Scandinavian Folklore and Folktales #2: The Girl Who Could Spin Gold

One of the most popular folktale is the one about Rumplestilskin. It was made famous as a story by the Grimm Brothers. But as with most folktales, there are versions from many different countries – they are put in a category called “Name of the Helper” by University of Pittsburgh’s Folk and Fairy-Tale Site. In Italy there is the story of Tarandandò; in Hungary there is Winterköbl, in Scotland is one of my favorite names – Whuppity Stoorie. There is a Swedish version also called “The Girl Who Could Spin Gold From Clay and Long Straw” featuring Titteli Ture.

This story was found in a book by Benjamin Thorpe called Yule-Tide Stories: A Collection of Scandinavian and North German Popular Tales and Traditions, from the Swedish, Danish, and German (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853).

It starts like this:

There was once an old woman who had an only daughter. The lass was good and amiable, and also extremely beautiful, but at the same time so indolent that she would hardly turn her hand to any work. This was a cause of great grief to the mother, who tried all sorts of ways to cure her daughter of so lamentable a failing. But there was no help. The old woman then thought no better plan could be devised than to set her daughter to spin on the roof of their cottage, in order that all the world might be witness of her sloth. But her plan brought her no nearer the mark. The girl continued as useless as before.

Will the girl get off the roof? Will the old woman learn that putting her child on the roof might not be the best idea in the world? Will the king’s son ride by and see this sight and stop?

You can read the story here: The Girl Who Could Spin Gold from Clay and Long Straw

What’s the Difference Between Folk Tales and Fairy Tales?

So is there a difference between folktales and fairytales? I did some research and learned that folk tales feature the traditional beliefs, legends, and tales of a particular culture or of a group of people passed down orally through stories. Fairy tales, on the other hand, are fanciful and imaginary stories about animals, fairies people, or things having magical powers.

The similarity between the two is that every story has a problem and complications before the difficulty is resolved. The difference is that folk tales require people use their brains to solve the problems while fairy tales require people have magic to help them.

You can find both Nordic folk tales and fairy tales at Ingebretsen’s

Since there is no video of the lesser known The Girl Who Could Spin Gold From Clay and Long Straw, here is a fun Fractured Fairy Tale of Rumplestilskin: