Grimm Brother "Rapunzel"

There were once a man and a woman who had long in in vain wished for a
child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire.
These people had a little window at the back of their house from which a
splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful
flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no
one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had
great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the woman was
standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a
bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion (rapunzel), and it
looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, and had the greatest
desire to eat some. This desire increased every day, and as she knew
that she could not get any of it, she quite pined away, and looked pale
and miserable. Then her husband was alarmed, and asked, "What ails you,
dear wife?" "Ah," she replied, "if I can't get some of the rampion which
is in the garden behind our house, to eat, I shall die." The man, who
loved her, thought, "Sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of
the rampion yourself, let it cost you what it will." In the twilight of
evening, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the
enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his
wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it with much
relish. She, however, liked it so much, so very much, that the next day
she longed for it three times as much as before. If he was to have any
rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden. In the gloom
of evening, therefore, he let himself down again; but when he had
clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the
enchantress standing before him. "How can you dare," said she with angry
look, "to descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You
shall suffer for it!" "Ah," answered he, "let mercy take the place of
justice. I only made up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw
your rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she
would have died if she had not got some to eat." Then the enchantress
allowed her anger to be softened, and said to him, "If the case be as
you say, I will allow you to take away with you as much rampion as you
will, only I make one condition, you must give me the child which your
wife will bring into the world; it shall be well treated, and I will
care for it like a mother." The man in his terror consented to
everything, and when the little one came to them, the enchantress
appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away
with her.

Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child beneath the sun. When she
was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay
in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a
little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself
beneath this, and cried,

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me."

Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she
heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses,
wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair
fell twenty yards down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.

After a year or two, it came to pass that the King's son rode through
the forest and went by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so
charming that he stood still and listened. This was Rapunzel, who in her
solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The King's
son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower, but
none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so deeply
touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest and
listened to it. Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw
that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried,

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair."

Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress
climbed up to her. "If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I will
for once try my fortune," said he, and the next day, when it began to
grow dark, he went to the tower and cried.

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair."

Immediately the hair fell down, and the King's son climbed up.

At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man such as her eyes
had never yet beheld came to her; but the King's son began to talk to
her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred
that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her.
Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him
for a husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought,
"He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does;" and she said yes, and
laid her hand in his. She said, "I will willingly go away with you, but
I do not know how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk every time
that you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready
I will descend, and you will take me on your horse." They agreed that
until that time he should come to her every evening, for the old woman
came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once
Rapunzel said to her, "Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are
so much heavier for me to draw up than the young King's son--he is with
me in a moment." "Ah! you wicked child," cried the enchantress, "what do
I hear you say! I thought I had separated you from all the world, and
yet you have deceived me!" In her anger she clutched Rapunzel's
beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair
of scissors with the right, and snip, snip, they were cut off, and the
lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she took
poor Rapunzel into a desert, where she had to live in great grief and
misery.

On the same day, however, that she cast out Rapunzel, the enchantress in
the evening fastened the braids of hair which she had cut off to the
hook of the window, and when the King's son came and cried,

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair,"

she let the hair down. The King's son ascended, but he did not find his
dearest Rapunzel above, but the enchantress, who gazed at him with
wicked and venomous looks. "Aha!" she cried mockingly. "You would fetch
your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest;
the cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is
lost to you; you will never see her more." The King's son was beside
himself with pain, and in his despair he leapt down from the tower. He
escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his
eyes. Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but
roots and berries, and did nothing but lament and weep over the loss of
his dearest wife. Thus he roamed about I in misery for some years, and
at length came to the desert where Rapunzel lived in wretchedness. He
heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it,
and when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept.
Two of her tears wetted his eyes, and they grew clear again, and he
could see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom, where he was
joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and
contented.