Rumplestiltskin - Globalized by Rev. Samuel A. Trumbore
Once upon a time, there was a wealthy American businessman driving his limousine through the Latin American countryside. He came upon a little village at the edge of the rain forest and asked his driver to stop so he could stretch his legs and inspect the town. His visit created quite a stir and the mayor came out to greet him. "Buenos Dais, Senor," he said, looking at himself reflected in the sunglasses of the American Businessman wearing a beautifully tailored suit. "Welcome to the most productive village in all Nicaragua! We are all hard workers here and my oldest daughter, Cecilia, is the hardest working of them all." He pointed to his daughter busily sewing a dress.
The businessman smiled and walked over to Cecilia. "So, Cecilia, how would you like to make some US dollars for your village?" he asked. Cecilia was shy and looked to her father to ask him what she should do. Her father wanted his family to get rich so he spoke for her, "Oh, yes, she would be glad to do whatever work you have for her." The businessman's smile grew broader. "Then come with me," he said and Cecilia followed him to his car and they drove off.
The businessman drove her back to his hacienda and showed her to a room full of cloth. "Cecilia, I want you to turn all this cloth into sweatshirts by tomorrow morning or I'll go back to your village and level it with a bulldozer to punish your father for being so boastful." Then he locked her in and left.
Cecilia sat down and began to cry for all she had was a needle and thread. It would take weeks to turn all this cloth into sweatshirts. She cried and cried. Then she heard a knock at the window. A little bald man wearing thick glasses and a green eyeshade was waving at her so she went over and opened the window to ask him what he wanted.
"Looks like you're very sad, poor woman. May I help you."
"I don't know what you can do to help. I must turn all this cloth into sweatshirts by tomorrow morning or my village will be destroyed and all I have is this needle and some thread."
"How about if I sell you this pedal-driven sewing machine," he said slyly. Cecilia began wondering about his timing.
"But I have no money"
"I'll take that necklace your wearing."
She hesitated as it had been in the family for a long, long time. But she knew without a sewing machine her village would be destroyed. So she gave it to him in exchange for the sewing machine and worked all night long. By dawn's first light, she had turned all the cloth into sweatshirts.
The businessman returned the next morning and was very surprised. He gave her a pair of Nike sneakers that she thought were really great. Then he took her to another room in his estate that had twice as much cloth and told her to turn that cloth into sweatshirts or her village would be bulldozed.
Cecilia was very sad and began to cry. This was too much for her foot pedal sewing machine. And who should show up at the window? You guessed it - the balding man with the thick glasses and the green eyeshade.
"More work, eh?" he said through the window.
"Yes, twice as much, can you help me?"
"How about an used electric sewing machine?"
"Great! What will it cost me this time?"
"Those sneakers and that gold ring on your finger."
Her mother who had been killed in a raid by the Contras had given the ring to her before she died. She was very attached to the ring but gave it to him along with the sneakers to save her village. Cecilia worked all night making sweatshirts and finished before the sun came up.
The American businessman was very impressed by her productivity. He gave her a designer outfit from New York City and a CD player. He took her to a third room with even more cloth and told her that if she converted all this cloth into sweatshirts she could become his business partner.
There was so much cloth in this room, Cecilia thought she couldn't do it this time. Right on schedule, there was that little bald guy at the window.
"I've got the latest Z-2000. That ought to zip you through this work."
"What do you want this time - do you want my designer outfit?"
"No. I want your first born business."
Sounded like a fine deal at the time. She took the Z-2000 and set to work. She worked really hard and finished just as the sun was rising. The businessman was very pleased and whipped out a contract for her to sign. He drove her back to her village and he built for her a small factory for making clothing. Once it was complete, Cecilia hired people from the village and they began making all kinds of clothes for the American businessman. Everyone was very happy as the dollars began to flow into town.
One day the little bald man showed up on the front steps of the factory. "I've come for your business," he said. "Now you'll work for me and all the money you make will be mine!" He danced a little jig.
Cecilia was horrified. All the hard work she'd put into her factory would be gone. She begged her partner, the American Businessman, for help. He shrugged his shoulders and talked about IMF austerity measures and the need to tighten her belt.
By now Cecilia had learned a little about business too. "Okay, a deal is a deal, but lets play double or nothing. My father will give you the whole village if I can't guess your name." Her father turned white.
"It's a deal," squealed the little bald man. "You've got three days."
Cecilia tried all the obvious names. (ask for kids help) Exxon. Bank of America. Microsoft. Levi Strauss. All the multinational companies. But each time he said no. She asked everyone for advice, searched the Internet and every name was wrong. His name was deeply hidden in secret deals and offshore bank accounts.
On the last day, she was ready to give up when a Unitarian Universalist political activist who was traveling through the village as an eco-tourist stepped forward to help. "I know his name, he represents the Rumplestiltskin Bank of Globalization. I overheard him as he was getting into his private Lear jet chuckling to himself:"
"Yesterday I lent, today I expect,
Tomorrow your business I will collect!
None can guess, none can claim
That Rumpelstiltskin is my name."
Shocked and angy he had been recognized, he called in a military air strike on the village but the missile hit his Lear jet instead and everyone lived happily ever after - we hope.
© 2002 by Rev. Samuel A. Trumbore. All rights reserved. May be used freely for Unitarian Universalists for services and gatherings with attribution.