My Brother, Rumpelstiltskin

Submitted into Contest #79 in response to: Write about someone who decides it’s time to cut ties with a family member.... view prompt

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Fantasy Drama Sad

Never, under any circumstances, meddle in the affairs of humans. Humans are unpredictable, mischievous, and violent. If we ever see a human or if a human sees us, what do we do? Hide or runaway. 

Under no circumstances are we to make deals with humans. If a human is desperate, they become stupid and will say yes to anything. A human's word is useless. Once their desperation ends, they either wise up and demand more, or they break their part of the contract entirely. 

Finally, unless it is an emergency or a life-or-death situation, magic should never be used on humans. When magic is performed on humans, they become angry, then scared, and then violent. There’s no denying that magic can be a useful form of defense. For example, I have relatives in Scotland who use magic on humans greedy enough to rob their buckets filled with gold. Can you imagine stealing someone’s livelihood, just because it’s in an open field? The nerve of some humans.

These are the rules of all magical folk. These rules have preserved us for generations. We don’t mess with humans, and they don’t mess with us. Leave it to my brother and only living relative, Rumpelstiltskin, to break every single rule! He got in so much trouble with the humans that not even I could save him.

My brother had always been a trouble maker, even when he was a wee one. He first caused havoc among us magical folk by turning himself invisible, walking through walls, and pulling people's pants down with magic. Once he got bored of magical folk, he turned to humans for his pranks. 

I warned him not to. I reminded him of the three rules, but did he listen? No. He would go out and find any human of his choosing and proceeded to make their day a nightmare. Everything from sealing doors shut, removing the wheels off of carts, to letting farm animals loose. I thought I could keep his pranks on the humans a secret. After all, these pranks were mostly harmless, and he never got himself caught. Then one day, everything changed and not for the better. 

He burst through my door one morning and screamed at the top of his lungs. 

“Brother! You never guess what I did last night!” 

“Will you quiet down?” I asked him. It was barely the crack of dawn. I had a full workday ahead of me. Plus, his frantic screaming would wake up the entire village. 

He finally calmed himself down and proceeded to tell me the entire story. 

“Well, see there’s this wealthy human who lives in a mansion completely made of wood and stone,” he began. “He calls himself a king, I believe. I found out all the humans worship him and follow his every command.” 

“Don’t tell me you pulled a prank on this ‘king’ fellow,” I told him. 

“Hush up and let me finish,” my brother insisted. “The king only cares about gold and how other people with fancy clothes see him. Well, I’m walking through the walls of his mansion, to scope out the area, and then I see her! Locked away in a chamber full of straw is a beautiful woman! Probably the prettiest human I’ve ever seen!” 

“Is there a point to his story, or can I go back to bed?” I yawned. 

“Stop interrupting me!” he demanded. “Anyway, I see her crying, and I ask her why she's so upset.” 

“You talked to a human?” I was fully awake now, furious over how my brother’s disrespect for not only his safety but the safety of our village. “Tell me it isn’t so! Tell me you speak in jest!”

“No, my brother,” he replied. “I tell the truth. I asked her why she was crying, and she told me how her father lied to the king, saying that she could spin hay into gold. To put her to the test, the king locked her in the room and told her to spin all the hay into gold. If she failed, the king said he would condemn her to death.”

“Then you said goodbye and vanished out of her sight,” I said. “Right? Right?”

“Actually, I made a deal with her.”

“You what?” 

“Relax,” he told me. “It wasn’t that bad. I promised to turn all the hay into gold for her as long as she gave me something in return. And wouldn’t you know what she did? She gave me this!”

He pulled out gold necklaces with a gold heart in the middle. 

“Apparently, her dead mother gave it to her as a birthday present. Imagine that!” 

“Well, you can give it back to her right now!” I said, storming out of bed.

“I can’t,” he said, wiping the golden necklace back into his pocket. 

“Why not?”

“Because I’ve already kept my end of the bargain.”

My eyes widened. “You didn’t!”

“I did! I transformed all the hay into gold!”

He couldn’t bear to hold in his laughter any longer, though I failed to see the humor of it all. Maybe it’s because my own flesh in blood brother broke all three rules in one night! 

“Imagine the look on their faces when they all see the entire room filled with strands of gold!” he said, nearly running out of breath. 

“Hilarious,” I rolled my eyes. 

“I think I’ve outdone myself, to be honest,” he wiped a tear from his eyes. “The king’s going to look so baffled to see that one of his subjects has magical powers; the girl’s father won’t believe his lie actually came true, and the girl will believe that I’m her savior!” 

“Well, I’m glad you enjoyed yourself,” I said, snatching a few bowls from the cupboard. “Promise me you’ll never return to that king or that girl ever again!” 

“Oh, come on brother. Don’t be such a stick in the mud.”

“I mean it! It’s a miracle you weren’t foolish enough to lead them to this very village. Promise me brother, or I’ll report you to the village authorities myself!” 

My brother lowered his head. 

“Fine,” he growled. “I promise never to return to the king or the girl ever again.” 

With my mind finally, at ease, I went to prepare for breakfast. I thought my brother would keep his word, that the whole thing wouldn’t get any worse. To my dismay, I learned how little my brother’s word meant.

The next day, I woke up at the crack of dawn to a peaceful bedroom. If I’d known what would transpire, I would have taken it as the calm before the storm instead of believing everything was right with the world.

I walked into the kitchen only to see my brother sitting at the table. He grinned from ear to ear. He had gone through the trouble of making breakfast and setting up the table. 

“What is it?” I asked him. I knew my brother never acted kindly unless he wanted something. 

“Nothing,” he lied. 

I lifted an eyebrow, and that was enough for him to confess.

“You know when I promised you to never prank the king and the girl ever again?” he said with a wince. “Well…”

“You didn’t!”

“I did! I just couldn't resist. At first, I just wanted to see the result of my handiwork. But when I saw the king wanted the girl to turn more hay into gold, I thought, why not? Every masterpiece needs an encore, no? So, I turned the hay into the gold, and I got this for my hard work.” 

He held out a bracelet made completely made out of diamonds. 

“Apparently this little thing has been in her family for generations,” he added. 

I snatched the bracelet out of his hands. My brother’s expression went from happiness to pure shock. “What was that about?” 

“You gave me your word you wouldn’t return to the king or the girl ever again!” I told him. I rushed towards him, ready to pounce on him. I wasn’t too worried about him seeping through the floor or the wall, my hands and body would go through with him.

“Wha-what are you doing?” my brother slowly walked back to the door. 

“You might not have kept your word, but I certainly will!” I yelled as I toppled over him. He tried to faze through the floor. When I fazed with him, he tried turning invisible, which gave him no advantage in the slightest. The dirt and mud underneath the floorboard clung to his back, making him easier to see. Even when he used his magic to send me flying above the floor, I used my magic to haul him upward. My brother underestimated me, a mistake he wouldn’t make again.  

I subdued my brother, turned him into the authorities, and presented his guilt to the whole community. They locked him in the pit known as the Cavumn Nigrum. The pit was notorious for siphoning away any and all kinds of magic from magical beings. This meant no matter how hard my brother tried he could not use his magical powers to escape. 

Everyone in the village, including me, thought my brother’s mischievous ways were over, for good. Eleven blissful months passed, but then news of a disturbing event that shook the entire village to its core. For the first time Cavumn Nigrum's entire history, everyone inside escaped! The authorities were able to find all of the offenders that escaped, except for one. 

RUMPELSTILTSKIN 

WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE

My brother, a fugitive, and on a Wanted Poster! I couldn’t believe it! The authorities said he and the rest of the scoundrels used the stones, roots, and crevasses to climb up to the bars, poke their hands through, regained their magical abilities, and escaped. The authorities asked me if I had any idea where my brother was. At first, I didn’t have a clue. It was a long time since I last spoke to him, and I had more important things to think about at the time. But after a few nights, I woke up in a cold sweat and knew exactly where he was. 

Turned out the building where the king lived wasn’t that far away from the village. The authorities surrounded the area in hopes of catching my brother. I volunteered to aid them in my brother’s capture. They granted my request and placed me on the east side of the building. 

I waited for hours and hours. I almost fell asleep, but then I heard movement in the bushes. Could it be him? I stood up straight, ready to grab him. To my surprise, it wasn’t my brother, but a pretty human female. She was the prettiest thing I have ever seen. She wore a beautiful blue dress that glimmered like diamonds in the night sky. Was this the lady my brother talked about? 

I soon noticed the tears running down her face. She cried so much I nearly broke all three rules to comfort her, but I restrained myself at the last second. 

“Oh, dear God!” she said, pressing her hands together. “Please tell me the name of the creature who stole my baby!”

I was shocked! My brother, stealing a baby? He couldn’t, he wouldn’t, he’d never, but he did! I couldn’t believe it, nor could I understand what my flesh-and-blood brother was doing. I was in such a rage I could feel my blood literally boil. The only thing calming me down was the lady’s heart-wrenching tears. 

“I just need a name, dear God,” she begged. “Just a name that’s all I ask.” 

Her eyes were closed. She wouldn’t see me even if I stood right in front of her. I didn’t know why she wanted to know my brother’s name, but I bet it had to do something with the baby. I took a deep breath. I was going to break the rules, for the first and hopefully last time. I leaned into her ear and whispered, “Rumpelstiltskin.” 

She gasped. A smile came across her face. Her tears were no longer that of sadness but of joy.

“Oh, thank you, dear Lord, thank you!” she said. Opening her eyes, she turned around and left for the king’s building. I waited the rest of the night, but nothing else happened. At the crack of dawn, a magical fellow came in and said he was replacing me for the time being. I thanked him and walked back to my home. There was nothing I wanted more in the world than to collapse on my comfortable bed. 

 was just about to open the door when I heard someone crying inside. 

“Shhhh...shhh…” said a voice. “Quiet, please, quiet!

My eyes widened. My brain was too foggy to make up a plan on the spot but I could feel the anger boiling over again. With nothing else to go on except for my rage, I opened the door. 

There he was, standing at my table covered in dirt and soot. His eyes looked like they were about to explode. On the floor laid the baby, and it was astounding how it looked just like its mother. 

“It’s over, brother,” I told him. “You got nowhere to hide, nowhere to run.”

“Listen, maybe we can work out some deal,” he said, sweat pouring down his face. 

“Why the child?” I asked him. 

“She didn’t have any more jewelry left, so she gave me her child instead,” he quickly explained. “Now brother, if you calm down, I’m sure we can come to some agreement.”

“Take the child, return it to its mother, and never come back here again,” I told him. “How does that sound?”

“I’m afraid it’s not that simple,” he said, his voice quivering.”You see, I promised the lady I would only give her child back if she could correctly guess my name in two weeks. She’s never going to get it right even if she tried.” 

“Oh, so now your word means something?” 

“Brother, please! Just give me one more chance. I’m in too much trouble as it is. I didn’t mean to take the child. It was just only thing she had left to offer.” 

“I’ve given you enough chances,” I said sternly. “How do you reward me? You not only break all of our rules but break the human rules as well.” 

I pointed to the door and glared at him. 

“Get out! And never come back!” I shouted. 

With his head sagging to the floor, he picked up the baby. I watched him slowly walk out of my house and into the forest. He paused only for a moment to look back at me. I could see the tears in his eyes shimmer in the light of the moon, but I did not budge. He sighed and faced the forest again. That was the last time I saw my brother. 

I bet he would have been relieved once he found out the lady actually knew his name. He would no longer be responsible for the child he stole. I guess that was the last nice thing I ever did for him. 

Call me a stonecold, heartless, and hateful brother, I don’t care. Cutting ties with my only flesh-in-blood brother felt like it was the right thing to do, and there’s nothing you can do to change my mind. 

February 03, 2021 19:53

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1 comment

Jackie Palm
21:26 Feb 10, 2021

This was such a clever idea to rewrite a well known tale from a different perspective! Very creative!

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