“Rumpelstiltskin” is a tale of power: the power to control magic and power over other people. Yet, as with many timeless fairy tales, this story’s roots run deep, carrying with it centuries of history, folklore, and morals that continue to captivate readers.
The tale of Rumpelstiltskin, as we know it today, has its origins in European folklore, where oral traditions passed down stories from generation to generation. It was the Brothers Grimm who first transcribed this captivating narrative in 1812. But the story’s lineage reaches back even further, with variations found in countries across the continent.
The story opens with a miller boasting to the king that his daughter has the ability to spin straw into gold. The greedy king locks her away until she can prove her skills. The woman, of course, cannot turn straw into gold, but a strange imp appears who can — for a price.
Three times, he appears and spins the straw into gold for her, each time demanding a greater price, until she promises her first born child. Years later, Rumpelstiltskin returns to claim the child. The woman regrets her agreement. Rumpelstiltskin tells her she can escape the contract if she can guess his name, a seemingly impossible task. If she can, not only will she keep her child, but strip him of his power.
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”I Corinthians 2:5
In the story of “Rumpelstiltskin,” the pursuit of power driven by human desires leads to deception and regret. Rumpelstiltskin’s belief in his own infallible power leads to his demise, while the miller’s daughter has learned her lesson and grown wiser.
The theme of power is intertwined with choices, consequences, and the recognition that true power cannot be attained by humans. The pursuit of power should be tempered with wisdom, humility, and an understanding that true power comes from the Lord.