Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he had an audience with the King, and in order to make himself appear as a person of importance he said to him, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold.” The King said to the miller, “That is an art which pleases me well; if your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to-morrow to my palace, and I will try what she can do.”
And when the girl was brought to him he took her into a room which was quite full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and a reel, and said, “Now set to work, and if by to-morrow morning early you have not spun this straw into gold during the night, you must die.” Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and left her in it alone. So there sat the poor miller’s daughter, and for the life of her could not tell what to do;she had no idea how straw could be spun into gold, and she grew more
and more miserable, until at last she began to weep.
But all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, and said,
“Good evening, Mistress Miller; why are you crying so?” “Alas!” answeredthe girl, “I have to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how todo it.”
“What will you give me,” said the manikin, “if I do it for
you?” “My necklace,” said the girl. The little man took the necklace, seated himself in front of the wheel, and “whirr, whirr, whirr,” three turns, and the reel was full; then he put another on, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three times round, and the second was full too. And so it went on until the morning, when all the straw was spun, and all the reels were full of gold. By daybreak the King was already there, and when he
saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his heart became only more greedy. He had the miller’s daughter taken into another room full of straw, which was much larger, and commanded her to spin that also in one night if she valued her life.
The girl knew not how to help herself, and was crying, when the door again opened, and the little man appeared,
and said, “What will you give me if I spin that straw into gold for you?” “The ring on my finger,” answered the girl. The little man took the ring, again began to turn the wheel, and by morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.
The King rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but still he had not gold enough; and he had the miller’s daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said, “You must spin this, too, in the course of this night; but if you succeed, you shall be my wife.” “Even if she be a miller’s daughter,” thought he, “I could not find a richer wife in the whole world.”
When the girl was alone the manikin came again for the third time, and said, “What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time also?” “I have nothing left that I could give,” answered the girl. “Then promise me, if you should become Queen, your first child.” “Who knows whether that will ever happen?” thought the miller’s daughter; and, not knowing how else to help herself in this strait, she promised the manikin
what he wanted, and for that he once more span the straw into gold.
And when the King came in the morning, and found all as he had wished, he took her in marriage, and the pretty miller’s daughter became a Queen.
A year after, she had a beautiful child, and she never gave a thought to the manikin. But suddenly he came into her room, and said, “Now give me what you promised.