AppLit Home Appalachian Tales of Strong Women Tina L. Hanlon

Adaptations of "Rumpelstiltskin"


Moser, Barry. Tucker Pfeffercorn: An Old Story Retold. Boston: Little, Brown, 1994. Tucker Pfeffercorn coverA brilliant adaptation of "Rumpelstiltskin" set in a coal town. Unlike her European predecessor, the heroine is a miner's widow who does not marry her rich and powerful oppressor—a coal boss who locks her up to cash in on the town gossips' claim that she can spin cotton into gold. The boss and the mysterious Tucker Pfeffercorn are both eliminated as the woman uses her wits to save her baby, and then leaves with her gold and her baby to find a better life in Cincinnati.

For discussion of several folklore adaptations by Moser, see "Transplanted in Appalachia:  Illustrated Folktales by Barry Moser," essay by Tina L. Hanlon.Ferradiddledumday cover

For teaching ideas and children's reactions, see Study Guide for "Ferradiddledumday" and Other "Rumpelstiltskin" Stories.

Mushko, Becky. Ferradiddledumday: An Appalachian Version of Rumpelstiltskin). Illus. Bruce Rae. Blumo Bluff, VA: Cedar Creek Publishing, 2010. With Study & Discussion Guide. Line drawings throughout, with photographs on covers and in study guide. First published in Blue Ridge Traditions, 1998. Published in AppLit since 2001, with drawings by school children added 2002. A heart-warming story about a young woman who works hard and leads a charmed life. With plants and animals from the Blue Ridge Mountains woven poetically through Gillie's encounters with a mysterious little man, the rhythms of the seasons flow through the story as naturally as the magic of the old fairy tale. The poor heroine, Gillie, works hard and leads a charmed life. She is not victimized by a domineering man and does not promise to give away her baby. She and her father help each other overcome human and supernatural hardships. When the mysterious little man who helps her spin gold from hay to pay her father's taxes demands Gillie's baby, the father reveals that he heard the little man say his name and the whole family lives happily ever after on their farm. "Becky Mushko deftly translates the Grimm Brothers' Rumpelstiltskin into an Appalachian fellow, witty and magical, and cleverly at home among the whispering sassafrass and paw-paw" (Amanda Cockrell). See reviews, illustrations, and other background at authors's web site.

Compare with:

"Rumpelstilzchen" by the Grimm Brothers, reprinted online with 19th-century illustrations at Nineteenth-Century German Stories.

Walter Crane's illustration of "Rumpelstilzchen" from Household Stories from the Collection of the Brothers Grimm, 1886

"Rumpelstiltzkin" from Andrew Lang's The Blue Fairy Book, reprinted online at Rick Walton, Children's Author:  Classic Tales and Fables

The Name of the Helper, by D. L. Ashliman, also gives background on tale type 500, "in which a mysterious and threatening helper is defeated when the hero or heroine discovers his name."  The texts of several editions from Grimm are reprinted, and variants from a number of countries, including "Tom Tit Tot" and "Duffy and the Devil" from England.

Rumpelstiltskin, retold and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. New York: Dutton, 1986. An award-winning picture book based on the Grimm Brothers' 1819 edition, with detailed oil paintings in the style of the Italian Renaissance.

Zemach, Harve. Duffy and the Devil: A Cornish Tale. Illus. Margo Zemach. Farrar, 1973. A comical variant of the tale from Cornwall, with humorous illustrations in muted tones, awarded the 1974 Caldecott medal.

Hamilton, Virginia. The Girl Who Spun Gold. Illus. Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2000. An adaptation of a West Indian tale, "Mr. Titman," using colloquial language that, according to Hamilton, reflects "a lilting West Indian speech pattern, then and now." The artists used "acrylic paint on acetate, over-painted with gold paint. The gold borders were created using gold leaf."

Sur La Lune Fairy Tales by Heidi Anne Heiner has an annotated tale with illustrations, lists of Similar Tales Across Cultures, Modern Interpretations, and other resources.

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