Some children are discovered playing “ladder words” changing one word to another, a single letter at a time, retaining an actual word each time. Grettle says that she can turn flax into gold. Unfortunately the King, whose gold has been mysteriously disappearing, hears this and mistakes it for an actual boast. He orders Grettle to work the change for real or she will lose her head, despite the protests of the Prince who is in love with her. She is shut in the tower to perform her task and the gnome, Rumpelstiltskin appears and offers to help her – at a price. He will help her but in return she must hand over her first born child. The years pass and Grettle and the Prince marry and have a child. The gnome reappears to claim his “prize” but Grettle is reluctant to hand over her baby. A deal is therefore struck, if Grettle can guess HIS name he will go away never to return. The story then follows the defeat of the gnome by guessing his name despite interference from the wicked Baron and his henchmen. But as in all things panto, the tale ends happily.