Rumpelstiltskin had been an alchemist. Maggie was sure of it. How else could he have spun the straw into gold? The trick was to find what was his secret - then she would be rich. Maggie threw herself into research. There was not much to go on - the Brothers Grimm's story was short on specifics, but she was sure there was something. A chant maybe, or a spell, or some concoction made up under the new moon or maybe the crescent moon using exotic ingredients, but what?
The only thing that was possibly a hint was the fact that he had danced around the fire on a moonlight night in a remote mountain she assumed was somewhere in Germany, seeing that the story had originated from that region. She ignored the insinuations that Rumpelstiltskin had been an imp or a poltergeist - maybe he was small, but he could have been a dwarf; a human dwarf, not a dwarvish dwarf. A random name translation on wikipedia caught her eye - Pear Stalk seemed quite a random translation in Swedish that there must have been something behind the name. Maggie bought some pears, packed her bags and headed to Germany. As an afterthought, she ordered a novelty spinning wheel and had it sent to the quaint cottage she had rented there.
The place was extremely remote and Maggie felt a little disoriented without her internet connection, but she put a brave face on it as she looked through her check list again. There was straw in the barn and her pear stalks with her, and she made sure that the man that did the place would make a bonfire for her that night. Having all these in place, she wondered how to start. The thing she remembered about alchemists was that they always had a laboratory with bubbling stuff - so she decided to boil the pear stalks. She threw in the pears as well on the basis that even if the stalks did nothing, she might as well end up with pear soup. With that in mind, she put in white fungus, lotus seeds and sugar to taste. Wandering out to the yard, she kept an eye out as as she meandered to the barn. Making sure that no one was around, she stuffed some of the straw into her carryall and hurried back into the house. It wouldn't do for some random person to ask why she was bringing straw into the house.
The pear soup potion was beginning to smell rather nice, so she sat down at the spinning wheel and stared at it. Having never sewn anything in her life other than buttons back on her shirt, she had no idea how the thing worked. Well, for anything there was google and wikipedia, wasn't there? Except that she didn't have wifi and her 3G was too expensive in a foreign country. Anyway, she was definitely smart enough to figure it out on her own.
Several failed attempts to get the spinning wheel working later, Maggie gave up and enjoyed her pear soup. It made her feel much better, especially when enjoying it on a cold night, sitting by the fire. It wasn't Rumpelstiltskin's secret magic potion, but it would do for now.
More information on Rumpelstiltskin found on Wikipedia here.
Actual story found here.
Pear soup recipe found here.
All research today has been powered by google.
Okay, you didn't really need a link for that, did you?
Also, for some odd reason, I'm getting a lot of spam on my Imago Dei post. Why, internet, why? I'm going to stop Anonymous comments for now. Sorry :(