The story of Rumpelstiltskin opens with a conversation between a poor miller and a king. The miller wants to impress the king, and appear more powerful in the king's eyes. He boasts, "I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold." The king, who understands the link between wealth and power, invites the daughter to the castle to put this skill to the test.
The first two nights, the king demonstrates ultimate power over the girl when he threatens to kill her if she fails to spin all the straw in the rooms into gold. On the third night, he informs her that if she again succeeds in spinning the straw to gold, she shall become his wife. He does not ask her opinion; she has no power to refuse his decision.
The king's greed for more gold keeps the miller's daughter in the castle for three nights under threat of death. When he takes her as a wife, he thinks to himself, "Even if she is only a miller's daughter, I will not find a richer wife in all the world."
The little man who comes to the girl's aid each night and spins the straw into gold is very greedy. He takes no pity on the girl and her plight, but asks each time what she will give him if he helps her. He takes the only two...