Monday 28 August 2023

Spinning Straw into Gold: the Rumpelstiltskin Effect: being an Overcomer (1) CECILY CLARK


On Wednesday the 21st of June Cecily Clark gave a Spiritual Reading Group presentation on the story of Rumpelstiltskin.  Here, in two parts, are Cecily’s notes for the session.


      The inner meaning of ‘Rumpelstiltskin’

      Read the story aloud

      The origin of the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin

      The value and importance of fairy tales

      Archetypes and symbols

      Jungian Character archetypes

      Symbols within the tale of ‘Rumpelstiltskin’

      Seven Jungian story archetypes

      Symbols and their meanings from a Christian mystic viewpoint

      Spinning straw into gold inner meaning

      The Rumpelstiltskin Effect

      Share your own ‘spinning straw into gold’ story and creative responses


Inner meaning of the fairy tale: “Rumpelstiltskin”

”When life seems to hold no promise for tomorrow but loss or death; a locked door – inside us or out – opens by itself. A curious-looking little man hobbles in and sits down at the wheel to summon what we lack out of the dross that lies under our feet, beneath notice. Straw is transformed into gold again. We grow closer to what we hoped to be.” [“Spinning Straw into Gold” by Joan Gould]

Once there was a poor miller who had a beautiful daughter. As he wanted to become more important, he went to the King and said to him, "I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold."

     The King replied, “If your daughter is so clever, bring her tomorrow to my palace and I will put her to the test."

     The miller brought his beautiful daughter to the King, who took her into a room which was quite full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and said, "Now set to work and if by to-morrow morning, you have not spun this straw into gold, you must die."

Then the King locked the room and left her there alone. Having no idea how to spin straw into gold, she began to weep.

     Suddenly, the door opened and in came a little man who said, "Good evening, mistress miller, why are you crying so?"

"Alas," answered the girl, "I have to spin this straw into gold but I do not know how to."

     "What will you give me," said the manikin, "if I do it for you?"

     "My necklace," said the girl.

     The little man took the necklace, seated himself in front of the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr, spinning and spinning all night long, until the reels were full. In the morning, the straw had been spun into gold.

The next morning, when the King saw the gold, he was very astonished. But because he was so greedy, he wasn’t satisfied. He took the girl into a much larger room and commanded her to spin even more straw overnight, if she valued her life. The girl was very upset. Once more, the door opened and the same little man appeared saying, "What will you give me if I spin this straw into gold?"

     "The ring on my finger," answered the girl.

     The little man took the ring and began spinning the straw again. By morning, he had spun all the straw into glittering gold.

     The King rejoiced, but he still wanted more gold. He took the girl into an even larger room full of straw and said, "You must spin this, straw too, if you value your life. And if you succeed, you shall be my wife."

When the girl was alone, the manikin came for the third time and said, "What will you give me if I spin this straw into gold?"

     "I have nothing left to give you," answered the girl.

     "Then promise me, if you should become Queen, to give me your first child."

    Not knowing what else to do, she promised him what he wanted. Then the manikin once more spun the straw into gold.

     When the king arrived the next morning and found all as he had wished, he took her in marriage. The pretty miller's daughter became his Queen.

 A year later, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. However, she had forgotten all about the manikin. Suddenly, he appeared and said, "Now give me what you promised."

Then the horror-struck Queen began to lament and cry, so that the manikin pitied her.

     "I will give you three days," said he, "and if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep your child."

     The Queen sent out a messenger to enquire over the entire kingdom, hoping to find out the manikin’s name. The next day when he came, she said, “Is it Caspar, Melchior, or Balthazar?”

He laughed and said,”No! They are not!"

On the second day, the messenger gave her some more names. She said, “Perhaps your name is Short Ribs, Sheepshanks, or Lace Leg?” But he answered, "These aren’t my names either."

     On the third day the messenger returned and said to the Queen, "I saw a little house in the mountains and outside this cottage a fire was burning. Round about the fire a ridiculous little man was jumping on one leg and shouting -

     'To-day I bake, to-morrow brew,

    the next I'll have the young queen's child.

     Ha, glad am I that no one knew

     that Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.'"

     You may imagine how happy the Queen was when she heard the name. Now when the manikin returned and said, "Well, mistress Queen, what is my name?"

At first she said, "Is your name Conrad?"


     "Is your name Harry?"


     "Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?"

     "Some evil creature has told you that," shouted the little man. He stomped and stomped about so angrily that he was swallowed by the earth and was never seen again.


The origin of Rumpelstiltskin

      Originated in Europe in the 16th Century by the French poet Rabelais and German scholar Fischart (“Gargantua” 1577)

      The name Rumpelstiltskin is believed to have come from an old children’s game called ‘Rumpele stilt oder der Poppart’ (meaning ‘a little rattle stilt’ or a goblin that makes noises)

      Brothers Grimm collected traditional fairy tales in 1812, including this tale.

      Durham University researchers believe the origin of this tale is around 4,000 years old.

      References to the tale can believed to be in “Dio of Halicarnassus’s Roman Antiquities” (First Century AD)

      King Midas and the Golden Touch (Greek Mythology: Second Century BC)


The Myth of King Midas and His Golden Touch (2nd Century BC)

The summary of “King Midas' Golden Touch”

“King Midas and His Golden Touch” tells the story of a rich king who lived a long time ago. He had a little daughter named Marigold, whom he loved very much, but not as much as his gold. Even though he was very rich, he was still greedy for more wealth. One day, he met a fairy boy in his gold room. The

fairy gave him magic powers so that anything he touched would turn to gold. He was very happy because his dream came true. However, he accidentally turned his daughter into a golden statue. The king regretted his choice and called the fairy back. He gave up his “golden touch” in exchange for his daughter. After that, he never longed for more gold again.

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