Rapunzel, a Retelling
© Lisa Asanuma, 2009
My mother wasn’t quite the woman the stories have made her out to be. Ugly, cruel, to lock a beautiful young girl up in a tower with no chance of escape and no one but herself for company.
The truth was, I went in willingly. She didn’t force me, or put me into an enchanted sleep until the deed was done. She told me she wanted to protect me, to keep me from the horrible things of the world. And I was a vain and naïve child. She told me I was beautiful and I believed her—it was very lucky for me that I truly was. She might have had a twisted perspective of the world, and she might have taken advantage of my young and trusting mind, but I did trust her, and if I had the option of going back now—not to the tower, understand, but to her—I probably would.
She had been beautiful once, and loved and admired for her talents, one of the last of her kind, of the revered witches. She was born too late, outlived her sisters, was chased and persecuted. Can you blame her for wanting to hold fast to something, someone she loved?
I harbor no illusions, however. I know she is not my true mother, that she stole me from a pair of peasants as a display of power. I’ve seen them, since, the woman staring longingly after me, a woman who looks like me, who I used to dream of though I was hardly old enough to remember her when I was taken.
But that woman never brushed my long golden hair, or told me stories of the songs the moon would sing, long ago, as my mother did. My rescuer would only have me remember that in my tower I had no door, but I had a window, and the sky, and every possibility open to the imagination that those things could bring me.
It was more difficult than I can tell to leave that cozy room, full of all the lovely things she could give me. To give up my entire world, just for him. She would most likely kill me now, the poor woman, as I’ve betrayed all her trust and broken her heart. That he is a prince, that he is rich and handsome and benevolent, is easily enough understood. That he is worth it… remains to be seen.