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In “Rumpelstiltskin” a miller’s careless boast that his clever daughter can “spin gold from straw” is forced by the king to make good on this claim. A little man arrives to help the miller’s daughter in exchange for her firstborn child. When the daughter, who by now is the queen, gives birth to a child, the little man comes to collect. He agrees to release the queen from her promise if she can learn the imp’s name. According to researchers at Durham University and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, this story originated around 4,000 years ago.

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