A Curse Dark as Gold

By: Elizabeth C. Bunce


Charlotte and Rosie Miller's father has just died, and they are now left to run the Stirwaters wool mill. The girl's mother died many years ago. Now knowing that their father is gone, and the girls have no parental guidance, many of the other local wool mills, such as Pinchfields, are trying to buy the mill from the Miller girls. The stubborn girls refuse to let go of something that has been in the Millers family for so long, though, and have set their minds to keeping up the family business. Putting a twist to the story, too, is that the Stirwater mill is said to be cursed. Not even their new guardian, Uncle Wheeler, their mam's brother, can convince them to sell the mill. In addition to the other local mills putting bids on the Miller mill, Mr. Woodstone, a man from the bank has told Charlotte that the bank will have to foreclose the mill unless they can pay two thousand pounds at the end of the selling season. Soon after Charlotte and Rosie heard this news, a man who goes by the name of Jack Spinner, has come to the mill and shown the girls that he can turn hay into gold thread at the price of the girls giving up some of their most prized possessions, such as their mam's ring. He is a mysterious man, but is able to accomplish the task. Being able to sell the thread helps to keep the girls from having the mill foreclosed, but something still does not seem right with this strange new man named Jack Spinner. He is so helpful, yet so mysterious.


This story still holds true to the original Rumpelstiltskin story, but definitely is now geared towards a more mature audience. I have only seen this story in it's original fairy tale version, so it was interesting to see how Elizabeth Bunce made the story into her own. I enjoyed how the author made it not just about one girl and Rumpelstiltskin, but rather sisters who work together to make their deals with Rumpelstiltskin. This is not a story about just one helpless girl that is fooled by the tricky Rumpelstiltskin. In this novel, the girls show more power and show that girls can do things for their own, and do not need a man to help them. This idea is also seen when it comes to the help of Uncle Wheeler. Once again, the girls wanted to handle the mill and the finances on their own.

Different authors like to put their own twist on the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

The story of Rumpelstiltskin has been told for all different ages. From children to teens, authors have adapted the story for each different audience.


  • Why do you think the tale of Rumpelstiltskin has now been written with the main characters as two strong headed sisters compared to the original one girl?
  • If you were in Charlotte and Rosie's position, would you have just sold the mill in the beginning?
  • How would this book taking place in a different era or new time frame affect the story overall?
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Rumpelstiltskin in the ABC television series, "Once Upon a Time."

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Rumpelstiltskin in one of the Shrek movies.