“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” Prince Charles called.
A golden head poked out of the window of the tall tower. “You aren’t my mother.”
“No.” Charles proclaimed. “I am a prince, summoned by the tale of your capture. I am here to rescue you.”
“My capture?” The girl said. “I’ve been captured? This is the first I have heard of it.”
“You — ”
“This is too far away to have a conversation,” Rapunzel called. “I’ll let down my hair. Leave your weapons on the ground. If you try anything you’ll regret it.”
The girl disappeared and after a moment a braid of hair flew out the window. It was the width of two fingers and stopped just short of the ground.
“It’s so long!” Charles said. “Only a few inches above the ground.”
“Yes!” Rapunzel cheered. “It’s so hard to get the length right! I have a bunch of hair still up here. It’s wrapped around a hook, and I still some left over. Climb on up.”
Charles wrapped the hair around his hand and gripped it tightly. He planted his feet on the tower stone and began to haul himself up.
“So who have I been captured by?” Rapunzel said.
“A witch,” Charles grunted. “She stole you away as a baby and locked you away in a tower with no doors and only one window.”
“It is a very nice window though,” Rapunzel commented.
“I feel like you are taking this very lightly,” Charles said. He readjusted the rope of hair around his hand and pulled himself up. “We are talking about kidnapping here. You are trapped in this tower.”
“You think I’m trapped here?” Rapunzel laughed. “This rope works both ways. I could leave anytime I want.”
“Why don’t you?”
“It would get my hair dirty,” Rapunzel said simply. “Do you know how long it takes to wash all this? That’s the reason we moved into the tower. It’s a lot cleaner up here.”
“Just cut your hair.” Charles said. As he moved up the rope, it gradually unraveled. Half of the hair was no longer in the braid, but it still gave him enough grip to move upward.
“I can’t. Look — ” Rapunzel disappeared for a moment, then reappeared with a sword in her hands. “My hair is indestructible.” She swung the sword at the rope of hair.
“No!” Charles shouted. He was at least halfway up the tower. If he fell he was sure to break a bone.
But the sword bounced off the golden rope without as much as a lock of hair coming loose.
“See?” Rapunzel said. “I can’t cut it. And it’s really annoying too!”
“What?” Charles paused. This was not going the way he expected.
She leaned further out the window. “When I was twelve, my hair started becoming a problem. My mother had never been able to cut it, but living in town meant it was constantly being stepped on and dragged in the dirt. We came here to take care of it. There isn’t any dirt in the tower. Mother travels around trying to find a way to cut it. I suggested we remove the door after someone tried to break in while she was gone. It’s just simpler for me to let her up and not worry about the door.”
“You… don’t sound like you need to be rescued.” Charles admitted.
“I don’t! But thank you for trying.” Rapunzel said. “Will you go back down?”
Charles tried to slide down but found he couldn’t. His hands were tangled in the golden hair.
“Are you stuck?” Rapunzel asked.
Rapunzel laughed, and a moment later another loop of hair was lowered next to Charles. Rapunzel climbed down.
“You can just go for it,” Rapunzel said. “Pull as hard as you can. It’s looped around a hook up there enough times that I can’t feel it. I also have lotion.” She waved the bottle in her hand. “This is not the first time I have come across this problem.”
A few minutes later, Charles was back on his horse. “Are you sure you are good up there?”
“I am sure!” Rapunzel yelled. She waved. “It was nice talking to you!”
Charles shrugged and turned away. That had been one of the strangest conversations he had ever had and he was still without a rescued maiden.
Maybe he could try holding a ball. That had worked for his cousin.