Fairy tale origins Rapunzel

Rapunzel is another ‘German’ fairytale derived from the French. It started with Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force, also called Mademoiselle de La Force and a story called Persinette. Later, the name was changed to Rapunzel by Friedrich Schulze. Giambattista Basile (Also responsible for the earliest versions of Sleeping Beauty though his was called Solei Lunae et Talia. Oh, we will get to THAT)

Petrosinella by Giambattista Basile starts with the basics of the story we know (Unless you only believe Disney’s lies… forewarning, I might ruin your childhood) A woman who wants Parsley sends her husband to steal it from the house next door. The problem is the house next door belongs to a bitch ogress (Pre-Shrek ogres are horrible creatures who like to eat babies, so really she’s trading one tasty snack of parsley for a tasty snack of newborn.) the husband is caught and to save his own skin, agrees to hand over the baby. Yeah dad of the year here, so maybe it’s good the baby is going to someone else… oh captain obvious moment. Mrs. “I need parsley now” is already preggo. What happened to normal cravings like pickles and ice cream? Anyway kid is born promised to ogress blah blah blah… she comes and collects the girl when she turns 7.  maybe the ogress forgot maybe she had indigestion. For whatever reason she picks a 7 year old girl and decides not to eat her. We also aren’t told the logic behind locking her in a tower and growing her hair out to incredible lengths. Skip to years and years and YEARS later. The ogress climbs the girls hair and brings her food and what not. Eventually a prince stumbles along and finds her. He comes to visit a few times and the pair fall in love. Eventually, the prince brings a rope and helps her down. The girl leads him to the ogress garden and picks 3 acorns ( because grabbing food items from the witch worked SO WELL in the past)The pair run off and the ogress comes after them. as is common, they throw the acorns and they turn into animals. One by one they chase her off, but she always returns and tries again until they throw the last one and it turns into a fierce wolf and eats her whole.

Mademoiselle de La Force changed the ogress to a fairy who loved the girl she adopts and puts her in the tower as protection. the prince finds her and promises when she gets out, he will marry her. For whatever reason, he doesn’t have rope, but her brings her some rope making material. Slowly day by day, the girl makes a rope, hiding it under the bed when the fairy comes. the prince visits the girl often and the pair get very friendly and the girl gets pregnant. After some time, the fairy notes the girl in the tower is gaining weight even though her diet is the same. The fairy learns the girl is pregnant and cuts off her hair then banishes her to a small house in the woods.  The prince comes to the tower again and the witch tricks him into climbing the hair rope. The fairy curses him blind and pushes him out the window. Blind and confused, the prince wanders about for around 10 years before he accidentally comes across the house. The girl recognizes him and rushes out to hug him. When her affection confuses him more, she cries for her lost love which somehow fixes his blindness. He sees the girl and recognizes her at once. They live together with their twin girls in the house the fairy set up, but this angers the fairy and she tries a few tricks to run him off. Drought, famine, animals etc. But the prince stays with his lover and their children. The Fairy realizes the girl is happy with the prince and her children, so she magics them to the princes palace and bows out. the pair marry and live happily ever after.

Friedrich Schulze is the first to name her Rapunzel. He keeps most of the french version, changing the parsley to a weird German cabbage that makes the parsley craving normal. In this version a witch takes the baby and the prince can’t think of  any way to get her down. The witch banishes her to a wasteland where she gives birth to the girls and eventually finds the prince, who this time was blinded by thorns.

The Brothers Grimm take away the baby aspect,Rapunzel is made into a complete twit and asks the witch why she’s heavier than the prince.  the rest of the story is basically the same.

Now we come to Disney and man did they make a MESS! To be fair, an hour and a half of a girl sitting in the tower would make the most patient of kids wonder off. Instead of a girl married to peasants who’s mother craved green food. Now we have a magic flower used to save the life of the queen. The baby is then imbued with the magic of the flower ( Who’s your daddy? No really is she the kings baby or somehow the flower changed her DNA? Is she part plant? Like would she bleed chloroform? do we really want to know?) There’s an evil witch who was using the flower to remain young. She kidnaps the baby and locks her in a tower where no one will find her and return her to the king and queen.  18 years later Rapunzel knows her name and her age but no one shes comes across can figure out she’s the princess.  she runs away with a ‘lovable rogue’ (BTW Disney, get rid of these. it’s a cliche and a double standard. Also dangerously close to the ‘heal with love’ trope that is dangerous) adventure, madness and one kick-ass horse later the pair get married and live happily ever after.


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