Rumpelstiltskin Reloaded

Some time ago I complained heartily about the fault lines running thickly through the story of Rumpelstiltskin. Remember?

“If anyone can hand me a better version that actually makes sense of the key elements in the story, be it a paragraph or a page, I will publish it here. Put on your thinking cap; ask your children for solutions; dig out your reference books. Serious, satirical, or sappy—anything would be better than the above. I’m grading for logic, not polish. Best version gets a prize, and I’m not joking.”

Incidentally, a Shari Zook version is not forthcoming. I had fun trying. I wrote a Memphis version in which the King turned out to be Elvis; but it just didn’t work. My husband told me so, and he is a) prone to overrate my work, not underrate it and b) never wrong. So that version called in sick and will not be showing…

But I’m happy to announce that I had three other takers! I’m linking to their versions below. Some snowy afternoon, curl up with hot chocolate and enjoy them all. Then cast a vote, or tell me which parts of the rewrites were especially fun.

Rumpelstiltskin Over Easy, by Regan Zook

  • This succinct version was written by my 7-year-old son. Paragraph breaks were added for readability; original spelling and punctuation have been preserved. The moral of the story is: Problems? What problems? There’s always a way out somewhere. Includes original artwork.

Rumpelstiltskin – An Alternative Ending, by Ryan Zook

  • Short, ironic, and political, this version finds its own solution to the problem. Meet Jenny, a savvy young woman who forms surprising alliances.

Rumpelstiltskin Re-Imagined, by Amy Smucker

  • Romantic, bittersweet, and almost modern, this version takes its time to develop a storyline that actually makes sense. Meet Annie, a young woman working hard to pay off her father’s debt—and Will and Andrew: the two young men who fall in love with her.

Many thanks to the participants for their courage and inspiration! No way I could pick a “best” version, so everyone gets a prize.

Amy's pen

Don’t you wish you had joined the fun? That’s okay, next time you’ll be braver…
Right?

Competition: story rewrite

[Exasperated sigh after story hour at the Zooks]

Are there or are there not just some really psychotic characters in the story of Rumpelstiltskin?

rumpelstiltskin

First we have the proud father, who tells a complete lie to the king and sends his daughter’s future up in smoke. Oh, good thinking, Pops.

Then we have the king. We forgive him for being so in love with gold that he sacrifices everyone else’s happiness for it; this is the stuff we are used to in fairy tales. But honestly. He believes the thing about spinning straw into gold? And then he has to prove it three nights in a row before realizing what a gold mine he is perched upon?

And then of course the marriage… Night One: I’m going to cut off your head in the morning. Night Two: I’m going to cut off your head in the morning. Night Three: I’m going to marry you in the morning. Aw, thanks, king; that’s sweet of you. HOW IS THIS NOT AS GREAT A THREAT AS NIGHTS ONE AND TWO??

Which brings us to the girl. She weeps three nights in a row. Perhaps something more creative could have come to mind, such as burrowing into the straw, conning a guard, or jumping out a window? And then promising the baby?! This chick has no scruples, as evidenced by her smiling face on the wedding photo.

And our illustrious Rumpelstiltskin. His heart softens enough to prolong the queen’s agony for three days before the kidnapping?

Not to mention the messenger, who apologetically claims he “can find no new name but one” after hitting the jackpot?

If anyone can hand me a better version that actually makes sense of the key elements in the story, be it a paragraph or a page, I will publish it here. Put on your thinking cap; ask your children for solutions; dig out your reference books. Serious, satirical, or sappy—anything would be better than the above. I’m grading for logic, not polish. Best version gets a prize, and I’m not joking. You have three weeks. Send it to sharizook@gmail.com.