Once upon a time, there was an old farmer and his wife. They had been trying to have children for many years. The farmers lived next door to a fairy, she had an enchanted garden and was said to help those who deserved it. The farmers believed that baring a child was important enough to ask. So, one day the farmer went over to the fairy’s house.
“My wife and I cannot have a child, would you help us? We will give you anything we can,” He asked.
The fairy was a beautiful woman with long black hair and sharp blue eyes, “I will help you,” She answered. She then took the farmer into her back garden and picked a leaf of lettuce. “This is special Rapunzel lettuce. Have your wife eat it and within the next month she will be with child.” She was about to hand it to the eager farmer when she paused, “But, you can only have one leaf, do not ask for more.” With that she gave the farmer the leaf.
The farmer rushed back to his wife and told her what the fairy had said. She was delighted and made a salad right away, adding the Rapunzel as well. She gobbled it down, between mouthfuls she said how delicious the lettuce was.
A few weeks later the couple found out that it had worked. The wife was pregnant. They were ecstatic but, after another week passed the farmer’s wife became lethargic and weak. She would gaze out the window at the fairy’s house and mutter to herself. The farmer became worried, he asked his wife what she needed to feel better, when he finally got her to speak she said, “I need more of that Rapunzel, dear husband, else I will wither away into nothing.”
The farmer panicked, the fairy had said they would only be allowed one leaf. He was sure that his wife would die if he could not get more of the magical lettuce. In the dead of night he snuck into the fairy’s garden and stole a handful of the lettuce, just as he was about to climb over the fence to leave, the fairy spoke, “You have betrayed my trust, you sneak into my garden and try to steal from me when I had helped you.” She was seething anger, he hair seemed darker and her eyes stormy.
“I’m sorry, but my wife…” The farmer started but the fairy interrupted.
“She would have been fine if you had simply asked, I was testing your honesty to see if you two were worthy of the gift I gave you. You failed. Take the lettuce and your wife will live, but the child is mine.” With that she vanished, as did her home and the enchanted garden, leaving the farmer alone with a handful of magic lettuce.
The months of pregnancy passed by slowly for the couple, true the wife did get better but she was in anguish that she was to lose her baby in the end. As the baby came closer to being born the couple began to hope they had been forgotten, the fairy had not been seen since the day her garden vanished. Despite their hopes, the day the child was born, the fairy came and took her.
The fairy had spent those moths building a tower in the middle of the forest, where no one dared roam. She took the child there, she named her Rapunzel and she grew to be a beautiful young lady with blonde hair as soft as silk. Once Rapunzel had grown her hair long enough, the Fairy sealed the entrance at the bottom of the tower and, instead, would call up to the one window at the top, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,” And Rapunzel would do just that, then the fairy would climb up it.
One day Rapunzel asked, “Mother Gothel, why am I not allowed out of the tower?”
The fairy, Gothel, replied, “Because the world out there is full of dishonest people and thieves, just like the parents I saved you from.” Gothel hated dishonesty and wished for the girl, created by magic, to be safe from that. Rapunzel didn’t really understand, but she listened to the fairy who had raised her.
A little after her 18th birthday Rapunzel heard he name called and threw her hair down as she always did, but she was surprised to find that the one who climbed up was not the fairy. It was a man. Rapunzel backed away from him and grabbed something to defend herself with, it happened to be a frying pan. The man lifted his hands slowly, “Whoa, I’m not here to hurt you, I just heard you singing while I was lost in the forest, I came to see if you could help me go home. Then I saw a woman call your name and ask for your hair. I was curious so I did the same. I did not mean to scare you.” The man looked around the small tower room for a moment, waiting for Rapunzel to calm down.
“Why are you here now though? Surely you have not been wandering around the woods for days, Mother has been gone for as long.” Rapunzel did not trust the outsider, but he kept talking to her about how he came to the tower every day this week trying to get the courage to call for her hair. He had just wanted to meet the girl who had sung with such a wondrous voice. Rapunzel’s heart softened at his flattery and set down her frying pan. She was interested in the outside world and she asked him all of the questions she had. He was eager to answer, they talked for hours, until sundown.
“Mother will be home soon, you must go!” Rapunzel wrapped her hair around a hook above the window and lowered down the man.
“Wait, can I come tomorrow?” He asked, halfway down.
“Only if you tell me your name,” She called back to him.
“Prince Eugene,” He replied, Rapunzel almost dropped him.
“You’re a prince! Well I will see you tomorrow then,” She smiled and lowered him down the rest of the way.
The prince did come the next day, and the day after, and the day after that. And every day for almost a month. One day as he was being lowered down the tower the fairy returned unexpectedly, she caught him mid decent. The prince quickly climbed back up into the tower to Rapunzel. But y the time he got there the fairy had already magicked her way into the tower room.
“How dare you keep secrets from me, I who raised you in his place to be safe; I was keeping you from all the awful people in the world, and here you are inviting one of them in?” Gothel loomed over Rapunzel.
“N-No, he isn’t like that. He is kind and my friend,” Rapunzel placed herself between the fairy and the prince. “You will do nothing to him!” She exclaimed.
The fairy smiled, “Fine, Then I will return you to what you came from!” She snapped her fingers and poof, where Rapunzel stood there was a small pot with a Rapunzel lettuce flower, one small purple bud, not yet open.
“NO! “ The prince knelt down in dismay. “I loved her…” He muttered barely above a whisper.
“Oh, did you now? Then I will allow you to keep this flower, for it is all that is left of her.” With that Gothel snapped her fingers yet again and the tower disappeared, leaving the prince in a clearing in the middle of the forest, holding a small pot with one small purple bud of a flower.
The prince made his way back to the palace, he spoke to no one. He locked himself in his room and cared for the flower that was once the girl he loved. He would talk to the flower the same way he used to talk to the girl, telling her of his day and how the world outside worked, what the weather was like, and how the people he knew acted.
Over time the bloom got bigger until one day the flower opened. As the petals peeled back the prince looked at the flower, remembering Rapunzel and how he missed her, then gently, like a breeze he heard the voice of the fairy, “You passed.” And in a whirl of sparkles and clouds the flower became Rapunzel, the girl, once again.
The prince was overjoyed, he grabbed Rapunzel in his arms and kissed her. After he pulled way he exclaimed, “I love you, I am sorry I couldn’t tell you before, marry me?” Rapunzel smiled back at him.
“Of course!” they then told the prince’s parents, who were happy to see him out of his room at all, and there was a glorious ceremony and party to celebrate.
And they lived happily ever after,