Of all the tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, the Rumpelstiltskin story is one of the more curious.

So, just what is the Rumpelstiltskin story?

The story itself

It is often the case with fairy tales, there are multiple versions of the Rumpelstiltskin story.

In the best-known version of the tale, a boastful miller makes the untrue claim that his daughter can spin straw into gold; the king of the land takes the miller at his word and forces the girl to show her worth. Faced with execution if she fails her seemingly impossible mission, she receives help from a goblin-like being called Rumpelstiltskin, who is able to spin the gold as ordered – in exchange for her firstborn child.

As a result, the maiden marries the king and becomes queen. When they have a child, Rumpelstiltskin reappears and asks for the baby. The queen offers him wealth instead, and he agrees – on the condition that she guesses his name.

As luck would have it, the queen’s messenger comes across the goblin while travelling, and hears him boasting that the queen will never learn that his name is Rumpelstiltskin. With this information, the queen is able to vanquish the troublesome imp.

Rumpelstiltskin on the big screen?

Many fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm have been adapted into film by studios such as Disney. Will the Rumpelstiltskin story ever become a major motion picture? Well, a Rumpelstiltskin movie faces a few major problems. One is that the Rumpelstiltskin story lacks major visual images – although the title character has a lot of potential on screen, the motif of spinning straw into gold lacks a certain cinematic excitement.

There is also the problem that a story, in which the heroine happily marries a man who was previously willing to kill her simply, because her father told a lie, will not entirely fit in with modern society. That said, there is plenty of room for a version which makes a few twists – perhaps even a Rumpelstiltskin horror film? But there is already a series on television calles „Once Upon A Time“, in which Rumpelstiltskin is a part of.


The Rumpelstiltskin story is a strange thing – most people know it, but it has never been the most beloved Grimm tale. Still, it looks set to intrigue and delight children for many generations to come.