What do we have to give up in order to survive in a western dominated world? What do we end up neglecting from our cultural heritage to succeed? How much of our soul do we sell to live? And what do we have to sacrifice and abandon in order to belong?
Rumpelstiltskin is a children’s story collected by the Grim Brothers in 1812 about a dwarf who spins straw into gold. In the story he is depicted as the villain who wants to steal the Queen’s baby. In an effort to retell it from his point of view, I begin to explore the possibility of Rumple being the forgotten sub-group, who in an effort to survive in a white western culture has to give up his children, his heritage, his language and his legacy.
He has the gift of spinning straw into gold, which the wealthy westerners want to use for their gain. Spinning straw into gold is a symbol of the native gift, the cultural secret. The music, this magical dance, which gets exploited again and again by the colonizer. And Rumple knows that while he gives everything to the King and Queen, absolutely everything he is, he will die forgotten, for they don’t even know his name.
In my retelling of the story, Rumple doesn’t really want the Queen’s child. What he wants is for the Queen to remember his name. In retelling this story through his perspective, Rumple is not a dwarf, he is a tall man who is seen as a dwarf by the upper class. He also has no interest in stealing the Queen’s baby. All he wants is to prove a point. That the power of the colonizer only exists because of what the colonized gives. And that the colonized is only weaker because he allows for his name to be forgotten.