Star Money

Once upon a time there was a girl whose father and mother were dead, and she was so poor that she no longer had anywhere to live or a bed to sleep in – nothing but the clothes she was wearing and a little bit of bread in her hand, which some charitable person had given to her. But she was good and honest.

As she was abandoned by all the world, she went forth into the open country, trusting in the good God to provide for her. A poor man met her, who said, “Give me something to eat, I am so hungry!” She gave him her whole piece of bread, saying, “May God bless it to your use,” and went onwards. Then along came a boy who moaned, “My head is so cold, give me something to cover it.” She took off her hood and gave it to him. When she had walked a little further, she met another child who had no jacket and was frozen cold. She gave the child her jacket. A little further on she met a child begging for a dress, so she gave her Dress away also.

At length it became dark and she walked into a forest, where she met yet another child, who asked for a shirt. The good poor girl thought to herself, “It is dark night and no one can see you, so you can give your undershirt away.” She took it off, and gave it away.

Now she didn’t have a single thing left. As she stood in the darkness without anything, some stars from heaven fell down, and they turned out to be hard, smooth, shiny coins, and a new shirt of the finest linen.

She gathered the coins into the front of the shirt, and was rich all the days of her life.


In a certain kingdom once lived a poor miller who had a very beautiful daughter. She was, moreover, exceedingly shrewd and clever; and the miller was so vain and proud of her, that he one day told the king of the land that his daughter could spin gold out of straw. now, thins king was very fond of money; and when he heard the miller’s boast, his avarice was excited, and he ordered the girl to be brought before him. Then he lead her to a chamber where there was a great quantity of straw, gave her a spinning wheel, and said, “All this must be spun into gold before morning, as you value your life.”

It was in vain that the poor maiden declared that she could do no such thing, the chamber was locked and she remained alone.

She sat in one corner of the room and began to lament her hard fate, when all of a sudden the door opened, and a droll looking little man hobbled in, and said, “Good morrow to you, my good lass, what are you weeping for?”

“Alas!” Answered she, “I must spin this straw into gold, and I know not how.” 

“What will you give me,” said the little man, “to do it for you?”

“My necklace,” replied the maiden.

He took her at her word and set himself down to the wheel; round about it merrily, and presently the work was done and the gold all spun.

When the king came and saw this, he was greatly astonished and pleased; but his heart grew still more greedy of gain, and he shut up the poor miller’s daughter again with a fresh task. Then she knew not what to do, and sat down once more to weep; but the little man presently opened the door, and said, “What will you give me to do your task?”

“The ring on my finger,” replied she. So her little friend took the ring, and began to work at the wheel, till by the morning all was finished again.

The king was vastly delighted to see all this glittering treasure; but still he was not satisfied, and took the miller’s daughter into a yet larger room, and said, “All this must be spun tonight; and if you succeed you shall be my queen.”

As soon as she was alone the dwarf came in, and said, “What will you give me to spin gold for you this third time?”

“I have nothing left,” said she.

“Then promise me,” said the little man, “your fist child when you are queen.”

“That may never be,” thought the miller’s daughter; and as she knew no other way to get her task done, she promised him what he asked, and he spun once more the whole heap of gold. The king came in the morning, and finding all he wanted, married her, and so the miller’s daughter really became a queen.

At the birth of her first little child the queen rejoiced very much, and forgot the little man and her promise; but one day he came into her chamber and reminded her of it. Then she grieved sorely at her misfortune, and offered him all the treasures of the kingdom in exchange; but in vain, till at last her tears softened him, and he said, “I will give you three days’ grace, and if during that time you tell me my name, you shall keep your child.”

Now the queen lay awake all night, thinking of all the odd names that she had ever heard, and dispatched messengers all over the land to inquire after new ones. The next day the little man came, and she began with Timothy, Benjamin, Jeremiah, and all the names she could remember; but to all of them he said, “That’s not my name.”

The second day she began with all the comical names she could hear of, Bandy-legs, Hunch-back, Crook-shanks, and so on, but the little gentleman still said to every one of them, “That’s not my name.”

The third day came back one of the messengers, and said, “I can hear of no one other name; but yesterday, as I was climbing a high hill among the trees of the forest where the fox and the hare bid each other good night, I saw a little hut, and before the hut burnt a fire, and round about the fire danced a funny little man upon one leg, and sung,

“Merrily the feast I’ll make,

Today I’ll brew, tomorrow bake;

Merrily I’ll dance and sing,

For next day will a stranger bring;

Little does my lady dream,

Rumpel-Stilts-Kin is my name!”

When the queen heard this, she jumped for joy, and as soon as her little visitor came and said, “Now lady, what is my name?”

“Is it John?” Asked she.


“Is it Tom?”


“Can your name be Rumpel-Stilts-Kin!”

“Some witch told you that! Some horrible witch told you that!” Cried the little man, and dashed his right foot in a rage so deep into the floor, that he was forced to lay hold of it with both hands and pull it out. Then he made the best of his way off, while everybody laughed at him for having had all his trouble for nothing.



Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had long, but to no avail, wished for a child. Finally the woman came to believe that the Good Lord would fulfil her wish. Thought the small rear winder of their house, they could see into a splendid garden that was filled with the most beautiful flowers and herbs. The garden was surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared enter, because it belonged to a sorceress who possessed great power and was feared by everyone. 

One day the woman was standing at this window, and she saw a bed planted with the most beautiful lettuce. It looked so fresh and green that she longed for some. It was her greatest desire to eat some of that lettuce. This desire increased every day, and not knowing how to get any, she became miserably ill. 

Her husband was frightened, and asked her, “What ails thee, dear wife?” 

“Oh,” she answered, “ If I do not get some lettuce from the garden behind our house, I shall die!”

The man, who loved her dearly, thought, “Before you let your wife die, you must get her some of that lettuce, whatever the cost.” 

So, just as it was getting dark, he climbed over the high wall into the sorceress’ garden, hastily dug up a handful of lettuce, and took Ito to his wife. She immediately made a sale from it, which she devoured eagerly. It tasted so good to her that by the next day her desire for more had grown threefold. If she were to have any peace, the man would have to climb into the garden once again. Thus he set forth once again, just as it was getting dark. But no sooner had he climbed over the wall then, to his horror, he saw the sorceress standing there before him. 

“How can you dare,” she asked with an angry look, “ to climb into my garden and like a thief to steal my lettuce? You will pay for this.”

“Oh,” he answered, “ Let mercy overrule justice. I came to do this out of necessity. My wife saw your lettuce from our window, and such a longing came over her that she would die if she did not get some to eat.”

The sorceress’ anger abated somewhat, and she said, “If things are as you say, I will allow you to take as much lettuce as you want, but under one condition: you must give me the child that your wife will bring to the world. It will do well, and I will take care of it like a mother.”

In his fear the man agreed to everything. 

When the woman gave birth, the sorceress appeared, named the little girl Repunzel, and took her away. Repunzel became the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old, the sorceress locked her in a tower that stood in a forest and that had neither a door, nor a stairway, but only a tiny little window at the top. 

When the sorceress wanted to enter, she stood below and called out:

“Repunzel, Repunzel, 

Let down your hair to me.”

Repunzel had splendid long hair, as fine as spun gold. When she heard the sorceress’ voice, she untied her braids, wound them around a window hook, let her hair fall twenty yards to the ground, and the sorceress climbed up it. 

A few years later it happened that a kings son was riding through the forest. As he approached the tower he heard a song so beautiful that he stopped to listen. It was Repunzel, who was passing the time by singing with her sweet voice. The prince wanted to climb up to her, and looked for a door in the tower, but none was to be found. 

He rode home, but the song had so touched his heart that he returned to the forest every day and listened to it. One time, as he was standing behind a tree he saw the sorceress approach, and heard her say:

“Repunzel, Repunzel, 

Let down your hair to me.”

The Repunzel let down her strands of hair and the sorceress climbed up to her. 

“If that is the ladder into the tower then sometime I will try my luck.”

And the next day, just as it was beginning to get dark, he went to the tower and called out:

“Repunzel, Repunzel, 

Let down your hair to me.”

The hair fell down and the prince climbed up.

At first Repunzel was terribly frightened, when a man such as she had never seen before came into her tower. However, the prince began talking to her in a very friendly manner, telling her that his heart had been so touched by her singing that he could have no peace until he had seen her in person. Then Repunzel lost her fear and when he asked her if she would take him as her husband, she thought, “He would rather have me then would old Frau Gothel.” She said yes and placed her hand in his.

She said, “I would go with you gladly, but I do not know how to get down. Every time that you come, bring a strand of silk, from which I weave a ladder. When it is finished I will climb down, and you can take me away on your horse.” They arranged that he would come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day. 

The sorceress did not notice what was happening until one day Repunzel said to her, “ From Gothel, tell me why it is that you are more difficult to pull up then is the young prince, who will be arriving any moment now?” 

“You Godless child,” cried the sorceress. “What am I hearing from you? I thought I had removed you from the whole world, but you have deceived me nonetheless.”

In her anger she grabbed Repunzel’s beautiful hair, wrapped it a few times around her left hand, grasped a pair of scissors with her right hand, and snip snap, cut it off. And she was so unmerciful that she took Repunzel into a wilderness where she suffered greatly. 

On the evening of the same day that she sent Repunzel away, the sorceress tied the cut off hair to the hook at the top of the tower, and when the prince called out:

“Repunzel, Repunzel, 

Let down your hair to me.”

She let down the hair.

The prince climbed up, but above, instead of his beloved Repunzel, he found the sorceress, who peered at him with poisonous and evil eyes. 

“Aha!” She cried scornfully. “You have come for your Mistress Darling, but that beautiful bird is no longer sitting in her nest, nor is she singing anymore. The cat got her and will scratch your eyes out as well. You have lost Repunzel. You will never see her again.”

The prince was overcome with grief, and in his despair he threw himself from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns on which he fell poked out his eyes. Blind, he wondered about in the forest, eating nothing but grass and roots, and doing nothing but wearing and wailing over the loss of his beloved. Thus he wondered about miserably for some years, finally happening into the wilderness where Repunzel lived unhappily with the twins she had given birth to. 

He hear a voice and thought it was familiar. He advanced towards it, and as her approached, Repunzel recognised him, and crying, there her arms around his neck. Two of her tears fell into his eyes and they became clear once again, and he could see as well as before. He led her into his kingdom where he was received with joy, and they lived happily ever after.