Thursday, November 13, 2014
For this project, I was assigned with creating a different take on the Grimm Brothers' "Rumpelstiltskin".
___________________________________________________________________________The story takes place in the mining town of Forkwood in 1850s.
At the town saloon late in the evening, all of the miners congregate to brag about and expound upon their abilities and talents, as most inebriated men do.
Killian O'Malley (who's three sheets to the wind at this point), in an attempt to one-up everybody, tells them that his daughter does a mighty good job of grinding the coal into diamonds. The other miners obviously don't believe him, so to make a point, he buys everyone's drink for the night (it was late and the keg was almost dry anyways, but no-one caught on to this). The other miners reason that if that the case, she should be able to turn the coal lumps in the cart at the mine entrance into diamonds. Entangled in his lies, he agrees, and tells them she'll do it tomorrow morning.
Late that night, Killian arrives at home, sober & panicked. He explains to his daughter, Molly O'Malley whatever he told the fine gentlemen at the bar and what they all expect of her as a result.
She explains that she's never even been in the mine before, much less turned coal into diamonds. But the deed was done, and they were caught up in a lie with a hopeless outcome. They spend the night trying to come up with a solution, but nothing comes to fruition.
The morning comes, and he reluctantly leads his daughter to the mine entrance A small crowd of the miners are around waiting, expecting the impossible to occur. Killian explains it'll take a while for her to make the diamonds, and that the crowd must wait outside. As he sends her into the mine with only a lantern, he begs her to come up with something as he shuts the door. She sits down at the foot of the mine cart and weighs her options. This doesn't last long, though, since she doesn't have any. Realizing how hopeless her situation is and that only humiliation and embarrassment await her, she breaks down and starts crying.
Suddenly, a mountain dwarf emerges from the dark with a large hammer. Molly initially recoils in fright (to her credit, she wasn't expecting anybody else to be in there, let alone a dwarf), but then she calms down upon realizing that the being means her no harm. The dwarf asks her whats wrong, and why is she sitting all alone in the mine. She explains her predicament to him, ending with that she can't turn diamonds into coal, and that she isn't even sure if that's entirely possible.
The dwarf thinks for a moment, then, placing a lump of coal on the ground before her, he slams his hammer down upon it. When he lifts it back up, its a shining diamond. "Oh, its quite possible" He explains. "You just have to have the special touch".
Elated at the possibility of a solution, she begs him to help her out. He says that he will, but only in exchange for one of her possessions. She has nothing to offer, so she reluctantly offers him the lantern. To her relief, he gladly takes it, and in no time at all, turns the load of coal into diamonds. Once his job is finished, he heads off into the darkness again.
Outside, she emerges with a handful of diamonds (she had more, but she tripped a few times coming out of the mine in total darkness and kept dropping them). The miners are elated at this supposed miracle, and her father Killian, says he'll buy them all drinks at the saloon. As the miners leave, Killian turns to Molly and quietly inquires as to how she pulled it off. She tells him about the dwarf. He becomes visibly upset and tells her that dwarfs are bad news, and to not entrust them with anything. But, given her predicament, she really had no other choice, so it was okay for the time being.
At the saloon, the miners wager that she can't do the same feat to the coal deposit in Shaft #8. It's a rather large pile, and doing it, they say, would be impossible. Killian at first objects, but when the miners throw in their wages in a bet against her, he reluctantly (supposedly) changes his mind. When he gives Molly the news, she's a little irritated at the idea of being used in such a manner, but the deed's been done, and she has no choice.
The next day, she descends into Shaft #8, a tall depository with a large pile of coal situated in the middle of it. She calls for the dwarf, who emerges from the darkness again, his new lantern shining brightly. She tells him of her predicament, and asks if he can repeat his feat. He agrees, on the condition that she give him the mine canary in exchange. Once the trade is made, he swiftly grinds the pile of coal into a mountain of diamonds, and disappears into the darkness with the bird as before.
Molly and Killian enjoy the same pomp and circumstance as before, despite the mine being shut down for a few days when its discovered that the canary is missing.
However, miner McAngus scoffs that it only took Molly a fraction of the time to grind the pile of coal down than it did to perform the same feat on the mine cart, and suspects foul play. The other miners start to catch on and doubt, despite Killian's best efforts to dissuade them. McAngus gives them an ultimatum: perform the same feat on the pile of coal in the locomotive tender in front of the miners, or they'd be forced to admit their charade and suffer whatever consequences come from bamboozling a rough and tough mining community.
The next day, Molly comes to the foot of the locomotive, the crowd gathered around her. Reluctantly, she climbs into the coal tender, understandably feeling quite hopeless. Suddenly, she hears herself being hailed softly, and notices the dwarf hiding in the train cabin. He had heard ahead of time about her situation, and came to help out. She begs him to, promising that this will be the last time she requests his help. The dwarf agrees and, pulling one of the train's valves, releases steam from the boiler, shrouding the locomotive temporarily in a cloud of steam. When the steam cleared away, the miners were awed to see Molly standing on a tender full of diamonds.
The crowd roars in exuberance. Before they come upon her, she remembers that the dwarf usually seeks payment, and asks for what he'd like in return for his feat. With no hesitation, he demands her first born child, and fades away into thin air.
The miners all climb up on the mountain of diamonds in elation, taking no notice of Molly's vacant, concerned stare.
Years pass. Due to the influx of diamonds into the local economy, the town of Forkwood becomes a bustling mountain settlement.
Molly, now married, sits by the fireplace of her home with her newborn child. Suddenly, a rap comes on the window, and the dwarf appears inside her home, demanding his payment.
She begs the dwarf to relent. But no matter how much she pleads, it goes nowhere. The dwarf reminds her that in the past she willingly gave up the lantern and canary without a second thought, and that to now renege on a promise was in very poor taste.
But she continues to beg, and the dwarf makes her a deal:
Despite their on-going relationship, the dwarf had never been formally introduced to her. If she could somehow guess his name within three days' time, she could keep her child, have her possessions back, and the dwarf would leave her alone forever. But if she could not, the dwarf would take away everything that belonged to him, which not only would include the child, but the whole mining town itself, since it was by his hand alone that the town became populous. With that, he vanishes.
She confers with her father about the situation. No matter how hard they try, no possible explanation for the dwarf's name comes to mind.
And so days one and two go very badly for poor Molly. The dwarf would visit her at night, and she would try vainly, with no leads to go on, to guess his name. Each time she failed, the dwarf would remind her of everyone's fate on the end of the third day.
The third day comes around.
Shamus O'Grady, the self-proclaimed town drunk, was sitting in the mine entrance late that evening taking a drop of the pure when he heard a sound deep in the tunnels. Investigating, he snuck up upon the dwarf, who was sitting with his lantern and canary, chuckling to himself. Not knowing of O'Grady's presence, the dwarf boasted out loud that the time was near, for nobody in their right mind would ever guess that Rumpelstiltskin would be the one to burn the town to the ground.
With this, the drunk runs out of the mine, and bursts into the saloon to tell of his discovery. Of course, no one in their right mind would believe a story told by a half-crazed man who was a little more than three sheets to the wind.
Except Killian, who just so happened to be there drowning his sorrows at the impending loss of his life as he knew it. But at this revelation, he ran back to the home to tell Molly before the dwarf arrived.
When the dwarf finally appeared to her, Molly triumphantly calls out Rumpelstiltskin by name, and demands him to leave. Rumpelstiltskin, utterly shocked at her revelation, cries out in anguish, knowing that he has been defeated. Hanging his head in shame, he brings the lantern and canary back to her, but she relents in accepting them, stating that he had earned to keep them for aiding her in the past, and taking them away from him would be selfish on her part.
A smirk crept up the dwarf's cheek. Then I guess we're both ending on good terms, he stated, and disappeared from her presence forever.