Can your name be Rumplestiltskin?

The Queen of Tricks with a smirk,
with a quick lash of soft tongue
spoke his name and watched
him crumble. Watched his anger
stamping and sinking down

through splits of cracked wood floor.
Cackling and cursing, blistering
with hatred, the little man danced
his tantrum to death
with a crash from foot to head,
he ripped and cleaved himself in two.

With a lick of his tongue, the King
had spoken her name, the quiet miller maiden.
Greedy to test the rumblings, the gossip
of her skill to spin straw to gold, he took her.
Imprisoned she wept, tears slipping
through slits of cracked wood floor. A cackling

little man appeared, saved her, spun straw
by sunrise, and the King was impressed.
With a crack he turned her to another room.
She ripped and cleaved her heart in two
at the sight of straw piled to sweep the ceiling,
knowing tears would call her little man.

Her greedy little man demanded payment
for spinning straw to gold. First a necklace,
then a ring; last her first-born child.
The would-be queen gave him all;
and three times the little man saved her,
thrice he spun the straw by sunrise
and three times the King was impressed.
The maiden became Queen and seemed
to forget about straw, about tears,
about her little man,
and the promise she made him.
The cunning Queen had all she wanted.

When the little man demanded her child
the Queen gave it her all, tricked him
with glistening tears again: she knew
her little man would give a chance, or three.
Every name was guessed, but the maiden
who became Queen knew, waited until 

the third day came to utter his name,
to watch him crumple and wilt,
to watch his anger and stamping.
The cunning Queen had all she wanted.
The Queen of Tricks, spoke through a smirk:

     Can your name be Rumplestiltskin?

© Hayley Shields 2009


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