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CHAT: Rapunzel (was: Rumpelstiltskin (was: milimpulaktasin))

From:Muke Tever <alrivera@...>
Date:Thursday, May 3, 2001, 13:06
From: "John Cowan" <cowan@...>
> Roger Mills scripsit: > > Ah, missed that the first time round. I _knew_ this computer was bad for my > > eyesight. > > > > But both you and Muke missed the neatest part IMHO: The young lady's name > > is Rapunzel, and she has very long hair. The gnome is on the ground; in > > order to access her in the tower, he calls out: Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let > > down your hair! She does and he climbs up it. > > Say what? That was a different story altogether, and it isn't a gnome who > says "Let down your hair", but a prince!
Yup. That's the story where there was a poor couple who lived near the walled garden of a witch. The poor wife was pregnant and began to crave the rampion that grew in the witch's garden. And she, who apparently has a _very_ unpleasant personality, badgered her husband into stealing some for her; of course he didn't want to, because you never know where stealing from witches will get you, but she wouldn't accept any regular store-bought rampion: it had to be the witch's rampion. And she wouldn't let up, so in the end he had to climb over the wall and get some. This happened three times, but on the third time the witch, who had noticed her rampion supply diminishing, had been watching and caught the poor man. He begged not to be turned into a frog or anything like that, and the witch let him go on condition that he would give her the child that would soon be born. The poor wife didn't quite like the idea, but what can you do? So the child was born, a beautiful baby girl with all the trimmings, and the witch shows up to take her away. [Behold yon common theme.] The witch (or maybe the parents) names the child "Rapunzel" which means 'rampion' [ObLang: my dictionary gives 'rampion' as related to OFr. 'raiponce', Ital. 'raponzo' and Ger. 'rapunzel', so we get a general idea where this story is coming from] and carries her off to a tower with no staircase and with no door. I think perhaps she was not taken away until she was older, because to get into the tower the witch would call to Rapunzel: "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair That I may climb that golden stair." --and as her hair was twenty ells long at the time, and apparently not averse to being pulled by the weight of a full crone-grade witch, that was how the witch made her visits. I think the witch spent her visits brushing Rapunzel's hair, but that might just have been what Rapunzel was doing while the witch did whatever else it was she was there for. I seem to remember the witch came to treat her as her own daughter, but that may have been a different witch in a different story. So a prince was in the neighborhood, being a prince and therefore having nothing better to do; he was wandering through the wilderness and discovered this mysterious tower without any entry, and only that one window, very high up. I do think there may also have been a very thorny hedge surrounding it as well. Now, he was curious as to what was up there, and he sat a while, and waited. The witch arrived, and he hid himself, but watched her call out: "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair That I may climb that golden stair." --and the hair appeared and the witch climbed up it. Apparently the prince had never seen such long hair before, and was most intrigued, and wondered who it belonged to. So after the witch had left, and gone safely out of range, he called out the rhyme in his best witchy voice. Rapunzel thought it odd that the witch should return so soon--she never visited more than once a day--but living in a tower alone forever doesn't exactly help your social skills much, and so she let her hair down and the prince climbed up it. Anyway, the prince came in yon window, and Rapunzel was most surprised by the sight of a strange man who was certainly not the witch. And they got to know each other, and everything was wonderful, except that it was of course pretty much impossible to get her out of the tower. He visited her several times. But one day when the witch came to visit, Rapunzel [being short on social skills as I mentioned] rather indiscreetly mentioned that the witch was awfully heavy on her climb up--not like the man who often came to visit her. The witch was infuriated by the idea of a man coming in and violating her innocence, and cut off Rapunzel's hair and stayed in the tower to watch for him. When the prince came, he called out the rhyme: "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair That I may climb that golden stair." --only it wasn't Rapunzel that let down the hair, but the witch, who had tied the hair to a nail by the window. And when the prince was most of the way up the tower, the witch unfastened the hair and the prince fell to his death in the thorny hedge that may have surrounded the base of the tower. Um, I seem to have taken a wrong turn somewhere... or is that really what happened? *Muke!


Mia Soderquist <tuozine@...>