“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,” he called up, “Let down your hair.”
I motioned for Rapunzel to stay seated. Her eyes bulged when she saw me pick up her braid and loop it into the iron ring that held the rope. I tied a fast knot and lowered the braid over the edge of the window. I held my finger to my lips to keep Rapunzel from saying a word. She looked nervous and excited and that broke my heart. I should have told her what the prince was really like long ago. I shouldn’t have let her continue to hope.
He quickly made his way up the braid and his expectant smile quickly evaporated into confusion when he saw me at the top of the window. I didn’t want him to see her but Rapunzel stepped aside so she was in view. Let him know what he had done, I decided. I was curious to see what he would do.
He was so startled when he saw me and then Rapunzel, his mouth gaping open, that he lost his footing. He reached out to grab the braid to stop his fall but he missed. He fell back, and in trying to right himself, twisted around and landed face first into the bramble bushes that surrounded our tower. Miraculously, he didn’t seem to have broken any bones because he scrambled up. His face was bloodied and he was clutching his eyes. “My eyes!” he wailed, “I can’t see!”
Rapunzel cried out to him but I guided her away from the window. “I should have told you earlier,” I said, “Sit down, dear.”
I explained my earlier journey to the castle. I told her what I’d found out about the prince. Rapunzel dissolved in tears and seeing her heartbreak made me numb to the cries of the prince outside our tower. I put my arms around my Rapunzel and let her cry.
The next morning, the prince and his horse were gone.
Next up, the happily ever after,...maybe?