Once there was a citizenry whose rulers locked her in a tower and demanded she redistribute all her wealth to them in exchange for her life, liberty, and happiness. The citizenry thought all was hopeless, for she had no more wealth to give, but then a strange little man* suddenly appeared. He claimed he could spin pure gold out of worthless straw, had done it time and again and would do so for her, but only if she gave him something valuable in return. Mostly the citizenry thought this sounded ridiculous, but she was desperate and terrified, so accepted the deal anyway.
The little troll* danced and sang with glee; he always made the best deals, and this one was YUGE.
On the first night, the citizenry gave the manikin* her compassion, and in the morning found that the rulers were happy. But they still would not set her free; she had made them wealthy once, so she must do it again.
On the second night, she gave up her belief in truth, and once again the ugly dwarf* gave the rulers what they desired. Still, their greed could not be satisfied and they refused to set the citizenry free.
He would give the rulers everything they ever wanted, but in return, the citizenry must give up the very soul of her being – her constitution.
The citizenry despaired, for she had nothing left to give. That’s when the hobgoblin* made his greatest deal yet: he would give the rulers everything they ever wanted, but in return, the citizenry must give up the very soul of her being – her constitution.
A year later, the comical little man* returned to claim his due. The citizenry did not want to pay such a high price; her founding principles were all she had left, and besides – since being let out of the tower she had found that freedom wasn’t so great without truth or compassion to make life bearable. She tried to bribe the manikin with anything else she could give: fame, flattery, great TV ratings. But no.
“A deal is a deal,” said the troll. The citizenry begged him to renegotiate, and finally the hobgoblin pursed his lips; “Fine. There’s only one thing I love more than winning – and that’s my name. My name is amazing. It’s the best name. And hearing people say it is the best thing in the world. If you can guess my name, and say it out loud when I come back, you can keep your stupid constitution.”
The citizenry determined to scour the country for every name in existence, and send emissaries in every direction if she had to. She didn’t have to. One spy trip to the troll’s reclusive home revealed that the little man, narcissist that he was, had written his name across literally everything he owned.
When the manikin returned, the citizenry was ready.
“Go ahead, try to guess my name. You’ll never do it. It’s very, very impossible.”
“FAKE NEWS! No fair – you’re a crooked cheating witch-”
“Hold on,” said the citizenry, “I’m not done. Your name is also Racism, Bigotry, Xenophobia, Sexism, Petulance, Impotence, Cowardice, Ignorance, Vanity, Incompetence, oh, and one more: Small.”
The little troll turned orange with rage, pulled out his hair, and stomped his foot so hard he buried it deep the earth. With his tiny hands, he pulled on the other leg and, in his tantrum, tore himself in half. Sad.
And the citizenry lived happily ever after – once she voted out the awful rulers who had started this whole thing in the first place.
Moral of the story: Names have power; use them wisely.
*These are all actual descriptions from Rumplestiltskin. It’s like they knew...