I worry, at times, that Rapunzel exchanged one ivory tower for another; one with bigger windows and more staircases, but a tower nonetheless. I wonder, sometimes, how unhappy she really was, cast out into the wilderness, sheared and alone for the first time in her life. The blinded prince who had left her with child follows the sound of her singing, discovering her hideaway, and I have to ask myself: how happy was she to see him?
She probably loved him, I tell myself; and raising twins on one’s own is anything but easy, wilderness or no. But I doubt very much if the Rapunzel he saw when her tears restored his sight was the same Rapunzel the prince charmed in the tower.
Perhaps she liked being a wild thing. Perhaps the sound of the wolf at her door in the dead of night made her heart race with fear and something else with it. Perhaps bearing life out there in the woods made her realize her own power. Perhaps her hair grew back and she cut it again, with a flint she’d sharpened herself, cutting her dirty, pale hands under the shady trees. After all, she was named after a plant, a growing thing, and plants grow best where their roots can dig deep, away from others who would steal their sunlight.
Perhaps Rapunzel didn’t need any more rescuing. Perhaps she didn’t have a choice.
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