Most of you will be familiar with this tale from the Brothers Grimm, for those of you who are not so familiar, please read below:
A lonely couple who long for a child, live next to a large, extensive, high-walled garden belonging to a sorceress. The wife experiencing pregnancy cravings, longs for the salad that she sees growing in the sorceress’ garden. She refuses to eat anything else and begins to waste away. Her husband fears for her life and one night he breaks into the garden to get some for her. When he returns, she makes a salad out of it and eats it, but she longs for more so her husband returns to the garden to retrieve more. As he scales the wall to return home, the sorceress catches him and accuses him of theft. He begs for mercy and she agrees to be lenient, allowing him to take all the salad he desires on condition that any child born to them is given to her, desperate, he agrees.
When the wife has a baby girl, the sorceress takes her to raise as her own and names her "Rapunzel”, in another version her parents moves away before her birth in an attempt to avoid surrendering her, only for the sorceress to turn up at their door upon her birth, unhampered by their attempt at relocation. She grows up to be a beautiful girl with long golden hair When she turns twelve, the sorceress locks her up in a tower in the middle of the woods, with neither stairs nor a door and only one room and one window. In order to visit her, the sorceress stands at the bottom of the tower and calls out:
- Let down your hair
- That I may climb thy golden stair!
One day, a prince rides through the forest and hears Rapunzel singing from the tower. Entranced by her ethereal voice, he searches for her and discovers the tower, but is unable to enter it. He returns often, listening to her beautiful singing, and one day sees the sorceress visit her as usual and learns how to gain access. When the sorceress leaves, he bids Rapunzel let her hair down. When she does so, he climbs up and they fall in love. He eventually asks her to marry him, which she agrees to as other offers had not been so forthcoming!.
Together they plan a means of escape, wherein he will come each night (thus avoiding the sorceress who visits her by day) and bring Rapunzel a piece of silk that she will gradually weave into a ladder (I have asked myself why he did not just bring a wooden ladder?!) Before the plan can come to fruition, however, she has sex with him (surprise surprise)and becomes pregnant. In the first edition (1812) of Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales, most commonly known in English as Grimms Fairy Tales, she innocently says that her dress is growing tight around her waist, hinting at pregnancy. In later editions, she asks the sorceress, in a moment of forgetfulness, why it is easier for her to draw up the prince than her. In anger, the sorceress cuts off her hair and casts her out into the wilderness to fend for herself.
When the prince calls that night, the sorceress lets the severed hair down to haul him up. To his horror, he finds himself meeting her instead of Rapunzel, who is nowhere to be found. After she tells him in a rage that he will never see Rapunzel again, he leaps or falls from the tower and lands in a thorn bush. Although it breaks his fall and saves his life, it scratches his eyes and blinds him.