February 4, 2010

All The Characters In Rumplestiltskin, I Need To See You In The Hall


Not my thing, but I can respect and appreciate the fine work Paul Zelinsky did on his renaissance-style illustration of the story of Rumpelstiltskin. Some of those characters are so finely drawn, I expect they are relatives or neighbors or something. And for whatever reason, it's the book K2 is fixated on at the moment, so fine.

BUT. Seriously, is this the worst episode of Three's Company ever?

Why the hell is the dad, a "poor miller," totally making this stuff up about his daughter in an attempt to impress the king in the first place? Does he think the king'll just say, "Oh, straw into gold? How nice that she has a talent." Or that he'd be all, "So I guess you're poor by choice, because if your daughter could spin straw into gold, you presumably wouldn't be poor anymore!" Did the miller really have no plan when he mentioned this?

And I can cut the king some slack for holding the daughter accountable--i.e., threatening to kill her if she doesn't produce. Maybe that's just how kings were back then. And switching on a dime from head-on-chopping-block to queen was no big deal then, either.

But then--and this is the real Three's Company communications breakdown part--she bargains away her yet-to-be-conceived child without any apparent concern that the king might not approve? Didn't she think that through? And then even when she's on the verge of losing the kid, she never tells the king at all? Even after she manages not to?

A flying kitchen spoon, I got no problem with, but these crazy, shortsighted knuckleheads who end up having to get rescued repeatedly by a magical dwarf from entirely avoidable situations of their own making? It just makes no sense to me.

Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky, $8 [amazon]
Not really helping: Rumpelstiltskin Wikipedia Page [wikipedia]


I find this website to be interesting and useful when evaluating fairy tale history and meanings:


This takes you right to the notes, but you can read the story there also.

see, at least some of those variations and interpretations make [Pre-Enlightenment] sense.

i got another interesting one for you:
the original frog king is not released of his spell by the princess kissing him but by her throwing him against a wall in disgust.
that does seem to make some sense, though....

I highly suggest you read Susanna Clarke's version "On Lickerish Hill", from The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories. Perhaps you should read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell first, if you haven't, but the short stories can stand alone too.

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