“Business is Business” was an attempt to tell Rumplestiltskin from a perspective that made the fairy tale a fairer tale. I always felt the miller’s daughter in the original tale was a bit too innocent to be believable. Her father lied, the King was greedy, she makes a deal with the gold-spinner, gets what she wants and then regrets it and wants to reneg on the deal. Rumpelstiltskin even gives her a way out; why is he considered a monster? And
why did he want the child in the first place?
Here’s the blurb:
In this fairy-tale taken from a different perspective, an honest craftsman enters into
a business relationship, but soon finds himself ensnared in the machinations of a voluptuous gold-digger. Then she has a child and declares it’s his. No, wait, it’s not quite the way it sounds; this is Rumpelstiltskin we’re talking about. See how things work out – read “Business is Business.”
And here’s this week’s excerpt:
Outbid? No one knows how to spin straw into gold besides me – I’m the last remaining Guild member. Who told the King they can do my work, and for less? Who?
I bet those sneaky little street brats have been spying on me. From now on I keep my shop windows closed.
Miller was the one. I was spinning in my shop, and heard him bragging outside my window, about how his daughter would show them all.
“She’s going to do it tonight in the north tower. If only I’d worked at the palace, I bet I’d know exactly how to sneak in through the service entrance and watch her.”
Well, I used to work for the King’s grandfather. This ought to be good for a laugh; maybe I’ll sneak by and watch her fail.
She was sitting in the middle of a room full of straw, and the pretty thing looked so sad it broke my heart. The girl has grown. She put her head on my shoulder and said “Oh, if only someone would spin this straw into gold, I would be SO grateful.”
I couldn’t let her blowhard of a father get her killed, but it’s against Guild rules to work for free, and she had this pendant looking so pretty hanging where it was, and even though it was below my standard rate, it at least met the minimum to make the magic work, so I said,
“Don’t you worry your pretty little heart. Give me that pendant, and I’ll do my part.”
And she batted those eyes at me and said “Why, you sweet little man!” and gave it to me. Business is business, so I spun out all the gold I could and bid her adieu.
I hate children! I was waiting by the palace gate so I could find out how things went when a group of urchins came after me with sticks, and I had to run for my life. I snuck back in later through the service entrance, and there she was, with even more straw. All this King can think about is gold.
The poor girl was beside herself – and so relieved when I showed up, she threw her arms around my neck (don’t know how the King can even think to threaten her life if she gets a hold of him like that.)
“Oh, thank you, thank you, Spinner”, she rasped, and kissed my cheek before I had a chance to open my mouth. I didn’t even know if I’d be able to help until I took her hand in mine and felt her ring there. Not much to speak of, but enough to satisfy the rules. Business is business.
While I was spinning she kept twisting her hair around her finger and apologizing about putting me out, and that if she only knew how to do it herself she wouldn’t need to trouble me. I had to tell her that she was too old to learn to spin; a person needs to start before they’re two months old.
Along with missing his manhood, the King also lacks a heart. She was racked with sobs as she told me, “He said the third time’s the charm. Spin this last little bit of straw into gold and your worries will be over.”
Last little bit? I didn’t think there was ever so much straw in the kingdom; he must have had it imported.
“Alright, I’ll do it,” I said, and watched as her chest stopped heaving so much. “But you need to give me something special, this time. Otherwise, the charm won’t work.”
I looked her over while she thought about it, then she said “I’ll give you my first-born!”
Not exactly what I was hoping for, but it is a time-honored tradition, and definitely conformed to the rules. It would be a shame to lose such a pretty young thing, and business is business, so I agreed. Besides, I need to find an apprentice soon, or the Guild’s secrets will die with me.
You may think you knew how this story wound up, but do you really? “Business is Business” is a speculative Flash fiction, and is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
It’s also included in the collection Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND:
“Business is Business” is also included in collection The First Three ‘Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND’. (The next ten people who purchase the collection on Smashwords with coupon code XV84M will receive a 33% discount – that’s only $3.34 for EIGHTEEN stories – such a deal!):
Here’s the blurb for Swordsmaster – my first novel (which only took me forty-some years to write):
Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.
The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?
Swordsmaster is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
William Mangieri’s writing, including Cats of War II (a collection of his Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series), can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW – you know you should…), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri