This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Saturday, 27 August 2011

Saturday Rave: Rumpelstiltskin.

Ah, this is a story for a word-lover. Rumpelstiltskin: a baffling, juicy title which, now I come to think about it, unfortunately gives away the punch-line.

But never mind.

There are all sorts of things wrong with this story: the King is nasty piece of work, both cruel and greedy, but he still gets the girl; the good guy, who helps the heroine in her hour of need, ends up being dissed by the heroine. 

I suppose this means the hero and heroine deserve each other, but that's still not exactly a fairy tale ending. Ah well, perhaps one day I'll write a sequel and dish out justice all round.

Anyway, even with all its faults, Rumpelstiltskin is a great story. There's a mystery, and a terrible danger, and the poor miller's daughter does get most satisfyingly rich. Most of all there's that lovely word Rumpelstiltskin hanging over the story as a puzzle and then a revelation.

I must say I never did like the ending, though. Is there a Dwarf-Power organisation anywhere I can join?*

Word To Use Today: poltergeist. Hey, you weren't expecting that, were you? And neither, to be frank, was I, but a rumpelstilz is a goblin who rattles posts and knocks on floorboards, and poltergeist is the nearest English word we have. Rumpelstilzchen means Little Rattle-Post in German, and poltergeist is German, too. It comes from the German poltern, to be noisy, and geist, ghost.

There's a similar English story called Tom Tit Tot.

*Actually, the nasty ending for poor Rumpelstiltskin was made up by the blasted Brothers Grimm. In some earlier versions good old Rumpelstiltskin ends up flying off on a ladle. Hurray!




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