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Rumpelstilzchen

[Rumple-stiltsskin]. A passionate little deformed dwarf. A miller's daughter was enjoined by a king to spin straw into gold, and the dwarf did it for her, on condition that she would give him her first child. The maiden married the king, and grieved so bitterly when her first child was born that the dwarf promised to relent if within three days she could find out his name. Two days were spent in vain guesses, but the third day one of the queen's servants heard a strange voice singing

Little dreams my dainty dame
Rumpelstilzchen is my name.

The queen, being told thereof, saved her child, and the dwarf killed himself with rage. (German Popular Stories.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Rumpelstilzchen from Infoplease:

  • Rumpelstilzchen - Rumpelstilzchen [Rumple-stiltsskin]. A passionate little deformed dwarf. A miller's daughter ...
  • Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: R - Definitions, origins, and illustrative excerpts for words, phases, and literary allusions starting with "R"

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