Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Ugly Little Man's Version: Rewriting Rumpelstiltskin

New Poem in a New Journal.

The Journal is Meniscus, the poem 'The Ugly Little Man's Version.'

http://www.meniscus.org.au/Meniscus%20-%20Volume%201,%20Issue%201%20%5BFINAL%5D.pdf

My Aunt used to tell me this story. The bit I waited for was the end.  A list of increasingly ludicrous non-names:  "Is it Humbly Stumbly?". "No!".  The Queen's voice became more desperate as the names sillier: Rumple's became more gleeful with each wrong guess.  When he stamps his foot in rage and stamps so hard his foot gets stuck in the ground and he pulls so hard he pulls himself in half,  H who  was a good mimic,  made that final shriek worth the wait.

There's an early French version called Ricdin Ricdon which is anything but understated. The girl has a name, and the story's version of the father's famous boast, which is made a by a woman, is a sarcasm which is taken literally. Ricdin Ricdon gives the girl a magic wand on one condition. He will return for it in a year, and she must say his name...WHICH HE TELLS HER.  I know it's a fairy tale, but how hard would it be to remember "Ricdin Ricdon". Who is a demon, or the devil, and after her soul. It's very ..very ...long. And involves family histories and various other generic whatnots.

The House Hold Tales version is a masterpiece of compression. Nothing is explained. The Miller makes his stupid boast, the King puts it to the test. Each time Rumple saves her she gives him something, and finally promises him her first child. Why he wants the child is not explained. The Miller's daughter, who is never given a first name, becomes The Queen. We don't hear what she thinks about this. To parallel the three spinnings, Rumple gives her three chances to guess his name. Finally, she does so. He screams in rage and pulls himself in two.

I wondered what his version of the story might be.

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