Behind the Scenes of the Fairy Tale Rapunzel

The Grimm brothers made Rapunzel famous. But its origin goes back to the 17th century to Petrosinella by Giambattista Basile, which was published in 1634. Its plot has been used and parodied in many media and its best-known line “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair” has become legendary.

The heroine of this fairy tale got her name Rapunzel from a plant. Rapunzel is the German word for a kind of small green salad. I had to look it up. It looks a lot like lambs lettuce. Perhaps Rapunzel was more common in people´s gardens when the fairy tale was written. The English translation for Rapunzel is rampion. You can see some pictures of rampion here: It seems to be popular in Italy and Spain.

The fairy tale of Rapunzel

Some people like to make things complicated: Rapunzel´s mother had a hard time getting pregnant. When she finally was pregnant she developed an insatiable craving for rampion. She would eat nothing else thus endangering her life and the life of her child.

The cravings of pregnant women are legendary. To this day soon-to-be fathers can be seen searching everywhere for the strange foods their beloved mates crave. In this fairy tale the husband steals the rampion for his wife in the neighbouring garden which – tough luck – belongs to an evil witch. Of course he gets caught and the witch agrees to share her salad with the couple in exchange for the baby.

That is a very extreme demand but the husband seemed to be so terrified that he would have agreed to anything. When the child was born the witch got it and the parents are never talked about again.

salad-Rapunzel ivabalk

Rapunzel was very beautiful and she had wonderful long blond hair. When she was 12 years old the old Witch shut her in a tower without stairs or doors. When she visited she called to a window:
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair.”
When she heard the Witch’s voice Rapunzel let her braids fall 5 metres down out of the window and the Witch climbed up.
After a few years a Prince on his horse passed by Rapunzel´s tower. As he came near he heard someone singing so sweetly that he stopped to listen. The Prince longed to see the owner of the voice, but he sought in vain for a door in the tower. Nevertheless he returned to listen often. One day, when he was standing behind a tree, he saw the Witch approach and heard her call:
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair.”
Rapunzel let down her plaits and the Witch climbed up.”So that is the staircase”, said the Prince. ” I can use it, too.” At dusk on the following day he went to the tower and called:
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair.”
This way the Prince finally met Rapunzel. At first Rapunzel was frightened when she saw him because she had never seen a man before. (Really??) But the Prince was a friendly guy.  He convinced her that his heart had been so touched by her singing that he just had to meet her. Rapunzel overcame her fear, and when he asked her to marry him she agreed. Her sensible reasoning was that she would be much happier with the Prince than with the evil Witch who held her captive. She put her hand in his and said:
“Yes, I would like to go with you, but how do I get out of this tower? Every time you come to see me please bring a skein of silk and I will make a ladder. When it is ready I can climb down and you can take me away.”
Because the old woman was with her during the day the Prince visited her every evening and brought her silk. The old Witch had no idea what was going on. Sadly one day Rapunzel gave herself away when she asked the Witch: Why are you so much harder to pull up than my Prince?
“You disobedient child”, cried the Witch. “I thought I had hidden you safely from the world but you have deceived me.”
In her wrath she seized Rapunzel’s beautiful hair, took a pair of scissors and cut it off: The beautiful plaits fell to the ground. Afterwards  she took Rapunzel to a desert far away and left her there.
On the evening of the day Rapunzel got exiled the Witch fastened the plaits on a hook near the window. When the Prince came and called:
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair,” she let the Rapunzel´s braid down and the Prince climbed up. But instead of Rapunzel he encountered the evil Witch.
” You wanted to meet your love, but she is gone for good, Prince. You will never see her again.” she said.
In his despair and in spite of the height the Prince jumped straight down from the tower. He fell into thorns that hurt his eyes and blinded him. After this he wandered blindly through the world, lonely and lamenting the loss of his Rapunzel.
He wandered around for years and at last he came to the desert where Rapunzel was living. He recognised her beautiful voice singing. He walked in the direction of the sound, and when he came close, Rapunzel recognised him, ran into his arms and wept. When her tears touched his eyes a miracle happened and he could see again. He led her to his kingdom, where they lived happily ever after.

architecture-turm Rapunzel Photosforyou

Versions

There are plenty versions of the Rapunzel story. In some versions Rapunzel is exiled to other remote places, being pregnant (with twins) or not. But the two lovers always find each other in the end. What happens with the witch is not clear.

This fairy tale is puzzling to me

Eating rampion during pregnancy does not seem to make the child smart. Or is it the hair colour? The disaster unfolds when Rapunzel gives herself away. Why on earth do they make it so complicated to escape and deicide to fabricate a ladder of silk? She could have cut her own hair off, too.

Did they never hear of rope ladders? Even a rope with a few knots would have done the trick. The two protagonists are young and agile after all.

Why would his people leave the Prince alone and not search for him? Is a blind prince not fit to rule? Is there discrimination involved?

Well, after all these complications hardships, and endurance follow and the happy end due to magic healing gives us all peace.

Hardships were seen as a way to heaven

When the fairy tale was originally written life was very hard. The clergy and gentry had a great interest in ruling obedient people. The people were taught, also by fairy tales, to endure their hardships quietly here on earth. They were promised a reward for this later in heaven.

Behind the Scenes of the Fairy Tale Country of Rapunzel

Great Hair Magic

This country is popular for its hair magic In the Fairy Tale Dimension. The magicians and hairdressers who live here have a very long tradition of growing and grooming hair for humans and other species.

There are potions that make any hair grow fast and in all kinds of colours and textures. The hairdressers are able to fabricate all kinds of crazy hair- and beard-styles that would not be possible without a generous dose of magic.

The hair-magicians are very popular and often invited for festivities in other fairy tale countries. Their creations are status symbols for vain kings and queens.

man-josephmelo

The lay of Rapunzel land

The countryside is characterised by dense woods, small villages and most importantly many many towers. Some towers are hundreds of metres up, some are under water, some levitate or change place randomly.

They are also in deserts and high mountains. People live by hunting and farm for their food. They generally lead quiet and peaceful lives.

For a few weeks every year however they celebrate a big festival. People from far away visit to take part in get-togethers and parties. They try their luck in contests  climbing the various towers and freeing the people who are incarcerated there.

These festivities are great occasions to meet people and find a mate. This is why the festival is so popular with young people. You can compare it to a music festival in our dimension: There you can meet people from all over who share a similar interest in music.

Role-play is an all time favourite in the Fairy Tale Dimension

A. Some people try to get up and into the towers

So besides crazy hairdos the race to the top of a tower to free the favourite boy or girl is the goal of the game. When you succeed you get to spend time as a twosome in the towersuite with meals served and other amenities before you decide to come back down.

Using magic potions to levitate up the towers is frowned upon as cheating. So people are creative constructing wings, swinging lassos or building ladders.

Some have tried using magic beans to speed their ascent up. But you never know how potent your beans are. When you are unlucky you get thrown over the clouds only to fight with the giants waiting for youin the bean country up above. Or the roots destroy the tower in the process of growing thus ending the game prematurely.

Like so often in the Fairy Tale Dimension the cunning and intelligent people will win the prize.

B. Some people like to play up in the towers

The people in the towers either help the intruders up – with or without employing their hair. Or they fight off unwanted suitors and try to keep them away from the tower by every means they can think of.

It is no surprise that people get hurt and die all the time during the festivities. But remember, in the Fairy Tale Dimension this is not permanent and can be easily remedied – and the game can go on.

Would you like to play in this fairy tale country? What would be your favourite role?

One member of my facebook group requested this behind the scenes look of her favourite fairy tale. If you are interested in how the country of your favourite fairy tale looks like tell me in the comments, write an email or join my facebook group.

You can read a nice version of Rapunzel here.

Pictures: Pixabay

© Inge Schumacher

 

 

 

 

Author: SunnyInge

I blog about the behind the scenes info of The Fairy Tale Dimension and invite you to join me in my discoveries. I also blog in German about my work as a healing practicioner and personal development https://blogphysioenergie.wordpress.com/

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