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Colouring Book: Rapunzel
by the Grimm Brothers
There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for
a child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her
desire. These people had a little window at the back of their
house from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full
of the most beautiful flowers and herbs. It was, however,
surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because
it belonged to an enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded
by all the world.
One day the woman was standing by this window and looking down
into the garden, when she saw a bed which was planted with the
most beautiful rampion - Rapunzel, and it looked so fresh and
green that she longed for it, and had the greatest desire to eat
some. This desire increased every day, and as she knew that she
could not get any of it, she quite pined away, and began to look
pale and miserable.
Then her husband was alarmed, and asked, "What ails you, dear
"Ah," she replied, "if I can't eat some of the rampion, which is
in the garden behind our house, I shall die."
The man, who loved her, thought, sooner than let your wife die,
bring her some of the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will.
At twilight, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of
the enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took
it to his wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it
greedily. It tasted so good to her - so very good, that the next
day she longed for it three times as much as before. If he was to
have any rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden.
In the gloom of evening, therefore, he let himself down again. But
when he had clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he
saw the enchantress standing before him.
"How can you dare," said she with angry look, "descend into my
garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You shall suffer for
"Ah," answered he, "let mercy take the place of justice, I only
made up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw your
rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she
would have died if she had not got some to eat."
Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and said to
him, "If the case be as you say, I will allow you to take away
with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one condition,
you must give me the child which your wife will bring into the
world. It shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a
The man in his terror consented to everything, and when the woman
was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the
child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun. When
she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower,
which lay in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite
at the top was a little window. When the enchantress wanted to go
in, she placed herself beneath it and cried,
Let down your hair!"
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when
she heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided
tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above,
and then the hair fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress
climbed up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the king's son rode
through the forest and passed by the tower. Then he heard a song,
which was so charming that he stood still and listened. This was
Rapunzel, who in her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet
voice resound. The king's son wanted to climb up to her, and
looked for the door of the tower, but none was to be found. He
rode home, but the singing had so deeply touched his heart, that
every day he went out into the forest and listened to it. Once
when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw that an
enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried,
Let down your hair!"
Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress
climbed up to her. "If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I
too will try my fortune," said he, and the next day when it began
to grow dark, he went to the tower and cried,
Let down your hair!"
Immediately the hair fell down and the king's son climbed up. At
first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as her
eyes had never yet beheld, came to her. But the king's son began
to talk to her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart
had been so stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he had
been forced to see her. Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he
asked her if she would take him for her husband, and she saw that
he was young and handsome, she thought, he will love me more than
old dame gothel does. And she said yes, and laid her hand in his.
She said, "I will willingly go away with you, but I do not know
how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk every time that
you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is
ready I will descend, and you will take me on your horse."
They agreed that until that time he should come to her every
evening, for the old woman came by day.
The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once Rapunzel said
to her, "Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are so much
heavier for me to draw up than the young king's son - he is with
me in a moment."
"Ah! You wicked child," cried the enchantress. "What do I hear you
say. I thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you
have deceived me."
In her anger she clutched Rapunzel's beautiful tresses, wrapped
them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of scissors with the
right, and snip, snap, they were cut off, and the lovely braids
lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she took poor
Rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great grief and
On the same day that she cast out Rapunzel, however, the
enchantress fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off, to
the hook of the window, and when the king's son came and cried,
Let down your hair!"
she let the hair down. The king's son ascended, but instead of
finding his dearest Rapunzel, he found the enchantress, who gazed
at him with wicked and venomous looks.
"Aha," she cried mockingly, "you would fetch your dearest, but the
beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest. The cat has got
it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is lost to
you. You will never see her again."
The king's son was beside himself with pain, and in his despair he
leapt down from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the
thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes. Then he wandered quite
blind about the forest, ate nothing but roots and berries, and did
naught but lament and weep over the loss of his dearest wife.
Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at length came
to the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins to which she had
given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness. He heard a
voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it,
and when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and
wept. Two of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear again,
and he could see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom
where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long time
afterwards, happy and contented.