taken from a German folk tale.

"The name is believed to derive from an old children's game called
Rumpele stilt oder der Poppart, which was mentioned in Johann
Fischart's Geschichtklitterung, or Gargantua of 1577, a loose
adaptation of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel.

The story of Rumpelstiltskin is an example of Aarne and Thompson's
folklore type 310, The Maiden in the Tower (see links below). Other
fairy tale themes in the story include the Impossible Task, the Hard
Bargain, the Changeling Child, and above all, the Secret Name."

Rumpelstiltskin is known by a variety of names in a number of other languages:

*	Dutch: Repelsteeltje
*	French: Grigrigredinmenufretin
*	English: Tom Tit Tot (from English Fairy Tales, collected & edited
by Joseph Jacobs, 1884)
*	Spanish: El enano saltarín (the jumping midget).
*	Hebrew: ??? ?? ??? ?? (utz li gutz li)



List of books:

SurLaLune Fairy Tales: The Annotated Rumpelstiltskin



Google Search Terms
Rumpelstiltskin, interpretation
Rumpelstiltskin, analysis
Rumpelstiltskin, psychology
Rumpelstiltskin, philosophy

Clarification of Answer by adiloren-ga on 30 Mar 2005 05:49 PST
Thank you very much for the generous tip! If I find any extra
information I will post it here.

Good luck!

Best regards,
sm64-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
very, very good and helpful for a difficult question.  Wish there had
been more psycholigical.philosophical but I don't think it
exists...thanks again ****

Subject: Re: fairy tales
From: myoarin-ga on 09 Mar 2005 09:21 PST
Greetings sm64-ga,
As your quotation marks suggest, there is no author for the fairy
tale.  It was collected by the two brothers Grimm, who wrote down
traditional fairy tales told to them by people.

The correct spelling  - Rumpelstiltskin - will lead you to many sites,
such as this one:
in English which is annotated but doesn't provide an analysis, but
maybe you are supposed figure that out, and maybe other sites do add
Subject: Re: fairy tales
From: fp-ga on 10 Mar 2005 05:59 PST
In German that would be "Rumpelstilzchen":

Abstract of "Rumpelstilzchen on the couch--an ensemble of shame,
identity and father themes" (1990):
Subject: Re: fairy tales
From: archae0pteryx-ga on 10 Mar 2005 23:31 PST
This would have been a nice fee for a researcher who is earning his or
her living working this site.
Subject: Re: fairy tales
From: fp-ga on 10 Mar 2005 23:39 PST
I do not view my comment as having foiled this opportunity.
Subject: Re: fairy tales
From: fp-ga on 12 Mar 2005 08:52 PST
A webpage (in German) mentioning various versions of this fairy tale
(e.g. France 1705):

"Rumpelstiltzkin's name and story appears to have been around for centuries":

"Similar Tales Across Cultures":

"About the story":

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