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Once upon a time, a couple lived next door to a witch with a beautiful garden. The pregnant wife developed such a craving for the rampion in this garden that the husband snuck into the garden and stole her some. The longing increased, and the husband tried to steal more, only to be caught by the witch, who demanded their unborn child as a consequence.
Sure as her word, the witch took the couple's daughter and called her Rapunzel. When she was twelve, the witch shut Rapunzel into a tall tower without doors, whenever she wanted to enter, she would call, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair", and Rapunzel would lower her extremely long hair for the witch to climb. One day a prince overheard Rapunzel singing, and, having taken an interest in her situation, soon saw how the witch came and went.
He repeated the witch's trick, Rapunzel dutifully let her hair down, and the two made plans to elope. One day, however, Rapunzel accidentally revealed the Prince's existence to the witch, who cut off the girl's hair and banished her to the desert. The witch then lay in wait for the Prince, and pushed him off the tower into a bed of thorns, which blinded him.
The unlucky couple wandered the wasteland for some time (during which Rapunzel bore twins) before running into one another. Rapunzel immediately embraced him, weeping, and her tears fell on his eyes and healed them. He took her back to his kingdom, and they lived Happily Ever After.
The best known version of this story comes from The Brothers Grimm, probably based on Giambattista Basile's Petrosinella. Initially, Rapunzel betrayed the Prince's existence by remarking on how tight her dress was getting around the middle, but the Grimms decided that this was too raunchy and so in later versions, she instead remarked that the witch was much heavier to pull up than her Prince.
The story may have been based on St. Barbara, a Christian martyr said to have been locked away in a tower by her cruel father.
A Disney Animated Canon version of this fairy tale was released in 2010 under the title Tangled as a result of Executive Meddling figuring a non-gender specific title would bring more people in. It went on to become one of Walt Disney Animation Studios' highest-grossing movies of all time.
"Rapunzel" contains examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptation Expansion: Very prone to it. Into the Woods expands on the relationship between Rapunzel and the Witch (as well as Rapunzel's mental state when it's all over...) There is also a graphic novel, Rapunzels Revenge, set in the Old West where the title character escapes on her own, uses her hair as lassos, and sets out to overturn the wicked witch's empire. It's way Better Than It Sounds.
- The novel Zell delves into the psyche of the Witch, the Prince, and Rapunzel. Including the effects of being locked in a tower, devoid of all human contact for months at a time.
- Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics dedicates a whole episode to the tale, delving a bit more on Rapunzel's parents and their deal with the Witch.
- Babies Ever After: Almost all versions end with Rapunzel and the prince living happily ever after with their two children (even if Rapunzel's pregnancy was not mentioned earlier on).
- Distressed Damsel
- Dumb Blonde: More understandable than other cases, as the Witch deliberately kept poor Rapunzel away from the whole world until the Prince came along.
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Enter Stage Window
- Evil Tower of Ominousness
- Eye Scream: The Prince is blinded near the end of the story, either by falling into thorn bushes or by the witch scratching his eyes out.
- The Fair Folk: In early versions, the witch was a fairy.
- Fallen Princess: Genderflipped, as the Prince loses near everything after the incident with the Witch. Though he's restored at the end and brings both Rapunzel and their kiddos with him to his kingdom.
- Girl in the Tower: Possibly the girl in the tower.
- Hair of Gold: Rapunzel, of course. Whether the Prince fits too or not, it deoends on the version itself.
- Handicapped Badass: The prince may qualify as after he's blinded he still searches for Rapunzel on foot. Some versions have him do this for years.
- Happily Ever After
- I Am Not Pretty: Some variations give Rapunzel self-esteem issues, making her believe she's ugly
- Idiot Ball: The Brothers Grimm gave Rapunzel this in their Bowdlerised version when they have her, unprompted, mention the Prince to the witch. The first edition at least makes sense -- Rapunzel wonders aloud why her clothing no longer fits. Unsurprisingly, considering how the girl lived her life, she didn't know she was pregnant.
- The parents also carried an Idiot Ball, considering they lived next door to a woman they knew was a witch and then chose to even risk stealing from her. Wacky Cravings or not that was just dumb in its purest form.
- However, in some versions, the mother's want for the lettuce is so strong that she faces death if she doesn't get it. Also, Medieval beliefs stated that if a pregnant woman doesn'y have her craving satisfied, either the family would suffer bad luck or the lady would die.
- I Will Find You: Even after being blinded, the Prince never stops searching for Rapunzel. And he eventually finds her.
- Knight Templar Parent: Some versions of the witch.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: her parents had long wanted and never had a child. Apparently the witch also wanted a child.
- Love At First Note: The prince for Rapunzel.
- Love At First Sight: Rapunzel for the prince.
- Parental Abandonment: Her father was pretty quick to accepting the witch's deal of some rapunzel lettuce in exchange for his unborn child. Maybe she really was better off with the witch.
- In the original version the lettuce the mother wants so badly is a herb used for abortions. So in a way, the witch saved Rapunzel.
- Pregnant Badass: Rapunzel. Living alone in the desert isn't easy at the best of times, especially for a pregnant young girl who has no survival skills due to being locked away for all her life. Not only she manages to survive, but raises her kid/kids alone until her lover finds her.
- Rapunzel Hair: Trope Namer.
- Shaking Her Hair Loose: Some versions the story say that Rapunzel's long golden hair is braided or tied up 90% of the time, and it's only untied when Mother Gothel or the prince climb up it.
- Swiss Army Tears: Rapunzel's tears unblind the Prince.
- Teen Pregnancy: In the first edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales, Rapunzel is actually pregnant. And gives births to two sons (in some versions a boy and a girl instead, and in others just one kid).
- Traumatic Haircut: Done to Rapunzel by the witch.
- Wacky Cravings: Rapunzel's mother.
- What Happened to the Witch?: In many, if not all, versions of the story, the witch vanishes completely from the story after blinding the prince and sending Rapunzel elsewhere. Where did she go? What happened to her? She just seems to go away, scot-free.
- Wicked Witch: In earlier versions, a fairy.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Rapunzel.