Meaning & History
From German Rumpelstilzchen, possibly from German rumpeln meaning "make noise" and Stelze meaning "stilt", combined with the diminutive suffix -chen. It has been suggested that it was inspired by a children's game Rumpele stilt oder der Poppart mentioned in Johann Fischart's 1577 book Geschichtklitterung. This name was used by the Brothers Grimm in an 1812 fairy tale about a magical little man (Rumpelstiltskin) who saves a miller's daughter in exchange for her firstborn child. In order to undo the deal, she must guess the man's name. The Grimm's story was based upon earlier European folk tales (which have various names for the little man).
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