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Home » Children's Stories » Rapunzel



Grimm Brothers



A long time ago, a husband and wife lived happily in a cottage at the edge of a wood. But one day the wife fell ill. She could eat nothing and grew thinner and thinner. The only thing that could cure her, she believed, was a strange herb that grew in the beautiful garden next to their cottage. She begged her husband to find a way into the garden and steal some of this herb, which was called rapunzel.

Now this garden belonged to a wicked witch, who used it to grow herbs for her spells.

One day, she caught the husband creeping into her garden. When he told her what he had come for, the witch gave him some rapunzel, but she made him promise to give her their first-born child in return. The husband agreed, thinking that the witch would soon forget the promise. He took the rapunzel back to his wife, who felt better as soon as she had eaten it.

A year later, a baby girl was born and the witch did come and take her away. She told the couple they would be able to see their daughter in the garden behind their house. Over the years they were able to watch her grow up into a beautiful child, with long fair hair. The witch called her Rapunzel after the plant her father had come to take.

When she was twelve years old, the witch decided to lock Rapunzel up in a high tower in case she tried to run away. The tower had no door or staircase, but Rapunzel was quite happy up there as she could sit at the window watching the life of the forest and talking to the birds. Yet sometimes she would sigh, for she longed to be back in the beautiful garden where she could run and skip in the sunshine. Then she would sing to cheer herself up.

Each day, the witch came to see her, bringing fresh food. She would stand at the bottom of the tower and call out,

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair."

Rapunzel, whose long golden hair was plaited, would twist it round one of the bars and drop it out of the window, and the witch would climb up it. When she left, Rapunzel would let down her golden hair again, and the witch would slide nimbly down to the ground. One day, the king's son was riding through the forest when he heard Rapunzel singing. Mystified, he rode to the tower, but could see no door, so could not understand how anyone could be there. He decided to stay and watch the tower and listen to the singing. After a while the witch came along and the prince watched her carefully. ° his amazement, as she called out,

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair," a long golden plait of hair fell almost to the ground.

The prince saw the witch climb up the hair and disappear through the window, and he made up his mind he would wait until she had gone and see if he could do the same.

So after the witch had gone, he stood where the witch had been and called,

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair."

When the golden plait came tumbling down,

he climbed up as the witch had done and found to his astonishment the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. They talked for a long time and then the prince left, promising to come again. Rapunzel looked forward to his visits, for she had been lonely. He told her all about the world outside her tower, and they fell deeply in love.

One day Rapunzel said to the witch, "Why is it when you climb up my hair you are so heavy? The handsome prince who comes is much lighter than you." At this, the witch flew into a rage and took Rapunzel out of the tower and led her into the forest to a lonely spot and told her she must stay there without food or shelter. The witch cut off Rapunzel's hair and then hurried back to the tower with the long plait of golden hair.

That evening when the prince came by, he called out as usual,

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair."

The witch, who had secured the plait of golden hair inside the window, threw it down. The prince climbed up eagerly, only to be confronted with the wicked witch. "Aha," she cackled, "so you are the visitor who has been coming to see my little Rapunzel. I will make sure you won't see her again," and she tried to scratch out his eyes.

The prince jumped out of the high window, but was not killed for he landed in a clump of thorny bushes. His face, however, was badly scratched and his eyes hurt so that he could not see, and he stumbled off blindly into the forest.

After several days of wandering and suffering, he heard a voice singing. Following the sound. he drew closer and realized he had found Rapunzel, who was singing as she worked to make a home for herself in the forest. He ran towards her, calling her name, and she came and kissed him. As she did so, his eyes were healed and he could see again.

The prince took Rapunzel to his father's palace. where he told his story. Rapunzel was reunited with her parents who were overjoyed to see their daughter again. and a proclamation was made banning the witch from the kingdom. Then a grand wedding took place. Rapunzel married the prince and lived with him for many years. As for the witch. she was never seen again.






Copyright © 1997 by Grisewood & Dempsey Ltd 1988, 1989. 1990. All rights reserved. No part of this production may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise withot prior written permission.