Mar 5, 2010

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

by Vivian Vande Velde

The Rumpelstiltskin story, says the author, is full of holes. Think about it. Why would the miller lie about his daughter's ability, when the consequences could be dire? Why does Rumpelstiltskin want a baby in the first place? why would he trade for the princess's ring, when he can spin any amount of gold he wants? To fill in the gaps, Velde retells the story six different ways, each with a new twist and an explanation to the briefer version we're all familiar with. In one story, Rumpelstiltstkin wants to eat the baby. In another he's a witch, then a hero, or a beautiful elf.  Different personalities for the miller's daughter are here too: she's a fanatic fan of the king, she's bullied by her own daughter, she's smart, she's lazy, she's confused. In one story she falls in love with Rumpelstiltskin himself! My favorite is the one where he was an elf and she slipped sideways through a magic gap to meet him. All the tales are brief, but intriguing and thought-provoking. If you like fairy-tale retellings, be sure to look for this one!

Borrowed from the library.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 128 pages, 2000


  1. That sounds like a fun (and funny) read!

  2. Sounds like fun! I think I've read something by Vivian Vande Velde before, though I can't think of what it was. Rumpelstiltskin is a strange story, now that I'm thinking about it. :)

  3. "In one story she falls in love with Rumpelstiltskin himself"

    Stockholm syndrome? Just saying... :P

    Thanks for the review!


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