Adapted from Grimm by Charles Eliot Norton, "Heart of Oak Books," III. By permission of D. C. Heath & Co.
IN a certain kingdom once lived a poor miller who had a
very beautiful daughter. She was very shrewd and
clever, too. The miller was so vain and proud of her
that one day he told the king that his daughter could
spin gold out of straw.
Now, the king was very fond of money. When he heard
the miller's boast he ordered the girl brought to him.
Then he led her to a chamber where there was a great
quantity of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and said:
 "All this must be spun into gold before morning,
as you value your life."
It was in vain that the poor maiden said she could do
no such thing. The chamber was locked and she was left
She sat down in the corner of the room and began to
cry, when the door opened and a droll-looking little
man hobbled in.
"Good morrow to you, my pretty lass," he said. Why are
"Alas!" she answered, "I must spin this straw into
gold, and I know not how."
"What will you give me," said the little man, "to do it
"My necklace," said the maiden. So he set himself down
at the wheel; round about it went merrily, and
presently the gold was all spun.
When the king came and saw this he was greatly
astonished and pleased. But he grew still more greedy
and he shut up the poor miller's daughter again with a
fresh task. She knew not what to do, and sat down once
more to weep; but the little man presently opened the
door and said:
"What will you give me to do your task?"
"The ring on my finger," replied she. So the little
man took the ring, began work at the wheel, and by
morning all was finished again.
The king was pleased to see all this glittering
treasure. But still he was not satisfied. He took
the miller's daughter into a still larger room and
said: "All this straw must be spun to-night; if you
succeed, you shall be the queen."
As soon as she was alone the dwarf came in and said:
 "What will you give me to spin gold for you this
"I have nothing left," said she.
"Then, promise," said the little man, "your first
little child when you are queen."
"That may never do," thought the miller's daughter; but
she knew no other way to get her task done, so she
promised, and he spun once more a whole heap of gold.
The king came in the morning, and, finding all the gold
he wanted, married the miller's daughter and made her
At the birth of her first little child the queen was
very happy, and she forgot the little man and her
promise; but one day he came to remind her. Then she
grieved sorely and offered him all her treasures, till
at last her tears softened him and he said: "I will
give you three days to find my name. If you succeed,
you may keep your baby."
So the queen lay awake at night, thinking of all the
odd names that she had ever heard, and she sent
messengers all over the land to find out new ones. The
next day the little man came and she began with
Timothy, Benjamin, Jeremiah, but to all of them he
said: "That's not my name."
The second day she began with all the comical names she
could think of: Bandylegs, Hunchback, Crookshanks, and
so on; but the little man still said: "That's not my
The third day came back one of the messengers and said:
"Yesterday, as I was climbing a hill, among the forest
trees where the fox and the hare bid each other good
night, I saw a little hut, and before the hut
 burned a fire, and round about the fire danced a funny
little man upon one leg and sang:
" 'Merrily the feast I'll make,
To-day I'll brew, to-morrow I'll bake;
Merrily I'll dance and sing,
For next day will a stranger bring.
Little does my lady dream
Rumpel-Stilts-Kin is my name!' "
When the queen heard this she jumped for joy. As soon
as the little man came she said: "Is your name John?
No? Then it is Tom? No? Can your name be
"Some witch told you! Some witch told you!" cried the
little man, and dashed his right foot in such rage deep
into the floor that he was forced to lay hold of it
with both hands to pull it out. Then he made the best
of his way off, while everybody laughed at him for
having had his trouble for nothing.