Stories Aloud, based on the original by the Brothers Grimm
Once upon a time, there live a man and his wife. All they had ever wanted was a child. The woman grew sadder and sadder. Her husband didn’t know what to do. He loved her and wanted her to be happy.
Now, in the next-door neighbour’s garden, grew the most wonderful flowers and herbs. And when the woman was feeling especially sad, she would stare out of her window at it.
There was an especially lovely looking plant. It was rapunzel and it looked so green and sp delicious that the woman really wanted to try it.
Now, everyone knew that the next-door neighbour was a witch who was old and mean and every one was afraid of her! But the woman really, really wanted to try the rapunzel plant. She found herself staring at it and wishing for it so much that she began to look pale and miserable.
So, when her loving husband came home, he asked what the matter was.
“Ah,” she replied, “if I can’t eat some of the neighbour’s rapunzel, I shall die.”
The man loved her very much and so, even though he was afraid of the witch, he said he would climb over the wall and fetch her some.
He brought a whole bunch back for his wife. And she was so thrilled that she ate it immediately. It tasted so good to her. So very good. Too good! Now that she had had some, she wanted it twice as much the next day. She spent all day asking her husband to fetch it for her again. Her husband was pleased to see his wife looking happier than she had been for years, so he agreed.
He snuck into the witch’s garden. He climbed over the wall and, as he turned around, he found the witch standing in front of him. She was so ugly, with a horrible big nose. She lifted her walking stick up and pointed it at him.
“How dare you! You climb into my garden and steal my rapunzel like a thief! You will suffer for this!” she screamed.
The man was so scared that he dropped to his knees and said, “Oh, please have mercy. I only steal out of necessity. My wife is not well and, once she had seen your rapunzel, she wanted it more than anything. So much that she thought she’d die without it!”
The witch let the walking stick down and leaned on it. Looking at him more softly, then she said:
“Well, if that’s the case, then I shall allow you to take as much rapunzel as you want. On one condition: you must give me your first child. It shall be well treated and I will care for it like a mother.”
The man, in his fear, agreed to the deal and, taking huge handfuls of the plant, clambered back up the wall.
His wife was overjoyed at his takings. Her husband would fetch her rapunzel every day and she became well again.
When she became pregnant, the husband told her of the promise he had made and she became very sad.
And sure enough, when the child was born, the witch appeared. She called the girl Rapunzel and took her away.
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful girl ever seen. She had lovely long thick blonde hair that glittered like gold in the sun.
When she was twelve years old, the witch shut her up in a tower, which lay in a forest. It had no doors and no stairs. All it had was a little window right at the top where Rapunzel’s bedroom was.
Whenever the witch came to visit, she would stand under the window and say:
Let down your golden hair.”
And Rapunzel would lean out of the window and untie her hair and wrap it around a hook near the window. Then she let the long waves of gold hair drop down all the way to the ground. The witch would then climb up it.
Rapunzel became very lonely and to pass the time she liked to sing. Her voice was so light and sweet that birds often came to sit on her windowsill to listen to her.
After a year or two, it happened that the king’s son was riding through the forest on his horse. When he was near the tower, he stopped as he could hear the most beautiful singing he had ever heard!
He wanted to meet the maiden who sang so sweetly, so he walked around the tower to find the door. He walked round the tower twice without finding a way in. This tower had no door. The singing maiden must be a prisoner! He left the forest and went home. But all he could think about was the lovely voice he had heard. So, the next day he returned to the base of the tower to listen to it. And the next day. And the next.
On the fourth day, he arrived at the tower later than usual, and found a witch standing at the bottom of the tower calling to the window above her:
Let down your golden hair.”
He hid behind a tree and watched as the maiden wrapped her hair around the hook and allowed its beautiful golden waves to fall to the floor. He stood amazed as the witch then climbed up to the window.
So, the next day he arrived very, very early and stood beneath the window. He called in a woman’s voice:
Let down your golden hair.”
And sure enough, the maiden lowered her hair and the prince climbed up.
As he climbed through the window, Rapunzel became afraid and backed away from him. She had never seen a man before. She was expecting her mother.
But the prince talked calmly to her and explained that he had heard her singing and wanted to meet her. This made Rapunzel smile.
They sat down together and chatted. They got on so well, that Rapunzel invited him back the next day. And the next day.
The prince returned every day to see her. And they both fell in love.
It was a beautiful spring day when the prince decided to ask Rapunzel to marry him.
“I would love to be your wife! But I am prisoner here and don’t know how to get down.”
So, they came up with a plan. Each time the prince would visit, he would bring some silk threads. Rapunzel would weave the silk into a ladder and when it was long enough, she would climb down and run off with him.
One day, Rapunzel was so disappointed to see her mother again, and had such difficulty getting her to the window that the said:
“Why does it take you so long to climb up? It only takes the prince five minutes.”
“Oh, you wicked child!” cried the witch “I thought I had separated you from all the world and yet you have deceived me!”
In her anger, she grabbed Rapunzel’s beautiful hair, seized a pair of scissors and – snip, snip – cut her hair short!
Her lovely braids lay on the ground.
But this was not enough for the witch. She then sent Rapunzel to a desert where she was to live alone in misery.
The witch, however, stayed in the tower waiting for the prince.
Then she took the hair that she had cut off Rapunzel and dangled them out the window. The prince climbed up.
“Aha! Rapunzel is lost to you. You will never see her again!”
The prince was so afraid, that he leaped down from the tower to escape. But he fell into a bush with thorns. And the thorns damaged his eyes and he became blind.
He wandered through the forest, not knowing which way his castle was. He ate nothing but roots and berries, and did nothing but weep for his dear love. He wandered like this for so long that he one day found himself in a desert.
On one very hot day, he heard a beautiful voice singing. He knew the voice immediately and followed it.
Rapunzel recognised him and hugged him and kissed his face. She was so happy to see him and so sorry for his wounds that she started to cry.
As they were holding each other, two of her tears landed on his eyes. And, as he blinked, he realised he could see again! He looked at his beautiful love and took her in his arms and led her back to his castle.
They were received joyfully in his kingdom. They got married the next day and lived happily every after.
This story features the voice of Tanya Nicole