- DARE = ousar. “How can you dare descend into my garden?”
- DECEIVE = enganar. “I thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you have deceived me!”
- FRIGHTENED = assustado, amedrontado. “At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man came to her.”
There were once a man and a woman who had wished for a child for a long time. At last, their wish came true – the wife was going to have a baby! 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 a witch, who had great power and was dreaded by everyone.
One day the woman was standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw the most beautiful rampion, and it looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, she became weak, and began to look pale and miserable. Then her husband was alarmed, and asked: ‘What is the matter, dear wife?’ ‘Ah,’ she replied, ‘if I can’t eat some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, I will die.’ The man, who loved her, thought: ‘Sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will.’
At twilight, he climbed over the garden wall of the witch, quickly caught a handful of rampion, and took it to his wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily.
“It is just what I need to eat!” said the wife to her husband. “You must go and get me some more.”
“But we cannot!” said her husband. “You know as well as I do that the garden belongs to the witch, who lives next door.”
“If I can’t have that rampion I will not eat anything at all! I will die!,” said the wife. If he was to have any rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden.
In the gloom of evening, he let himself down again; but when he had clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the witch standing before him.
‘How can you dare descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You shall suffer for it!’ said the witch with an angry look. Then he answered, ‘Ah, 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 witch allowed her anger to be softened, and said to him: ‘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 woman was brought to bed, the witch appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old, the witch shut her into a tower, which lay in a forest. When the witch wanted to go in, she placed herself beneath it and cried:
Let down your hair to me.’
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the witch she unfastened her braided hair, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the long hair fell down, and the witch climbed up by it.
Many times Rapunzel said to the witch, “There is nothing here for me to do! Why must I stay in this tower all the time?”
And the witch shouted back, “I already told you so many times! The world is a very bad place. Now go comb your hair and be quiet.”
“But is it really so bad out there? Sometimes I hear people laughing down below,” Rapunzel would say sometimes.
At such times the witch would yell, “How many times do I have to repeat myself? Don’t listen to anything you see or hear out there. The world is much worse than you think! You will stay in this tower forever, Rapunzel. So get used to it!”
One day, Rapunzel said to the witch, “I do not care what you say anymore! I am so tired of staying here alone all the time! When you are gone, I will find a way to escape. I will run down the stairs and outside, no matter what you say!”
“Think again!” said the witch. With her power, she made all the stairs in the tower fall down. She made the doors close up. Now there was no way for Rapunzel to escape!
After a year or two, it came to pass that the king’s son rode through the forest and passed 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 standing behind a tree, he saw that a witch came there, and he heard how she cried:
Let down your hair to me.’
Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the witch climbed up to her. ‘If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I too will try my fortune,’ said he, and the next day when it began to grow dark, he went to the tower and cried:
Let down your hair to me.’
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 her husband 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 ball 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 during the day.
The witch 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 witch. ‘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 hair, wrapped it twice round her left hand, seized a pair of scissors with the right, and snip, snap, 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 that she cast out Rapunzel, however, the witch 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:
Let down your hair to me.’
She let the hair down. The king’s son climbed up, but instead of finding his dearest Rapunzel, he found the witch, who looked at him with wicked and venomous looks. She cried mockingly, ‘Aha, you would fetch your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer 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 again.’ 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 cry over the loss of his dearest wife. For two years the poor blind prince wandered the world, looking for Rapunzel. From morning to night he called for her, but it was no use.
At last, he reached a desert. One day, he heard a beautiful voice singing. “Oh!” he thought. “I know that voice!” It was his dear Rapunzel! He went closer and closer to the voice he knew so well.
“My prince!” called Rapunzel when she saw him. The two of them hugged tightly. Two tears of joy fell into the eyes of the prince. All at once, he could see again!
And what happened next, well, I’m sure you can guess! The prince and Rapunzel went back to the kingdom where the prince lived. They were married as soon as they could. The prince became king of the land and Rapunzel became queen. The two of them lived happily ever after.