A Story From: Germany
Read Time: ["3 to 5mins","6 to 10mins"]
For Ages: 5 to 7yrs., 8 to 10yrs.
Rapunzel Fairy Tale ~ English Stories for Kids
The Garden Next Door
ONCE UPON A TIME, there lived a carpenter and his wife in a small house. More than anything, the two of them wanted to have a baby. At long last, their wish came true – the wife was going to have a child!
In their house was one small window. The window looked out to the garden next door. And in that garden was a row of large green balls of lettuce.
“That lettuce looks so good and fresh!” said the wife. “It is just what I need to eat.”
“But we cannot get to it,” said the carpenter. “It is the garden of the witch who lives next door.”
“If I cannot have that lettuce,” said the wife, “I will not eat anything at all!”
"That lettuce looks so good!” said the wife. “It is just what I need to eat."
What could he do? So late that night, the carpenter climbed over the garden wall. With a very quiet step, he took one ball of lettuce. And with yet more quiet steps, he went over the garden wall, and back home. His wife ate up the lettuce right away. But she need more lettuce. If she could not have more lettuce, she said, there was nothing she would eat at all!
So the next night, the carpenter went back to the garden. He picked up one more ball of lettuce.
All at once came a high, loud, voice. “STOP! What do you think you are doing?”
“I…uh…am getting lettuce for my wife,” said the carpenter.
All at once came a high, loud voice.
"You thief!" yelled the witch. "I will have you sent to jail!"
“Please!” said the carpenter. “My wife is going to have a baby. She saw your lettuce, and wanted it so very much.”
“Why do I care about that?” roared the witch.
“Please! I will do anything you like,” said the carpenter. He thought, maybe she wants me to work for her. I could build her something, for free.
“You say you will do anything?” said the witch.
“Yes,” said he.
"Please! I will do anything you like," said the carpenter.
“Fine!” said the witch. “This is the deal. You may take all the lettuce you want. And when your wife has a baby girl, I will take the baby and she will be mine!”
“What?!” said the carpenter. “I would never agree to that!”
“But you already did!” said the witch. And she laughed an evil laugh.
Soon the wife had a baby girl, just as the witch had said. To keep the baby safe, the carpenter built a tall tower in the woods. He built stairs inside the tower that led to a room at the very top, with only one window. He and his wife visited the baby many times a day.
But the witch had a magic ball. The ball showed her just where the baby was kept in the tower. One day, as soon as the carpenter and his wife had gone back to their house, she cast a spell over them both. And they fell into a deep sleep.
The witch said to the baby, “I will call you Rapunzel. For that is the name of the lettuce that brought you to me. And now, Rapunzel, you are mine!”
But the witch did not know how to take care of a baby. As Rapunzel grew to a child, the witch did not even know how to cut her hair. Rapunzel’s blond hair grew longer and longer every day. All the witch knew was that to keep the child safe, she must keep her locked in the room at the top of the tower.
“And now, you are mine forever!”
Every year on her birthday, Rapunzel would say to the witch, “Why must I stay in this same room all year long? I am all alone in here with nothing to do. Please let me go outside and play!”
And every year the witch said, “I have told you time and time again! You must stay here in this room. The world is a very bad place. Only here are you safe.”
On her 12th birthday, Rapunzel said to the witch, “I don’t care anymore what you say! I am tired of staying here alone all day long. When you are gone, I will chip away at the door. I will make a hole and go down the stairs. I will go outside no matter what you say!”
“Think again!” said the witch. And with her power, she made all the stairs in the tower fall down. She made the doors go away. Now there was no way for Rapunzel to get out of the tower!
The Singing Voice
By then, Rapunzel’s hair had grown very, very long. With the stairs fallen down, the next time witch came to visit her, she called up, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair!” Rapunzel threw her long blond braid out the window. The witch grabbed hold of her hair, like a rope. And that is how she climbed up the tower wall to the window in Rapunzel’s room.
That is how five long years went by. Poor Rapunzel! For hours all alone, she sang sad songs out the window. Sometimes the birds at the tops of the trees would join in her songs. Then she would feel a bit better. But not much.
So many long days with nothing to do.
One day, a prince was riding through the woods. He heard the sound of a beautiful singing voice in the wind. Where was the voice coming from? He rode closer and closer to the sound. At last, he came to the tower.
“This is most odd!” he thought, looking up and down the wall of the tower. “There is no door at the bottom. Yet the singing voice is coming from the very top. How can anyone get in or out?”
Each day after that, the prince came back to the tower. There was something about that voice that called to him! Who was the person singing from the very top? And how could he get up?
One day when the prince rode up, he saw an old woman standing below the tower. He jumped behind a tree to hide. It was the witch! He heard her call out, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair!” He saw a long blond braid come out from the window at the top. He saw the old woman grab onto it. And she climbed up that wall to the very top.
“Ah, ha!” though the prince. “That is how it is done!” He waited a while. Once more, the braid came out from the window. The witch climbed back down the tower wall, and then she left.
The prince waited some more. He stepped up to the tower. In a voice that sounded as much like the witch as he could, he called out, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair!”
In a moment, the same long blond braid came out of the window. “Ah, good!” thought the prince. And he climbed up the tower wall.
He heard the witch call out, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your hair!”
You can be sure Rapunzel was very surprised to see the prince climb into her window. She had never seen a man before!
“Who are you?” she said, in fear.
“Do not worry!” said the prince. “I am a friend.”
“But I do not know you!” said Rapunzel.
“I feel as if I know you,” said the prince. “I have heard you sing your sad songs for many a day. I love to hear your voice! And I love it when the birds sing with you, too.”
“Yes, I like that, too,” said Rapunzel. “It may be the only thing I like, since I must stay here in this same old room, day after day.”
So Rapunzel told the prince all about the witch. She said that because the world was such a very bad place, she must stay in the tower room her whole life long.
“Do not worry,” said the prince. “I am a friend.”
“But the world is not as bad as all that!” said the prince. He told Rapunzel about flowers and gardens, children and games, about pets and festivals, secrets and strawberries. After many hours had gone by, Rapunzel said he must go. For the witch may come back any time.
“Very well,” said the prince. “But I will be back tomorrow.” Rapunzel threw her braid of hair out the window, and the prince climbed down.
The next day, the prince came back up to Rapunzel’s room. He said, “I have a surprise for you.” He brought strawberries for her to taste. Never had Rapunzel felt happier!
Day after day, the prince brought more gifts from the world outside. Now, when Rapunzel sang out the window, her songs were happy. And the birds sang with her in happy voices, too.
Plan to Escape
One day, the prince and Rapunzel talked about what they must do. “We will get you out of here,” said the prince. “And when you are free from this tower, will you marry me?”
“Yes, I will,” said Rapunzel, “but how can we both get down? You can climb down my braid of hair. But how can I get down next?”
“If only we had another braid of hair like yours!” said the prince.
“Wait a minute!” said Rapunzel. “Bring me a cloth of fabric each time you come. I will tie the cloth into a rope. And when the rope is long enough, we will both be able to climb out of here.”
“What a good idea!” said the prince. Every day after that, he brought a cloth of fabric to Rapunzel. One by one, she tied them into a rope.
On Rapunzel’s 18th birthday when the witch came, she spoke in a sharp voice. “Every year on your birthday,” said the witch, “I hear the same thing. From now on, it will be different! I will hear no more talk on how you are alone in the room all the time. Get used to it, Rapunzel!”
“When the rope is long enough, we will both be able to climb out.”
“Who says I’m alone in the room all the time?” said Rapunzel.
“What are you saying?!” said the witch. “Who has been up here with you?”
“No one!” said Rapunzel, in fear. “I mean, no one but you!”
The witch did not believe her. She started to look everywhere in the room for something to prove that someone else had been there. Soon she found the rope. She held it high in the air, yelling, “What is the meaning of this?”
“My friend the prince brought me the cloth,” said Rapunzel. “I love him! We are going to be married!”
“I wouldn’t count on that if I were you!” yelled the witch. “You will never see this prince again!” She took out a knife. And with one stroke, the witch cut off all of Rapunzel’s hair. Holding her cut-off braid in one hand, the witch laughed an evil laugh. With the other hand and with one stroke of her magic, she sent Rapunzel to a desert far away.
Then witch waited in the tower room. She knew that soon, the prince would come back.
The Last Climb
The witch did not wait for long. Soon the prince was calling at the bottom of the tower, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!”
The witch threw Rapunzel’s braid out the window, holding tightly to the other end. The prince took hold and climbed up, not knowing what waited for him at the top. When he got to the window, the prince was much surprised to see the witch!
“Where is Rapunzel?” he called out. “What have you done with her?”
“You will never see your Rapunzel again!” yelled the witch. She pushed the prince so hard that he lost hold of the window. Down, down, fell the prince!
The prince landed on some bushes below. That helped him with the fall, but the bushes had sharp thorns. Some of the thorns went into his eyes, and the prince was blind!
For two years the poor blind prince wandered in the desert, looking for Rapunzel. From morning to night he called for her, but it was no use. One day in the desert, a beautiful sound of singing came to his ears. “Oh, my!” he thought. “I know that voice!” It had to be his dear Rapunzel! He went closer and closer to the voice he knew so well.
“My prince!” called Rapunzel when she saw him. “I could cry with joy!” The two of them hugged tight. Two of her tears of joy fell into the eyes of the prince. All at once, he could see again!
Dear reader, I am sure you can guess what happened next. The prince and Rapunzel went back to the kingdom where the prince lived. They were married as soon as they could. Rapunzel became a princess, and the two of them lived happily ever after.
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This story has been adapted from The Grimm's Brothers Fairy Tale. The Grimm Brothers' story is an adaptation of the fairy tale Rapunzel by Friedrich Schulz published in 1790