December 06, 2021

#08-161: Rapunzel

From an East German postage stamp

Note: Many people know about Rapunzel "letting down her hair." But there's more to the story than that!

Get Ready: How does the life of a boy or girl usually change around the age of 12?

You may have heard the story of Rapunzel, told in the Disney film Tangled. But did you know rapunzel was actually a vegetable?

The story happened like this: Once a lonely couple lived next to a high-walled garden that belonged to a witch. The pregnant wife began longing for a vegetable that grew in that garden--rapunzel, a kind of salad green. Her husband tried to talk her out of it, but she insisted, finally refusing to eat anything else, and beginning to waste away.

At last her husband fearfully scaled the garden wall and brought her her heart's delight. But the wife just craved more, and still more.

After repeated trips to the garden, the husband was caught! After he begged the witch for mercy, she said she would release him and give him all the rapunzel his wife wanted--if he would give her the baby when it was born. Desperate to help his wife--and to get away--the husband agreed. And in due time, the witch took the new-born babe and named her "Rapunzel."

The little girl grew up to be a beauty, with long golden hair. When she reached twelve, the witch locked her in a tower in the woods, without stairs or door, and with only one high window. To get in, the witch would stand at the base of the tower and call out:

Rapunzel! Rapunzel!
Let down your hair,
That I may climb
Thy golden stair!

As it happened, a prince riding through the woods heard Rapunzel singing and, entranced, returned often, until one day he heard the witch's call and learned the secret. He too called to her and "climbed the golden stair." When he asked Rapunzel to marry him, she said yes.

Each night he visited her and brought a piece of silk to braid a ladder for escape, but one day she foolishly wondered aloud to the witch why her dress was getting tight. She was pregnant! The witch cut off her hair and sent her out into the forest to fend for herself.

That night when the prince called out, the witch lowered the severed braids and hauled him up. She then pushed him from the tower; he landed in some thorny bushes that scratched his eyes out.

The blind prince searched many years for Rapunzel. Finding her (and their twin children) at last, he hugged her, and as her tears fell on his face, his sight was restored.

The witch, meantime, accidentally dropped the hair, and was trapped in the tower.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. braid
  2. craved
  3. entranced
  4. fend for
  5. hauled
  6. mercy
  7. restored
  8. severed
  9. thorny
  10. thy

  1. pulled; carried
  2. filled with wonder
  3. kindness; pity
  4. take care of
  5. full of sharp stickers
  6. your
  7. longed for; greatly desired
  8. brought back
  9. cut off
  10. weave together

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for December 6, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; 2. g; 3. b; 4. d; 5. a; 6. c; 7. h; 8. i; 9. e; 10. f