Translated from the German by Stephen Krashen ©2010, Illustrated by Beniko Mason ©2016

A miller bragged to the king that his daughter could spin straw into gold. It wasn’t true!


Once upon a time there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he got into a conversation with the King, and to impress him he said, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold.”

The King said to the miller, “That is very interesting! If your daughter is as skillful as you say, then bring her to my castle tomorrow, and I will put her to the test.”

When the girl was brought to the King he led her into a room that was filled with straw. Giving her a spinning wheel, he said, “Now get to work and spin all night. If you haven’t spun this gold into straw by morning, you will die.” Then he locked the room, and she was all alone.

The poor miller’s daughter sat there. She had no idea how to spin straw into gold. She became more and more afraid, and finally began to cry.


Suddenly the door opened. A little man stepped inside and said, “Good evening, Mistress Miller, why are you crying?

A man stepped into the room to help the girl.


“Oh,” answered the girl, “I am supposed to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it.”

The little man said, “What will you give me if I do it for you?”

“My necklace,” said the girl.

The little man took the necklace, sat down at the spinning wheel, and pulled three times, and the spool was full. Then he put another spool on, pulled three times, and the second one was full. He kept working like this until morning, until all the straw was spun and all the spools were filled with gold.

The man spun the straw into gold in exchange for the girl’s necklace.


At sunrise the king came, and when he saw all the gold he was surprised and very happy. But he wanted even more gold. He had the miller’s daughter taken to a larger room filled with straw and ordered her to spin all night once again, and fill the room with gold, if she valued her life.

Again, the girl did not know what to do, and she started to cry. Again the door opened, and the little man appeared and said, “What will you give me if I spin this straw into gold for you?”

“My ring,” answered the girl.

The little man took the ring, and once again began to work. By morning he had spun all the straw into brilliant and shiny gold.

The next day, the man spun the straw into gold in exchange for the girl’s ring.


The king was happy beyond measure when he saw the gold, but he still wanted more. He had the miller’s daughter taken to an even larger room filled with straw, and said, “You have to spin again tonight. If you can fill this room with gold, I will marry you.” He thought, “She may be just a miller’s daughter, but I couldn’t find a richer wife anywhere.”

When the girl was alone the little man returned for a third time, and once again, he said, “What will you give me if I spin the straw this time?”

“I don’t have anything else to give you,” answered the girl.

“How about your first child, after you become queen?”

“Who knows what will happen,” thought the miller’s daughter, and not knowing what else to do, she agreed. Once again, the little man spun the straw into gold.

The third day, the man demanded the girl’s first child. She agreed, produced the gold, and became queen. 



When the king came next morning and found the gold, he married her, and the beautiful miller’s daughter became queen.

A year later she brought a beautiful child into the world. She thought no more about the little man, but suddenly he appeared in her room and said, “Now give me what you promised!”

The queen was very frightened and offered the little man the entire wealth of the kingdom if he would let her keep the child, but the little man said, “No. Something living is more important to me than all the treasures of the world.”

When the queen’s first child was born, she did not want to give the child to the man. The man said she could keep the child if she could discover his name.



Then the queen began crying so much that the little man took pity on her and said, “I will give you three days’ time. If by then you can discover my name, then you can keep your child.”

The queen spent the entire night thinking of all the names she had ever heard. Then she sent a messenger into the country to inquire far and wide what other names there were.

When the little man returned the next day she started out with Kaspar, Melchior, Balzer, and tried all the other names she knew. After each one the little man said, “That is not my name.”

The next day she tried the most unusual names she could think of: “Maybe your name is Beastrib? Or Muttoncalf? Or Legstring?” But he always answered, “That is not my name.”

The queen’s messenger discovered the man’s name!



On the third day the messenger returned and said, “I haven’t been able to find any new names, but I saw a little house near the mountain in the corner of the woods. A fire was burning in front of the house, and a funny-looking little man was jumping around the fire, hopping on one leg and calling out:

Today I’ll bake; tomorrow I’ll brew,

I’ll put the queen’s child in the stew;

The queen will lose this silly game

‘Cause Rumpelstiltskin is my name.

You can just imagine how happy the queen was when she heard that name. Soon afterward the little man came in and asked, “Now, Your Highness, what is my name?”

She first asked, “Is your name Kunz?”


“Is your name Heinz?”


“Is your name perhaps Rumpelstiltskin?”

“The devil told you that! The devil told you that!” shouted the little man, and he got so angry that he stamped his right foot so hard into the ground that he fell in up to his waist.

Then with both hands he took hold of his left foot and tore himself in half, right up the middle.

The End



  1. pretty: 美しい
  2. lazy: 怠け者の
  3. spin: 紡ぐ
  4. if: もし
  5. knot: もつれ、からみ
  6. : flax亜麻の繊維
  7. annoyed: いらいらする
  8. would: 〜したものだ
  9. rip out: もぎとる
  10. a bunch of: 多くの
  11. throw: 捨てる
  12. on the ground: 床に
  13. all around ~: 〜の周りに
  14. servant: 召使い
  15. hard worker: 勤労者
  16. gathered together: 集める
  17. bits of ~: 〜の切れ端
  18. clean: きれいにする
  19. make (made): 作る
  20. had asked: 以前に依頼していた
  21. marry: 結婚する
  22. wedding: 結婚式
  23. take place: 執り行われる
  24. soon: まもなく
  25. on the eve of: 〜の前の晩に
  26. dance: 踊る
  27. merrily: 楽しそうに
  28. bride: 花嫁
  29. (in) odds and ends 半端物(で): くず(で)
  30. mean: (meant)意味する
  31. see (saw): 理解する
  32. decide not to ~: 〜しないことを決心する
  33. choose: 選ぶ
  34. wife: 妻