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graphic by Marcus Del Greco Rumplestiltskin: A Fairy Tale
by Sarah Jane Marschner


(as the play opens we see the MILLER at his dining table looking through a stack of scrolls.)

MILLER:  Bills, bills, nothing but bills: a payment on the cottage, money to the tailor and the soothsayer... hello, what's this? (he opens up one of the scrolls) Come quick, my dear,  look and see.  It's come, it's finally come.

MILLER'S WIFE  (on her entrance):  What is it, you old fool?  What has finally come?

MILLER:  After twenty-five years, an invitation from the king!  I have a personal audience with him tomorrow at four!

WIFE:  Well, just imagine that.  It certainly has been a long wait.  We must make good use of this meeting.  We must impress his majesty and make him remember you.

MILLER:  I do want to be remembered.  But, to be honest my dear, what do I have that is special or unique?  Or different?

MARIA (on entrance after overhearing):  I always thought you were someone very special and unique and different.  Why would you want to be anything more than you are now?

MILLER:  You don't understand, child.  Get with it.  If the king takes notice of me I'll have it all... power, money, honor and no more work.  What a delight it would be.

WIFE:  Days of leisure, rest... we could even entertain.  Travel.

MILLER:  We could go to Bavaria.

MARIA (aside):  I know they'd get malaria.

MILLER:  We could go to New York.

MARIA:  They'd get sick on uncooked pork.

WIFE:  We should travel to Paris.

MARIA:  You'd think I was some kind of heiress.

WIFE:  And I want to see Puerto Rico

MARIA:  But only for a week, so go.

MILLER (meanly):  M-a-r-i-a.

MARIA:  Well Daddy, I think you are being foolish.  We have a good life here.

MILLER:  Be off with you, my child.  To your room, your mother and I have many plans to make.

MARIA:  Think it out again, Daddy.  Why must you try and impress the king?  What's he to you?

MILLER:  You wouldn't understand.  After all, if the king talks to me, we've all got it made... and that means you too.

MARIA:  If being a phony is the price you have to pay, then I don't want any part of it.

MILLER:  You needn't be my conscience, child, now leave us and let us plan.

(MARIA exits)

MILLER:  What would make the king notice me, separate the men from the boys?

WIFE:  I don't know- but we must think of something.

MILLER:  I could tell him we have a chicken with two heads.

WIFE:  You silly, suppose he wanted to see it?  You can't just sew a second head onto old Rhody.

MILLER:   I could tell him I can beat anyone he selects at chess.

WIFE:  You can't even beat me... are you nuts?

MILLER:  I could convince him that I am the seventh son of the seventh son and that I have magical powers.

WIFE:  Certainly, and then he asks you to make his favorite dog sing opera.  What would you do then, maestro?

MILLER:  He could ask just about anything... we must have a plan.

WIFE:  I'm way ahead of you.  I read yesterday in the Court Crier that our beloved king is going to marry again.  What do you make of that?

MILLER:  Foolish woman, what should I make of it?  Nothing, that's what.

WIFE:  You're not thinking,  Who do you know that could marry the king?  Think.

MILLER:  Oh no, dear, I won't give you up, not even for a king.  I won't let you do it.

WIFE:  I'm not talking about me, I am talking about our daughter, the light of our lives, our comfort in our old age.  Maria.

MILLER:  Our daughter.  I love her very much but let's face it, she's not queen material.  What can she offer?

WIFE:  We'll just have to find something that the king will go for.  And since we're talking about it, I have just had a brainstorm.  Come here.

(at the end of this line, the couple gets their heads together and whisper, formulating their plan.)


(this scene takes place in the throne room of the king's palace.)

KING:  What ho... Friends, I am bored.  I wish I had some excitement around here, something is missing from my life.

PRIME MINISTER:  Your majesty, what is it that you lack, we will do our best to cheer you up.  What is it that you want?

KING:  I don't know, I tell you... I feel restless... ah well, bring on your best cheer-er-uppers and we'll seee what happens.

P.M.:  For your pleasure, sire, here is your court jester to cheer up the palace.  Watch, your majesty, and laugh and enjoy.

(at this point, the jester, who is mute, performs many tricks for the king, who watches unimpressed.)

KING:  No, that's not going to do it.  Blaaah.

P.M.:  No fear, sire, we'll try something else.  Perhaps some delicious food will help your mood.  So let us at least try, Sire... (at the door)  Call in Chef Garibaldi.

CHEF (on entrance): Yes monsiuer, Your Highness... I am ready.  I have heard about your recent disposition and I have put lots of sugar in all of the dishes I made.  Grease your palette, sire, you're in for a treat.  First, the appetizers.

(trays are brought in by the servants and placed before the king.  After the king samples the appetizers he shakes his head in disinterest.)

CHEF:  Too bad, your majesty.  This was my best pate de froie gras.  I must assume that you are now ready for the main course.

KING:  Give it your best shot, Chef.

CHEF:  Here it is, sire.  "Sheekan Shikette."  Directly from the Royal Coup.  This is my specialty.

P.M.:  You are going to love this.

KING:  I hope so for the Chef's sake.

(the king takes a bite and makes a sour face.)

CHEF:  Well, back to the old pastry board.

P.M.:  Chef, the desserts, quickly.

CHEF:  Of course, the desserts.

KING:  I'll look but I won't want.

(the servants bring in the desserts and these too fall flat with the king.)

KING (to the CHEF):  Out...  (to the P.M.) This is silly.  I'm still bored.

P.M.:  How about going on with your regular appointments.

KING:  Why not.

P.M.:  Your first appointment is with a Miller who has been trying to see you for 25 years.  This should provide some amusement for you.

KING:  Show him in.

P.M.:  Presenting our local miller.

MILLER:  Yes, sire, and words cannot describe an honor which is mine this morning.  For you to allow me to come and see your palace... and...

KING:  Cut!  Well, my man, since you have been waiting so long why don't you tell me what we can do for you.

MILLER:  It is just that I have such an admiration for you.  Sire, I wish to offer my services in anything I can do for you.

KING:  Your offer is accepted, well if that is all...

MILLER:  Well, there is one more thing that I wish to tell you.

KING:  Then say it.

MILLER:  It is almost too small to mention.

KING:  Get on with it.

MILLER:  I have a beautiful young daughter, sire, that has a very special talent.

KING ( to the P.M.):  Here we go again, not another beautiful daughter.

MILLER:  Hear me out, sire.  She really is quite special.

KING (to the P.M.):  This ought to be good. (to the MILLER)   What is it that makes her so unique?

MILLER:  I hope you won't think that this is too unimportant, but her special talent might come in useful some day.

KING:  Just tell us what the girl does, my man.

MILLER:  Well since childhood this girl has been able to spin straw into gold.  (he has their attention)

P.M. and KING:  What?

P.M.:  I thought he was going to say that she could play a sonata on the piano.

MILLER:  She can spin gold. 14 carrot......  sometimes 18 carrot, on a good day.

KING:  Bring this girl to me ... where is she ... quick before some jeweler gets wind of this.

P.M.:  This could win you a place in the history books, Your Kingship.  Bring this wench to work at the Palace.

KING (he turns back to MILLER):  Where is she, I should like to meet her.

MILLER:  She is right outside with her mother.  However, she is very shy and does not like to bring attention to her gift.

KING:  We'll see about that.  Prime Minister, go and fetch her.

(the P.M. exits while the court starts to whisper about the special gift that this girl is supposed to have.)

MILLER (after MARIA and her mother enter):  Your Majesty, this is my wife and my daughter, Maria.

KING:  How do you do.  Come here child and let me look at you.

MARIA:  You honor us, sire, by letting us come in and meet you.

KING:  I wanted to meet you, Maria.  I have just heard from your father about your special talent.

MARIA:  What particular talent do you speak of, sir?

MILLER:  Remember, sire, she is very shy and modest.

KING:  No need to hide your light under a bushel. You should be proud of such a gift.

MARIA:  Of what gift do you speak?

MILLER:  Why don't we let her speak with her mother.  Her mother has a way of making her more comfortable around strangers.

KING:  Why of course.  Perhaps your wife could convince her to show off some of her talent.

MILLER'S WIFE:  Of course I can try, she might not be in the right mood though, Sire and that would make things very difficult.

KING:  Do your best, woman.

(The WIFE brings MARIA stage right and speaks to her softly but forcefully with many hand gestures.)

MARIA:  No I won't.

WIFE:  You must.  (runs back to KING)  Just one more minute, your maj.  I will have her back in one moment.

MARIA (as she storms back to the KING):  I don't know what they have told you about me, but whatever it is, please don't pay any attention.

WIFE:  Maria, be quiet.  What we have told the King is for your own good and now he is very interested in you... so don't be rude-

MARIA:  I don't wish to be rude, but...

KING:  Maria, please do as I say, this could mean a great deal for your family.

MARIA:   I don't  understand.

KING:  Here are your plans, we will fill this room with straw.  We will leave and you will have an hour to spin this straw into gold.

MARIA:  What?

KING:  Spin girl, spin.

(The KING exits with the rest of the court.)

(MARIA looks around and shakes her head in depression.)

(Various servants enter with straw and a spinning wheel and a tray with a goblet on it.)

1) Here you are, madame, your spinning wheel.

2) We were told to help you and to hurry about it.

3) The King promised us gold if we were fast.

4) We want to see you spin the straw.

5) Please, for us, now.

MARIA:   No.  I don't want anyone to watch.  Leave me, please.

1) Yes, maam..... Call if you need us.

MARIA (after seeing that she is alone):   What am I to do?  My parents have come up with this scheme and now I have to save them and myself... but how.  I think I am supposed to spin this straw into gold but nobody can do that... nobody.

RUMPLE:  I can.  Just watch me...

MARIA (after having backed away from RUMPLE):   What is this.  What are you, little man.... Go away, you frighten me.

RUMPLE:  I am the only one who can do it.

MARIA:  Oh stop, how can you possibly help me?

RUMPLE:  You were told to spin the straw into gold.  Well I can do it for you.

MARIA:  What nonsense.

RUMPLE:  Not at all, but it will cost you something.  What can you give me for spinning?

MARIA:  If you could do it, I would give you my necklace and it is worth quite a bit.

RUMPLE:  It's a deal...  Stand back.

(At this point, RUMPLE sits at the wheel and starts to spin)

MARIA:  You did it, you're wonderful.  And such a small price to pay for the spinning of this straw.  (she hands him the necklace)

(At this point, we hear the KING and his court entering.)

MARIA:  Quickly, hide please.  Let the king think that I did the spinning.  Don't give away the secret.

RUMPLE:  I'll let you get away with it, this time.

(the KING enters)

KING:  By George, you have done it, I can't believe my eyes.

MARIA:  I am very glad you're pleased, sire, I am tired and I think I would like to go home now with my family.

KING:  I wouldn't hear of it.  You are too remarkable.  As a matter of fact, just to keep you around, I shall make you my wife.  Yes, I will marry you.  But you must first prove yourself a second time.

MARIA:  How?

KING:  You shall spin more straw.  I will have it brought in.  Don't sleep until you have spun it all for your King.  On with your work.

(the KING leaves and the servants appear with more straw.  MARIA winks at RUMPLE.)

1)  Here is more straw, my dear.
2)  Heaven help the working girl.
3)  Look... she really can do it.
4)  A wonderful girl.
5)  I think the King said something about making her his wife.
6)  What a great, and rich, Queen she would be.
1)  We'll let you get to your work, Miss.

(they exit)

MARIA:  Little funnny-looking men, please come back.

RUMPLE:  I'm here, I heard everything.

MARIA:  Then you must know how important it is for me and my family for you to help us again.

RUMPLE:  No problem, but it will cost a little more for my help, this time.

MARIA:  I'll do anything, please, it is for my father and my mother that I am asking.

RUMPLE:  Fine with me.  Now what can you give me for my help?

MARIA (after some thought):  I am not at all sure I have anything I can give you.  I have nothing.

RUMPLE:  Let's think about what you will have someday.  The King is going to marry you.  You'll be worth something when you're King.  So will your princesses and princes.

MARIA:  What can I give you then?

RUMPLE:  Your first born child.

MARIA:  What?

RUMPLE:  You heard me, boy or girl.

MARIA:  This is too much to ask.

(we hear the KING about to re-enter.)

RUMPLE:  You'd better decide quickly... here he comes.

MARIA:  I agree to everything, but you haven't won this whole battle yet, you ugly, horrible little man.

(the scene is the wedding of MARIA and the KING.  Before the wedding we see MARIA and her Lady in Waiting talking in the corner stage right.)

MARIA:  Who would have thought so many years ago that I would be marrying the King today?

ELIZABETH:  Your wedding is an example to all working girls.

MARIA:  Beth, I would like to be honest with you, may I.

BETH:  Of course, your almost majesty.

MARIA:  There are times when I wish that I was just one of the working girls that you speak of.

BETH:  Don't say that, why you are special and different and unique.

MARIA:  I am not all that special and unique and different as all that.  I'm really just a plain ordinary girl, just like yourself.

BETH:  Not wishing to be rude, madame, but I was never able to spin straw into gold, that's quite a trick, you know.

MARIA:  Can you keep a secret... I mean really keep a secret.

BETH:  I won't tell a living soul, what is it?

(we can tell that BETH is the kind of person that would love to tell anyone any secret.)

MARIA:  Oh.  I must tell someone or I swear that I will burst.  You see, I never really could do it.

BETH:  Never could do what?

MARIA:  It was really this funny looking man.  Little and old.

BETH:  If I were you, I wouldn't tell the King about a funny looking old man, just keep your old boyfriends to yourself.

MARIA:  You don't understand at all.

BETH:  No, I'm afraid I don't.  Why don't you start from the beginning.

MARIA:  Well, my mother and father were all set to impress the King, but they didn't have anything to impress him with.

BETH:  They had you.

MARIA:  That's just it.  They didn't have me.  They made It up.  I could never spin straw from gold.  They just said I could.

BETH:  But I saw the gold when you were finished.  You did it all right.

MARIA:  No, it was the little odd man.  He came and helped me.  I couldn't have done it alone.

BETH:  Well where is the little old man now?  What happened to him?

MARIA:  He disappeared before I had a chance to thank him.  I turned my head and he was gone.

BETH:  My advice to you then is keep your mouth closed.  I wouldn't mention this strange thing to anyone.  Let them think thatit was all your doing.

MARIA:  I'm afraid that I must.  I would like to tell my future husband the King though.  He really should know my secret.

BETH:  He would never marry you if you did.

MARIA:  I think he would, he is a good man and he is very fond of me now.

BETH: ??????????????????????????

(the lights come up on center stage and MARIA and BETH leave the stage to join a procession that is coming through the theatre.  All of the characters are involved in this procession and they march to the front of the theatre and onstage.)

PRIME MINISTER:  It is my duty and my pleasure today tp perform the wedding ceremony of Maria, the Miller's daughter, to our beloved King.  Will everyone please take their places.

(the procession breaks up and MARIA and the KING are center stage with their backs to the audience.)

P.M.:  Do you have anything to add before we go on with the ceremony, Your Highness?

KING:  At first, everyone, I wish to marry Maria because of her special talent but I have become very fond of her now, and I want to announce, here before all my court that I am pleased to be marrying Maria.  She's going to be a fine Queen.

THE CROWD:  Three cheers for Queen Maria, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah.

P.M.:  Well if that is all, I guess there's nothing left but to pronounce you King and wife.  I hope you live together in love and honesty.  (this word makes MARIA very upset)

(the procession leaves out the back of the theatre.  All of a sudden we see RUMPLESTILTSKIN and his band of men and women appear out from behind the flats.  RUMPLE stands center stage and laughs, then motions for his men and women to follow him.  Blackout.  This next scene is in the woods around RUMPLE'S cave.  He is talking to his band of people.)

RUMPLE:  It has been years since the King and Maria have married.  I have now had the best news.  Queen Maria is going to have a baby.

THE BAND:  Yeah.

A)  Hey, wait a minute... big deal.

B)  Yeah, what's the hubbub about?

C)  What's it to us if she has a baby?

RUMPLE:  I'll tell you what's it to us.

A)  You better hurry up.

RUMPLE:  Okay, okay, here's the story.  The baby that Maria has will be ours.

A)  What do you mean ours?

RUMPLE:  Ours to keep and to care for.  The baby is going to come to live with us.

C)  How do you figure that?

RUMPLE:  Let's just say that I helped out Maria once and she owes me a favor.  Do you want the kid or not?

THE BAND:  Well of course we do.

B)  What will we have to do for the baby.

RUMPLE:  There will be a great to do when the baby gets here, but first I need your help in another way.

A)  Just tell us.

B)  We'll do anything.

C)  How can we help.

RUMPLE:  We must build a place for the child, a warm house and a tiny little bed.

A)  Simple.

B)  We can do that.

C)  Let's go.

RUMPLE:  Before we can do that, though, we might have a little party to celebrate.

C)  I'm for that.

RUMPLE:  On with the celebration then.


(this scene takes place in MARIA'S room at the castle.  She is looking into a trunk about to lift something out.)

(BETH enters.)

BETH:  You musn't lift anything heavy when you are expecting.

MARIA:  I feel fine, just fine.

BETH:  I'm sure you do and no wonder when you are expecting your first born child.

(there is a strong reaction from MARIA.  She remembers RUMPLE.)

MARIA:  What did you say?

BETH:  I said that it is a perfect time in your life, your first born child is on its way.

MARIA:  Oh Beth, I forgot.... the horrible little man, what will I do?

BETH:  You're not making sense again, your majesty.  Breath deep and start again.

(MARIA is speechless and tries to act out her scene with RUMPLE as if she were playing charades.)

BETH:  Slow down.  (to audience)  Do you understand what she is trying to tell me?

(after the audience reacts, BETH asks them to be quiet again and turns back to MARIA as if she understands now.)

BETH:  Is that all?  By this time the little old man has forgotten your promise or he doesn't know you are to have a baby.

MARIA:  Oh I hope you're right... Do you think so?

BETH:  Of course, now dry your eyes.  (a knock at the door)  Come in.

(RUMPLE enters)

RUMPLE:  Well, Maria, long time, no see.

MARIA:  That is the horrible little man I told you about.

BETH:  Have no fear, Madam...  (she begins to chase RUMPLE with a broom.  He outruns her and laughs.)

BETH:  Let me get my hands on you.

RUMPLE:  Never, because I am...  (he almost says his name)

BETH:  I don't care who you are.  Out.

MARIA:  Don't let him hurt you, Beth.

RUMPLE:  I am not going to hurt anyone.  I am here for the child.

MARIA:  The child has not been born yet.

BETH:  And you'll never get it when it is born.

RUMPLE:  I can and I will.

MARIA:  Give me one more chance, I beg you.

BETH:  Don't you beg from the likes of him.

MARIA:  Hush, Beth.

RUMPLE:  To show you I am not a meany, I will give you one more chance.

MARIA:  I'll do anything, anything at all.

RUMPLE:  Here's the deal.  If you can guess my name by tomorrow night at midnight I will let you keep your baby.

MARIA:  This sounds too good to be true.  Is it

(after each of these names, RUMPLE shakes his head no...)

BETH:  Don't you worry, you varmint... we'll know your name by tomorrow night.

RUMPLE:  See that you do or the baby is mine... you made a promise.

BETH:  As I said before: out.

(RUMPLE exits)

BETH:  We must think quickly.

MARIA:  I must have a list of every possible name there is.  Where shall I get such a list?

BETH:  I will.  Back to bed with you.

(she ushers MARIA out.)



(this scene returns to RUMPLE'S cave; all of his men and women are there.)

(RUMPLE enters)

A)  Well, where's the kid?

B)  Did you bring the baby with you?

RUMPLE:  Relax, the baby's not even born yet.

C)  Oh nuts.

RUMPLE:  Gather around, there is something you must do for me.

(they gather)

A)  What is it?

RUMPLE:  I hate to admit it, but I made a little deal of my own with Maria.

B)  What did you do that for?

RUMPLE:  She got the better of me.  Here it is, she can keep the baby if she guesses my name before tomorrow night.

C)  That's not so bad.

(illegible stage direction)

(illegible dialogue)

A)  That's not so bad.

B)  Not to mention your name, huh.  But it's a nice name.

RUMPLE:  If you want the baby to come here and keep us company, you won't mention my name nice or not.

C)  Got it.

RUMPLE:  And after tomorrow, I can tell the world that I, RUMPLESTILTSKIN, have the Queen Maria's baby.

C)  Great boss.

RUMPLE:  After tomorrow
                    MY NAME IS RUMPLESTILTSKIN
                    AND NO ONE COULD BE PROUDER
                    AND IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME
                    I'LL YELL A LITTLE LOUDER

(the whole scene breaks up into this chant with all of the merry men joining in.)

(after all of the merry people drop off, BETH crosses the stage and winks at the audience.)


(back at MARIA'S room at the Palace.)

BETH:  And so, your Highness, his name is Rumplestiltskin, I heard him say it myself.

MARIA:  You shall be rewarded for this, my dear friend.

BETH:  I just want to see the look on his face when you tell him his name.

MARIA:  It won't be long...  (the door opens and RUMPLE appears)

RUMPLE:  Well, your Queenship... let's have it.  Have you come up with my name?

MARIA:  I have thought all night.  Is it

(RUMPLE shakes his head no)

MARIA:  Could it be Rumplestiltskin?

RUMPLE:  Who told?  Who was it?  (to audience) Was it you?  (after the audience says yes or no)  Who told?

MARIA:  Hush, you have lost your bet.  Now behave, my husband the King is coming.

(the KING and his court enter)

KING:  Well, my dear, who have we here?  What is this strange creature visiting you?

RUMPLE:  My name is Rumplestiltskin, and no one would be prouder, and if you don't believe me, I'll yell a little louder.

KING:  Enough.

MARIA:  My dear, this is my cousin from the next kingdom.  Do you suppose there is some land that he and his friends could farm in our kingdom?  I would love to have him near me.  (she winks at RUMPLE and motions for him to be quiet)

Sarah Jane Marschner has been teaching theatre at the University of New Hampshire for many years and specializes in musical theatre. She recently [1999] became director of the Little Red Wagon traveling children's theatre troupe of UNH. She has directed, acted, and taught in the Seacoast area for decades.



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