At a young age, a small girl named Rapunzel was locked away in a tower. She had committed no crime besides being young, fair, and innocent. Her Guardian, an old, shrewish and secretive woman, put Rapunzel in the top most room of the tall tower which had no doors and only one tiny window through which Rapunzel watched the world pass her by. Her only reprieve was when her Guardian came to visit her. The old woman would stand at the base of the tower and call “Rapunzel, Rapenzel, let your hair down!” In answer Rapunzel would uncoil her most valuable asset, her long straight hair. She would unwind the yards-long twist that bound the top of her head until it reached the ground and the old woman would climb up and into the window.
The old woman, her Guardian, would visit her every few days, bringing food and any other amenities that Rapunzel might need. For the first few years Rapunzel was just happy for a chance to talk to her, to talk to another person, to hear about the world outside. However, as time went by she became more and more restless. She yearned for a chance to see the towns and people that she only glimpsed from her window. One day she got up the courage to ask her Guardian if she could go out, just for a while. The old woman was furious. She provided Rapunzel with everything she might need and kept her safe, and more importantly, innocent, up in her high tower. Once her temper had cooled she felt badly for how she had scolded her dear, sweet, naïve Rapunzel. So when she next came to visit she brought with her a lovely loom for Rapunzel to learn to weave on, so that the girl would keep occupied and not dream of the outside.
Rapunzel spent hours at the loom, weaving everything the old woman would bring to her. But it was always small amounts; the old woman never brought her enough yarn to weave anything substantial. In the evenings, as the sun cast long, golden rays over the land, Rapunzel would stand at the window and comb out her long hair until it fell about her and snaked across the room in a shimmering river. One evening as she was plying her comb she noticed the hair that naturally collected there, she usually tossed it out with the waste, but today a new thought crept into her mind. For weeks she had contemplated what a fine rope her lovely hair would make, but if she cut it all off her Guardian would know. However, if she saved it up, over time, wove in the night (the old woman never visited at night), she could create her own rope. What a lovely dream she thought. She could climb down whenever she pleased and see the world for herself instead of relying on the old woman’s tales.
Weeks, then months followed. As time went on she became even more determined to see her plan to its end. She began pacing in her small room, running until she became winded, so if she was ever pursued she could escape. The weaving had already strengthened her arms, but she would also pull herself up on the bar of her four poster bed only using her arms. She would need strength to climb down the rope. As the rope grew longer she grew more joyful. She would take the rope from its hiding place beneath her bed and gaze at it, her creation, her freedom. The old woman noticed the change in her, and was gladdened, presuming that Rapunzel had finally overcome her discontentment and was settling into her imprisoned life.
The day finally arrived and Rapunzel could hardly contain her joy, and keep her mind on what the old woman was saying. The rope was complete and as soon as the old woman was well out of sight she would climb down, just for a while, and see the world. It seemed the old woman would never leave, but Rapunzel kept her smile pasted on, and eventually she did. Rapunzel watched her walk around the bend in the path and disappear, and then she jumped into action. She fixed the rope to the bed, gathered up a few small things she had prepared and bundled them onto her back, tied her skirts up to form rudimentary pants (lest they get in her way), tossed the rope out the window, and climbed down.
Once her feet were firmly on the ground she threw up her arms and laughed. She had never felt such joy and fulfillment from an accomplishment before. She skipped and danced in the growing twilight and then disappeared down the path herself.