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Town Inflation Runs Rampant Following Enchantment of Straw Storehouses

Marigold Town, Pleasant Kingdoms - It was a strange sight yesterday at Marigold Town Market, where local farmers sold straw bushels to a throng of customers flinging fistfuls of gold. The average bushel price: six thousand gold pieces. The whole town economy has gone topsy-turvy after three royal storehouses full of straw were magically transformed into gold last weekend.

"It's supply and demand," says Professor Anna Coyne of Marigold University. "A few days ago, we had straw aplenty and gold was rare. Now, it's the opposite."

Other common items have also skyrocketed in price following the devaluing of the currency. "I've come to buy a sack of flour. Just hoping this is enough," Jim Farmer told The Once Upon A Times outside of Marigold Millers, where he had carted a wheelbarrow overflowing with gold pieces.

Marigold Millers has become a focal point of the investigation, as authorities try to determine who is responsible for the enchantment. "Magically tampering with the currency is a very serious crime, indeed," explains Sir Wolfgang Ferrell, the Chief Royal Investigator. "We had held the miller's daughter for questioning, but she has since been released. We now suspect a man. A short man. Shorter than me. Not that I am short, as you can see, I am of perfectly average height and that is not just because of my thick boots. The boots are regulation thickness. Anyway, we do not yet know the suspected man's name, but we are looking into the matter most diligently."

Not diligently enough, according to some local residents. Billy Sprint is a messenger at Marigold Manor, who claims his tip was scorned by the authorities. "Sure, I know who the little guy is. Name's Rumpus Stiltzman. Saw him dancing around in the forest talking to himself. But Sir Wolfgang didn't believe me. You think they'd take my word for it, seeing as I'm a messenger. Telling people information is kind of my thing. Ah, well, maybe I'll start my own business."

When pressed on the matter, Sir Wolfgang insisted, "The name Rumpus Stiltzman is clearly made up. The suspect's name is probably short, like Kunz, or Heinz. You know, I have a very long name, especially if you include all seven of my middle names. How come you never print any of those in your paper?"

Following further tips from Billy Sprint, The Once Upon A Times scoured Marigold Town Archives last night and found several criminal records for a Rumpus Stiltzman, who has previously faced charges of coercion and kidnapping. We have submitted our findings to the Chief Royal Investigator, who has not responded, though aides adamantly assured your correspondent that Sir Wolfgang had, "of course not forgotten to look in the archives."

Meanwhile, Professor Coyne insists that the economic lessons of the past must not be forgotten either. "We have seen this before. Remember that girl in Rosedale who spewed jewels every time she opened her mouth? Rendered every precious gem in the region worthless."

As in Rosedale, here in Marigold, too much money has proven less blessing than curse.

Based on the Brothers Grimm version of "Rumpelstiltskin," with a reference to Charles Perrault's "The Fairies," also known as "Diamonds & Toads."

Stay tuned next Tuesday for more reports from the fairy tale lands

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