what’s in a name

a dull-witted farmer
upset his daughter
by telling the King
she could weave straw into bling

which he found interesting

SO interesting, in fact
the king had her snatched
and thrown in a cellar
and being a simple, psychopathic fella
ordered her to spin
or he’d chop off her head and that kinda thing


she sat on the stool
spinning wheels often have as a rule
feeling desperately blue
but the next thing she knew
a crazy little imp blew
into the straw-filled spinning room
(an imp being a hideous sprite
not the kinda thing you like to see at night)

but the imp was handy though
spun his impy way through
all the straw piled up in the cellar
so she gave him her rings and said thankyou fella

the king was pleased
gold up to his knees
so as a token of his appreciation
locked her back up for more wealth creation

that night the imp danced back across the floor
(how he got in I’m not too sure)
‘I’ll sort you out with more wheaty gold
but only if you give me your first born to hold
and cherish, and keep
which as deals go was creepy and steep
but the girl said fine and lay down to sleep
and when she woke up
the imp firmly spoke up
said don’t forget your solemn promise
tapped his prominent proboscis
cackled & vanished
as in came the fascist
who was so pleased to see such easy riches
he straightway made the poor girl his missus
(which is a horrible thing to have to say
but I didn’t write this fairy tale, okay?)

years passed
the king and queen had a baby at last
which is when
the imp came back again

as he rubbed his hands and advanced
the poor queen begged him for a second chance
the imp relented
(in many ways he represented
the fairer side of fairy tale fiends
and a whole lot nicer than kings & queens)

‘I’ll give you three days to guess my name
and if you fail I’ll make my claim’

(I know – the challenge doesn’t sound all that brutal
but the story was written a few years before Google)

the queen
tried everything
but nothing
seemed to work
despite a list from the registry clerk

until day three
when the queen accidentally
came across his cottage
and without the imp’s knowledge
watched as he skipped
around a barbecue on bricks
and prematurely rejoiced
in a skimpy, impy voice:

Tonight tonight, my plans I make, tomorrow tomorrow, the baby I take.
The queen will never win the game, for Rumpelstiltskin is my name

the queen took a notepad from her gown
wrote it down
because Rumpelstiltskin was tricky unfortunately

when the imp appeared at court
the queen drew the whole thing out for sport
Freddie? Bilbo? Emmanuel? Dave?
the imp rubbed his hands, said ‘behave!
one last go, no ifs, buts or maybe
I’m only here to collect the baby’

‘Rumpelstiltskin!’ cried the Queen
standing, pointing straight at him
the imp looked livid
went flaccid – then rigid
stamped his curly impy pumps
knocking big expensive lumps
out of the palace parquet flooring
screaming & cursing & roaring
but c’mon! I think you’d be pissed too
all that spinning and the adoption falls through

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