The Miller’s daughter

Spinning wheel

Rumpelstiltskin, print by Kevin Tong

In The Stable Boy, we found out that Cora (Regina’s mother) is the miller’s daughter. In the traditional Rumpelstiltskin story, the miller, a poor man, tries to impress the king by telling him that his daughter could spin straw into gold — when she could do no such thing. The king orders the girl be brought to the castle, where he locks her in a room filled with straw and says that if she doesn’t turn the straw into gold by the morning, she would have to die.

The girl panics, but then a “little man” shows up and says he can spin the straw into gold — for a price. She offers him a necklace, and they have a deal.

The next night, it’s the same thing. The king again locks the girl in a room — this one filled with even more straw — and the little man shows up. This time, the miller’s daughter gives him her ring.

On the third night, the king says that if she once again spins the straw into gold, he will marry her. When the little man shows up, the miller’s daughter says she has nothing left to give him. The little man says that after she becomes queen, she should give him her first child.

She marries the king, has a child, and the little man shows up, demanding she live up to their bargain. But he gives her an escape clause — he will let her keep the child if she can find out his name.

When she finds out that his name is Rumpelstiltskin, he is not pleased. The Grimm version of the story ends on a gruesome note: “[W]ith anger he stomped his right foot so hard into the ground that he fell in up to his waist. Then with both hands he took hold of his left foot and ripped himself up the middle in two.”

Learning that Regina’s mother had this connection with Rumpelstiltskin was a wonderful “aha” moment. I love the way we are still finding out the ways the characters are interconnected.

This revelation also raises a lot of questions. Is Regina the first-born child who Rumpel had demanded? Does this explain the rivalry between Regina and Rumpel — does Rumpel think that Regina should belong to him? Did Cora’s magic come from her connection with Rumpel? Since in the OUAT version of the story, Rumpel does not tear himself in two but continues to live on, what happened between him and Cora after Regina was born?

I doubt that kindly Henry could ever have been as cruel and willful as the king in the story, but I do wonder how he and Cora got together.

Will we have to wait until Season 2 (or beyond) to find out all the answers?

14 responses to “The Miller’s daughter

  1. I’m confused. I dont think Gold was the evil Rumpelstiltskin before Regina was born. Unless you are referring to the other guy, forgot his name/title.

    • The Dark One… Maybe Cora made a deal with him instead of Rumpel.

      • That could be. But I’m not sure about the timeline. Did Rumpel kill the Dark One before or after Regina was born? As far as I can remember, Rump’s backstory was told without anything that would indicate where it fit in with the other characters’ stories, so it could have been Rump making a deal with Cora before Regina was born.

  2. The little man’s name was rumplestilskin not dark one so I think we have a match with Rumple and the miller’s daughter.

    By the way – great post!
    Thank you for giving us the backstory.

  3. This tv show likes to alter the traditional tales (like little red riding hood). So I am thinking that maybe Cora didn’t guess Rumples name and had to give away her first born or son. Regina must have a sibling- maybe August or Bae? I dont think henry is august they have completely different eye colors and the way they matched little snow to adult snow tells me they they would at least make August and Henry have the same eye color. My other idea is that Cora made a different deal – maybe the ability to do magic in order to make gold, control or destroy the king, and take over the kingdom (like Regina would do in the future). I love all of these hidden Intertwined connections all of the characters have.

  4. Maybe it’s just because I refuse to believe anything bad about Rumple, but I also think it was the original Dark One. However…it would explain the constant rivalry between Rumple and Regina. Still, I thought the Cinderella story was meant to do that…tell out the Miller’s daughter story. But this could bring us some lovely episodes as well :)
    But that Dark One’s name was Zoso, not Rumplestiltskin so I’m probably wrong…

  5. it is possible that kitsis & horowitz change a bit the story.. cora didnt found out rumple name, she had to give her first child to rumple (baelfire) and maybe bae and regina are brothers…and if bae is august, we know because he seems familiar to her

    sorry for my english, im spanish XD

  6. Ooh, I’m liking the theory that in exchange for the power to spin the gold, Cora negotiated to receive magic, but it had the unexpected consequence of costing her the love of the King?

    Cora told Regina, “It feels real now, at the start it always does, but it’s illusion. It fades. And then you’re left with nothing.”
    So maybe the King stopped loving her, even kicked her to the curb…leaving Cora bitter and desperate to make her way back into the castle?

  7. I believe that Cora is the Millers Daughter for sure. And I will bet that Rumple is the Miller’s son. I think that they will twist it up a bit and make the Dark One the “Rumpel” She was dealing with. And I believe that Bae is her first born too. My theory is that she had made a deal with the Dark One, guessed his name and won her son. Then a few years later, maybe when her Kingdom started to fail, she made a deal with him a second time. This time for her own magical powers. I believe she put Baelfire back as collateral. When it came time to collect, she stowed the baby with her brother, Rumple. And with her new found power, Cora was the one who created the Dark One’s dagger. She got out of the deal, and kept her Kingdom and went on to have Regina.
    It’s not a very flowy theory, but it does kind of work. It could be why she and Rumple have such disdain for each other. Rumple for the most part does have a heart. And his sister, basically traded her son for magical powers. She went on to have a daughter, and treated her like a princess, where she probably never even batted an eye at Bae. Leaving her brother to raise this child by himself. I bet Rumple being a coward and poor doesn’t sit right with dear sis Cora either. I bet we will be seeing her and she will be the Queen of Hearts too. Imagine Mr. Gold’s reaction when seeing his estranged sister.

  8. I think the King fell out of love with Cora when she started to like being ALL POWERFUL! You can tell when he tries to dum down power driven emotions like hate, jealousy, revenge etc. He knows all to well the effect that magical powers have on people. I think that Cora may have suspended her King in midair, wrapped with horse strapping, a few times. That would certainly make me lose the love pretty quick.

  9. This isn’t by me. It’s from another website…

    Personal Once Upon A Time Theories and Revelations …

    Anyway, here are the five main theories I have broken down and connected with regard to the series:

    1. Rumplestiltskin did not start making deals until after Baelfire was lost …

    2. Rumplestiltskin planned on Regina enacting the curse and in fact used her …

    3. Snow White and Prince Charming were pawns as well, but Rumplestiltskin used them in order to create a bottled form of true love ….

    4. Rumplestiltskin wanted the curse to break the entire time….

    5. Ultimately, all this is about Baelfire….

    … Am I insinuating that Rumplestiltskin is behind just about everything? To put it plainly, yes, or at least everything I’ve laid out in these theories…. The finale seemed to tie all this together for me, and with each episode I’ve re-watched, I become more and more convinced that Rumplestiltskin was calling the shots the entire time….

    See the much longer original post here: Wouldn’t that save you?

What do you think?