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?