Rumpelstiltskin is by far our favorite puppet play; it’s easy to perform, familiar to all, enjoyed by adults and children alike – especially the “fireworks.” It’s one of the folktales collected and revised by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Their final version was published in 1857. This is the version we know today.
I often wonder if I were to revise the story, what change I’d make. Since guessing a name as unusual as Rumpelstiltskin is a one-in-a-million shot, I’d replace the guessing with something else, maybe a word puzzle.
The Victorians were big into word puzzles, the most popular being acrostics. Acrostic poems, although not puzzles, are ones in which the first letter of each line, when read vertically, spells the name of a person or place. But there’s no reckoning with a poem, so how about a genuine puzzle? How about an acrostic rebus?
The rebus is tough to solve. It would require Queen Aurelia to decipher the answer to each line or the synonym for the underlined word(s) in the line. The first letter of the answer or synonym when read vertically reveals the name. Solving the puzzle may be difficult, but it puts guessing the name Rumpelstiltskin within the realm of believability.
Here’s the Queen’s challenge. Do you have one?
What’s Nature’s gift that feeds Earth’s streams
The gift that has no rival,
That gives a life to throngs of things
And grants them their survival?
It cools all creatures in the land
Existing with the clouds and sun,
Displays light’s palette as a band
Giving glow when day is done.
But Nature’s gift cannot be borne
When flashes streak across the sky,
When cracking sounds cause tree trunks shorn,
And floods and wind are heard nearby.
Brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles huddle in a basement space
These helpless victims in despair
Find some hope, but who knows where.
Robin and Susan Tafel – 215 441-4154 – https://www.Youtube.com/user/PennsWoodsPuppets.
PHOTO CAP: Acrostics? What are they?