The Lost Child

Callie Levan reinvents the character of Rumpelstiltskin.

Visual art by Alison Yates.

A cry, a weep, a plead for help
I all but jump at the opportunity
To assist a young girl in need.
I find her in a room of straw
Just a spinning wheel beside her.
“Good evening, mistress miller,
Why are you crying so?”
She answers that the straw
Must be gold by morning
Else she’ll die.
Of course, I take pity on the child
And offer to use my magic for her,
In exchange for that pretty red necklace.
That night at my home,
I think, “How good I am.”
Looking at the pretty red necklace,
I realize that it was not
Very much pay at all,
For I had spun a room full of straw into gold!
Early next morning I hear
Another cry, another weep, another plead for help.
There sits the girl, that same girl,
In a larger room
Full of more straw than before.
I offer once again to spin it for her
And take the silver ring from her pale finger.
By the time I arrive at my little house,
I realize once again that this ring,
This little ring,
Is not much in exchange for golden straw.
Early next morning I hear
Another cry, another weep, another plead for help.
There sits the girl, that same girl,
In a larger room
Full of more straw than before.
And she says to me,
“I have nothing left that I could give,”
So I answer, having felt rather lonesome lately,
“Then promise me, if you should become queen,
To give me your first child.”
To my surprise,
She agrees.
And I hastily spin the straw into gold.
I hear tell of a wedding
After just a week,
And think to myself,
“Wow. That was fast.”
Each week I grow more lonely,
And I crave the child
That the queen is due to bear
In just a month.
It shall be a boy, I hope.
For boys are more useful
Around the house.
“Now give me what you promised,”
I said.
She wept.
She offered me gold.
She offered me riches.
“Something alive is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world,”
I reply.
She wept more and more.
I felt sorry.
I gave her three days to
Think of my name,
And if she should,
Her baby boy would be safe with her.
The names she thunk up,
Creative indeed,
However none were as creative
As my real name.
Foolishly, though,
I sing to the world,
That I am so happy for the child,
And I sing to the world my name.
The queen asks
“Is your name Conrad?”
“No.”
“Is your name Harry?”
“No.”
“Perhaps your name is...
Rumpelstiltskin!”
“The devil has told you that!”
I wail, and she just looks smug.
That wench! I pitied her!
I saved her life!
I took but a necklace and ring in return.
I gave her golden straw!
I gave her marriage!
I gave her that child!
Now she will not give him back
In return!
That wench! I saved her life.
“The devil has told you that!”
I cry and wail and beg for the boy,
But she has guessed my name,
And I, Rumpelstiltskin,
Never break
A promise,
However miserable I may be.
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Callie Levan is a freshman Creative Writer who enjoys reading in her fort and sporting a Pikachu hat.

  • The Mothership

    And I think to myself, “Wow, that was fast.”
    LOL ….great poem