a promise is a promise?
One day, a miller went to see the king;
he pondered how to give himself import.
“Oh, King,” he said, and told an untrue tale
which did get great attention from The Court.
“My daughter has a talent unsurpassed;
the only one, if I may be so bold,
whose touch can take a common pile of straw
and spin the hay into a spool of gold.”
The king, who was a greedy sort of man
enclosed the miller’s daughter in a room
filled to the roof with brown and brittle straw.
“Girl, spin this into gold or meet your doom!”
When all alone, the maiden wept and cried.
“The king has made impossible demands;
I can’t spin hay to precious gold; not I!
To do this thing, I should need magic hands.”
To her surprise, a small, odd man appeared,
and he agreed to spin the gold by morn
if she would make a solemn promise then:
“Give to me your first child when it is born.”
To save herself, she promised her first child.
The next morning, the king was filled with joy
when he walked in and saw the gleaming gold.
“Now, be my wife; a rich life you’ll enjoy!”
They married and a child was born in May.
The queen had put her promise in the past,
and so the little man returned that June
to take the newborn babe away, at last.
She begged for one last chance to change his plan,
so he made up a game could not be won.
“Just guess my name and you may keep your tot;
then our agreed-to deal will be undone.”
She tried a hundred names that weren’t his own
so sent a scout to help with her tough quest.
That night, scout found the strange man ‘round a fire.
He danced and sang his name, one not yet guessed.
When he returned to take her child away
she said, “You thought I could not win your game,
but you will leave today with empty arms.
Say, Rumpelstiltskin, where’d you get that name?”