Romaina was a powerful witch who lived in a big castle. She had a magic garden that grew the biggest, juiciest plants all year long.
A little wood shack stood next to Romaina’s castle. It belonged to a poor couple named Samuel and Bettina. They were very happy and hoped to have a child soon. One day, Bettina told her husband some good news.
“I am going to have a baby!” Bettina said. Samuel gave her a big hug.
Months later, as Samuel and Bettina ate hard bread and beans for dinner, Bettina said, “I would love to eat some of Romaina’s sweet Rapunzel lettuce.” Samuel felt cold with fear, but he wanted to take care of his wife.
That night, Samuel climbed over Romaina’s garden wall. He picked a leaf of lettuce. Suddenly, he heard terrible screaming!
It came right from the lettuce. Samuel dropped the lettuce and turned to run, but he bumped right into Romaina.
“Please do not hurt me,” cried Samuel. “I only wanted some lettuce for my dear wife.”Romaina knew Bettina was about to have a baby. “I will let you go,” said the witch. “Take all the lettuce you want. In return, you must give me your baby when it is born.”
Samuel was too afraid to say no. He ran home with the lettuce. He did not tell his wife what Romaina had said. Surely, he could find a way to break the promise.
The next morning, Bettina had a baby girl. They named her Rapunzel. They wrapped Rapunzel in a warm blanket. Just then, a cold wind blew the door open, and Romaina walked in. She cast a spell over Samuel and Bettina, so they could not move.
Romaina took Rapunzel and left. They lived in a tower in the middle of a great forest. Romaina loved Rapunzel like she was her own daughter. In fact, she loved her so much she did not want to share her with anybody. As the years passed, Rapunzel grew into a sweet, happy child. Romaina tried to be a good mother. She gave Rapunzel toys and fancy dresses. If Rapunzel even sneezed, Romaina cast a spell to make her well. She gave the girl everything, except freedom. Rapunzel was not allowed to go into the woods. She had never even seen another person’s face besides Romaina’s. “Please, let me play in the woods,” Rapunzel begged.
“No,” Romaina answered.
“Please, tell me about my father and where I was born,” Rapunzel said.
“I can’t,” Romaina answered. When Rapunzel asked why not, Romaina was silent. She feared that if Rapunzel knew the truth, she would lose her forever. Rapunzel did not know why they lived alone.
When Rapunzel became a young woman, she was not so happy anymore. She began to wonder about other people. She began to wonder who Romaina really was.
One day, Rapunzel sat in front of her mirror and brushed her shiny golden hair. It was so long, Rapunzel wore it in two braids wrapped tightly around her head. “I don’t even look like my mother,” Rapunzel said to the mirror. “Mother is dark and plump. I am fair and tall. Who am I really?”
Romaina heard Rapunzel. She knew she must do something to keep her daughter to herself. The witch put a powerful spell on the tower that locked all the doors. They would not even open for Romaina.
Romaina still visited Rapunzel each morning. Since the door was locked, Romaina called out, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair.”
Rapunzel came to the window and unwound her long braids so they hung down to the ground like two ropes. Romaina grabbed hold of each braid and
climbed up to the window.
Romaina always brought Rapunzel special treats. Rapunzel always thanked her. Then she asked, “Why am I locked in this tower?”
“Because I love you,” Romaina always said to her.
As the days passed, Rapunzel stopped asking questions. She did not like to talk to Romaina at all. Romaina wanted Rapunzel to be happy, but
she did not want to lose her.
One morning, a prince rode into the forest. He was looking for some special flowers for the queen’s birthday. The prince searched the woods through his telescope. Suddenly, he saw a bright flash of red.
“Those are the most beautiful roses I have ever seen,” said the prince. “The queen will love them.”The prince found the flowers growing in a garden. He was surprised to see a tower. He did not know anyone lived in this forest. The tower seemed empty. The prince decided no one would notice if he picked a few roses. The prince had picked one rose when he heard a noise in the woods. He quickly hid behind a tree.
Through his telescope, he watched an old woman walk up to the tower. Then he heard her say, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair.”
A beautiful maiden came to the window above the old woman. She undid her braids and hung them out the window. The old woman used them to climb the tower wall.
The prince did not know what to think. Why was a beautiful girl living out here? Why was she letting an old woman climb her braids? He waited to see what happened next.
Before long, the prince saw the maiden again. This time, she was crying! She dropped her braids, and the old woman climbed back down and disappeared into the woods.
The prince was sure the beautiful stranger needed help. He tried to open the tower door, but it was locked. He could not see any other windows. He knew what he had to do.
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair,” called the prince.
The young woman peeked out the window. Her eyes opened wide. Her cheeks turned bright red.
“Do not be afraid,” said the prince. “Can I please come up?”
The prince smiled with joy as the maiden began to unwrap her hair. The prince grabbed one braid in each hand. They felt as soft as silk.
The prince climbed inside the tower. He asked, “Who are you? Do you need help?”
“My name is Rapunzel,” she told him. “My mother keeps me locked in this tower.” Rapunzel began to cry as she told the prince the rest of her story. By the time she finished, the prince had fallen in love with her.
“You are very brave, Rapunzel,” said the prince, whose name was Peter. He began to tell her about himself. Rapunzel decided Prince Peter was a very kind man.
Prince Peter wanted Rapunzel to come to his kingdom.
“I cannot leave my mother,” said Rapunzel sadly. “I am all she has.”Prince Peter loved Rapunzel, so he visited her every evening. He told her all about his family. Rapunzel heard about dances, horse races, and puppet shows.
“Won’t you please come with me to my kingdom?” Prince Peter asked again.
Rapunzel had fallen in love with the prince. She knew she could not stay in the tower. Rapunzel told Prince Peter she would go. She left a note for Romaina telling her how much she loved her. The only way to leave was through the window. Rapunzel let down her hair so the prince could climb down.
“You must jump into my arms,” said Prince Peter. “Trust me, I will catch you!”
Rapunzel closed her eyes and jumped. She landed right in Prince Peter’s arms. He lifted her onto his horse. As they rode away, Rapunzel cried. She knew she would never see Romaina again.
The prince took Rapunzel home to his kingdom. Rapunzel did not know it, but this was where she had been born.
Soon, Prince Peter asked Rapunzel to marry him. She said yes! The king and queen decided the whole city should meet Rapunzel, so they planned a parade.
The day of the parade came. Rapunzel wore a long red gown. She put flowers in her hair. She joined Prince Peter in a golden carriage pulled by six black horses.
The carriage rolled down many streets. One street had a broken-down castle on the corner. A wood shack stood beside it. An old man and woman stood in the doorway. They wanted to see the woman who would one day be the queen.
The carriage slowly rolled by the shack. They saw that the woman was truly beautiful. Then they heard the prince call her Rapunzel. They looked at each other. Could it be?
“Wait,” yelled the man. He ran to the carriage as fast as his old legs could go. The prince stopped the horses.
“What is wrong?” asked Prince Peter.”We need to ask Rapunzel a question,” said the old man. It was Samuel, of course. “Young lady, do you know a person named Romaina?”
That is how Rapunzel finally learned who she truly was. She was filled with joy to have a family that loved her.