Grimm Brothers Collection
By the side of a wood, in a country a long way off, ran a fine stream of water; and upon the stream there stood a mill. The miller’s house was close by, and the miller, you must know, had a very beautiful daughter. She was, moreover, very shrewd and clever; and the miller was so proud of her, that he one day told the king, who used to come and hunt in the wood, that his daughter could spin gold out of straw.
Now this king was very fond of money; and when he heard the miller’s boast, his greediness was raised, and he sent for the girl to be brought before him. Then he led her to a chamber in his palace where there was a great heap of straw, and gave her a spinning-wheel, and said, ‘If you care for your life, all this must be spun into gold before morning.’ It was in vain that the poor maiden said that it was only a silly boast of her father, for that she could do no such thing as spin straw into gold: the chamber door was locked, and she was left alone.
She sat down in one corner of the room, and began to cry; when on a sudden the door opened, and a droll-looking little man hobbled in, and said, ‘Good morrow to you, young lady; what are you weeping for?’ ‘Alas!’ she cried, ‘I must spin this straw into gold, and I don’t know how.’
‘What will you give me,’ said the hobgoblin, ‘to do it for you?’