chapter  6
CORRESPONDENT WORLDS: Encounters with fairies and angels
Pages 24

The Skriker is, as I have noted, a tale-spinner and it is fitting therefore that the first tale it tells should be one in which spinning plays an important part. In the form of an encounter that once took place between itself and a human girl, the Skriker narrates the story that in the Brothers Grimm version is known as ‘Rumplestiltskin’ and in English folk tale as Tom Tit Tot’. ‘Heard her [i.e. the girl’s mother] boast’, the Skriker begins, ‘beast a roast beef eater, daughter could spin span spick and spun the lowest form of wheat straw into gold’ (ibid.). The ways in which related meanings or a sequence of similar sounds

(‘boast, beast…roast beef eater…spin span spick and spun’, for example) constantly adhere to, and disrupt, the throughline of the narrative make following the story tantalisingly difficulttantalising because it is just possible, on first acquaintance, to grasp the main ideas and yet one is also always conscious of other meanings slipping just out of reach.