Trapped in a tall tower with no door, Rapunzel is kept prisoner by a wicked witch, who comes to see her every day and climbs up her long braid of hair. But one day, a young prince hears her singing to the forest birds, and sets off to find her and then make her free. (duration 12 minutes) An episode from the storytelling podcast, Journey with Story.
Do you know any stories about wicked witches? Do you have a favorite wicked witch? What is the wickedest thing a witch in a story has ever done?
Hello everyone, I ‘m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story. Today’s story is a very famous fairytale about a very nasty witch indeed – but it is okay, because in the end, as with most fairytales about wicked witches, this witch got her just deserts – if you don’t know what that means, I bet you will by the end of the story.
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Once upon a time, there lived a man and a woman who longed to have a child of their own, but alas, they could not have one. Now it happened that this couple had a little window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden could be seen. The garden was full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs. But it was surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because this garden belonged to a very nasty witch, who had great power and was feared by everyone both far and near.
One day the woman was standing by the window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a bed, which was planted with the most tasty Rapunzel. It looked so fresh and green that she longed for it and had the greatest desire to eat some. Day after day, she longed to eat this Rapunzel. But she knew that she would never be able to go into the garden and pick it, and so as each day passed, the poor woman grew paler and thinner and more miserable.
Her husband was worried about her and asked “What is wrong my dear?”
“Ah,” she replied, “if I can’t eat some of the Rapunzel from the garden behind our house I think I shall die.”
Her husband could not bear to see his beloved wife in such distress. “Sooner than let my lovely wife die, I will bring her some of the Rapunzel myself, no matter what the cost.”
One evening at twilight, the man climbed over the wall into the garden of the witch, grabbed a handful of rapunzel and hurried back to give it to his wife. So delighted was she, that she set about making a salad with it and ate it all up with great gusto. But now she had taken a taste of it, she longed for it even more than ever and the next day she begged her husband to fetch it again. So in the hush of night, the man set out again for the witch’s garden, but no sooner had he climbed over the wall, than who did he see standing before him but…
The witch “How dare you,” she yelled “sneak into my garden and steal my rapunzel like a thief? You shall suffer for this!”
“Ah,” the frightened husband answered, “please have mercy, I had to have the rapunzel. My wife saw it 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 softened a little and she said, “If this is true, I will allow you to take as much as you like, only I make one condition. You must give me the baby daughter your wife will bring into the world; she shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a mother.” So terrified was the man and so desperate was he to escape from this fearsome witch, that he agreed to her demand.
And some months later when his wife did finally give birth to a beautiful baby girl, who should appear at their door but…
Before they could even try to stop her, the witch grabbed the baby from them and whisked her away. She called the baby Rapunzel and as the years passed she grew into a beautiful child – with a sweet and kind disposition
But when she was twelve years old, the witch decided that she would keep Rapunzel shut up in a tower, which lay in a forest, for she wanted to keep Rapunzel all to herself and not let her out in the world ever.
The tower had no stairs or doors, but only a little window at the very top. When the witch wanted to go in, she stood beneath the window and cried,
Let down your hair.”
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the witch she wound her braids round one of the hooks of the window, and then the hair fell down the side of the tower and the witch climbed up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the Prince rode through the forest and went by the tower. He heard a song, which was so lovely that he stood still and listened. This was Rapunzel who in her loneliness passed her time singing. The Prince 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.
Now, once when he was standing behind a tree listening to Rapunzel’s song, he saw the witch come by, stand beneath the window and cry out.
Let down your hair.”
He watched in amazement as Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the witch climbed up to her.
“Aha, said the prince, now I know how I can reach this beautiful songbird. Tomorrow, I will try my luck.
The next evening just as it was growing dark, the Prince arrived at the tower and cried out…
Let down your hair.”
Immediately the hair fell down and the Prince climbed up.
At first Rapunzel was terrified by the sight of a strange man, but when the Prince began to talk to her in his soothing voice and told her that his heart had been so stirred by her singing that it had let him have no rest, then Rapunzel lost her fear.
Day after day for many weeks and months the Prince came to visit Rapunzel and so much did they enjoy each other’s company, that when he asked her to marry him, she agreed at once,
“I will gladly go away with you, but I do not know how to get down. Perhaps if you bring a bit of silk with you every time you come then I can weave a ladder with it. When that is ready I will climb down and we shall escape together.” They agreed that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day.
For a long time the witch knew nothing at all about the Prince’s visits, but one day, Rapunzel accidentally let it slip, when she said, “Oh my, you are so much heavier when you climb up my braid than the young Prince.”
“Aha! You wicked child,” cried the witch “You have dared to deceive me!”
And in a rage, she clutched Rapunzel’s beautiful hair, seized a pair of scissors — and snip, snap — cut it all off. Rapunzel’s lovely braids lay on the ground but the witch was not through. She was so angry that she took poor Rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great grief and misery.
The witch rushed back to the tower and fastened the braids of hair which she had cut off, to the hook of the window, and when the Prince came and cried,
Let down your hair,”
The witch let the hair down. The Prince climbed to the window, but he did not find his dearest Rapunzel above, instead she saw
“Aha!” she cried, “so you think you have come for Rapunzel but that beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest; the cat has got it and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is banished and you will never see her again!”
The Prince was beside himself and in his despair he fell down from the tower, and landed in a bush of thorns that pricked his eyes until he could no longer see. For days and weeks, the prince wandered blind and weeping through the forest, overcome with grief at the loss of his beloved Rapunzel.
But one day, he stumbled into the desert, the same one where the witch had hidden Rapunzel. Far off in the distance the Prince heard a most beautiful sound…it was a voice singing such a sweet sad song…. he followed the sound and as he grew closer, it seemed to him he had surely heard such a voice before…. and when Rapunzel saw him, she fell into his arms and wept for joy.
Two of her tears fell on his eyes and at once the
Prince was cured – he could see again.
He led Rapunzel to his kingdom, and everyone in the land rejoiced to see them wed.
As for the wicked witch – no one knows for sure what happened to her, as she was never seen again, but there were some who said she had been taken captive by a fearsome dragon who kept her prisoner in his cave up on a high mountain peak.
And so from that time on, the Prince and Rapunzel lived in great peace and contentment.
I bet this story must have painted some lovely pictures in your imagination – right – what do you think Rapunzel’s hair looked like s she let it fall all they way down that tower. Remember you can send us your drawings on IG at Journey with Story.
Cheerio then, join me next time for Journey with Story.