Do you remember as a child having the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin read to you? The story, like many others, filled with amazement and wonder. In the version popularized by Disney, when the queen guessed his name he disappeared through the floor, never to be seen again. But the earlier version was not as nice. In an earlier version of the story, Rumpelstiltskin dies by being ripped in two.
As many of you already know, the story of Rumpelstiltskin evolves around a millers daughter who was said to be able to spin straw into gold. If she can succeed she will eventually become queen. Being an impossible act to do, a little man appears who can do it for her, but everything comes at a price. As part of the deal she must hand over her first born.
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When the day arrives the little man appears. The queen can not hand over the child, so is given one last chance to keep it. If she can guess his name she gets to keep the child. Three days later she manages to guess his name, with the help of a man who heard Rumpelstiltskin singing his name around a fire. The story ended in the Disney version with the little man practically vanishing, never to be seen again. That explanation was obviously truncated just to give who aren’t aware of Rumpelstiltskin the gist of the story.
Clearly this version is far too kind for the Grimm brothers. But even their first version was a far cry from their usual sinister tales. In the edition published in 1812, when the queen guessed Rumpelstiltskin’s name he ran away in anger and never came back. That doesn’t exactly fit in with the cruelty of stories such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, so the edition released in 1857 was far more gruesome.
Rumpelstiltskin dies by being ripped in two
The ending of the 1857 edition saw Rumpelstiltskin die by being ripped in two. Now that is pretty gruesome, right? But how did this event happen? Did someone do it to him, or did something else happen.
Most of the story remained the same to the original published one, except for the ending. When the queen guessed his name correctly Rumpelstiltskin became angry and plunged his right foot into the ground. He did it so furiously that he sank up to his waist. He then grabbed his left foot with both of his hands and tore himself in two. You have to admit it, that’s pretty gruesome.
Like many fairy tales, there are many variations. In other tales Rumpelstiltskin doesn’t die by being ripped in two, but falls into a chasm and is never seen again, and even flies out a window on a ladle.