Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/305

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[No. 10.] Title of Story.— Rapunzei.

Dramatis Personae-— Man and wife. — Enchantress.— Kapunzel. — King's son. — Twin children.

Abstract of Story- — (l) A man and "woman who have long wished for a child at length have hopes that heaven will grant their prayer. A back window of their house overlooks a beautiful garden full of flowers and herbs, and surrounded by a high wall. None dare enter it, as it belongs to a wicked enchantress. One day the sight of a bed of fresh green rampion (rapunzel) excites in the woman such a craving to eat some that day by day she pines away with insatiable longing. Her affectionate husband becoming alarmed at this, decides to clamber down the wall one evening and procure the rampion, at whatever cost. Having much enjoyed her salad, the woman's longing for more is increased threefold ; but on his second descent to the garden her husband encounters the enchantress. — (2) The terrified thief pleads for mercy, explaining the necessitous case. The enraged enchant- ress becomes softened, and permits him to take as much rampion as he will, on condition that he gives to her the longed-for child j and she will treat it kindly. In his terror he consents; and when the child is born the enchant- ress appears, gives her the name of Rapunzel, and takes her away. — (3) The girl is very beautiful, and at the age of twelve the enchantress shuts her in a tower which lies in a forest, and has neither stair nor door, and only one small window at the top. Rapunzel has magnificent golden hair which she winds round a hook in the window, and lets fall down twenty ells to make a ladder for the enchantress to climb up by.— (4) After a year or two the king's son, riding through forest, hears Rapunzel singing, and longs in vain to enter the tower, for he can find no door. Every day he comes to listen to the beautiful voice, till once, by chance, he hears the enchantress cry, " Rapunzel, let down thy hair," and sees her climb up to the window. He returns next day, and when it is dark repeats the same call, and mounts by the same ladder, to the alarm of Rapunzel, whose eyes had never yet beheld such a man. By degrees she loses her fear, and thinking he will love her more than old Dame Gothel does, accepts him as her husband. He agrees to bring a skein of silk every evening, wherewith to weave a ladder for Rapunzel's deliverance. — (5) The enchantress, whose visits are always by day, suspects nothing till Rapunzel remarks how much heavier is Dame Gothel to draw up than the king's son. Then, in her fury, she clutches the beautiful tresses and cuts them off, and transports Rapunzel to a desert where she has to live in misery. — (6) But the enchantress fastens the severed braids of hair to the window-hook, and lets them fall for the kings son to mount by when he calls. Then she mocks him, saying the cat has got his lovely bird, and will scratch out his eyes as well. Mad with despair, he leaps from the tower, and is blinded by the thorns into which he falls. — (7) For some years he wanders about the forest feeding on roots and