|RAPUNZEL (the pc version)
by James Finn Garner***
|There once lived an economically disadvantaged tinker and his wife. His lack of material accomplishment is not meant to imply that
all tinkers are economically marginalized, or that if they are, they deserve to be so. While the archetype of the tinker is generally the
whipping person in classical bedtime stories, this particular individual was a tinker by trade and just happened to be economically
The tinker and his wife lived in a little hovel next to a modest estate of a local witch. From their window, they could see the witch's
meticulously kept garden, a nauseating attempt to impose human notions of order onto Nature.
The wife of the tinker was pregnant, and as she gazed at the witch's garden, she began to crave some of the lettuce she saw growing
there. She begged the tinker to jump the fence and get some for her. The tinker finally submitted and at night he jumped the wall and
liberated some of the lettuce. But before he got back, the witch caught him.
Now this witch was very kindness-impaired. (This is not meant to imply that all, or even some, witches are that way, nor to deny this
particular witch her right to express whatever disposition came naturally to her. Far from it, her disposition was without doubt due to
many factors of her upbringing and socialization, which unfortunately, must be omitted here in the interest of brevity.)
As mentioned earlier, the witch was kindness impaired, and the tinker was extremely frightened. She held him by the scruff of his
neck and asked, "Where are you going with my lettuce?"
The tinker might have argued with her over the concept of ownership and stated that the lettuce rightfully "belonged"
to anyone who was hungry and had the nerve enough to take it. Instead, in a degrading spectacle, he pleaded for
mercy. "It was my wife's fault," he cried in a characteristically male manner. "She is pregnant and has a craving for
some of your lovely lettuce. Please spare me. Although a single-parent household is certainly acceptable, please
don't kill me and deprive my child of a stable, two-parent family structure." The witch thought for a moment, then let
go of the tinker's neck and disappeared without a word. The tinker gratefully went home with the lettuce. A few
months later, and after agonizing pain that a man will never really be able to appreciate, the tinker's wife gave birth to
a beautiful, healthy pre-wommon. They named the baby Rapunzel, after a type of lettuce.
Not long after this, the witch appeared at their door, demanding that they give her the child in return for the witch's
having spared the tinker's life in the garden. What could they do? Their powerless station in life had always left them
open to exploitation, and this time they felt they had no alternative. They gave Rapunzel to the witch, who sped away.
The witch took the child deep into the woods and imprisoned her in a tall tower, the symbolism of which should be
obvious. There Rapunzel grew to wommonhood. The tower had no door nor stairs, but it did boast a single window
at the top. The only way for anyone to get to the window was for Rapunzel to let down her long, luxurious hair and
climb it to the top, the symbolism of which would also be obvious.
The witch was Rapunzel's only companion. She would stand at the foot of the tower and shout:
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,
That I might climb your golden stair."
Rapunzel obediently did as she was told. Thus for years she let her body be exploited for the transportational needs of another.
The witch loved music and taught Rapunzel to sing. They passed many long hours singing together in the tower.
One day a young prince rode near the tower and heard Rapunzel singing. But as he rode closer to find the source of the lovely
sound, he spied the witch and hid himself and his equine companion in the trees. He watched as the witch called out to
Rapunzel, her hair fell down, and the witch climbed up. Again, he heard the beautiful singing. Later, when the witch finally exited
the tower and disappeared in the other direction, the prince came out of the woods and called up:
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.
That I might climb your golden stair."
The hair cascaded down from the window, and he climbed up.
When the prince saw Rapunzel, her greater-than-average physical attractiveness and her long, luxurious hair led him to think, in
a typically lookist way, that her personality would also be beautiful. (This is not to imply that all princes judge people solely on
their appearance, nor to deny this particular prince his right to make such assumptions. Please see the
disclaimers in the paragraphs above.)
The prince said, "Oh beautiful damsel, I heard you singing as I rode by on my horse. Please sing for me
Rapunzel didn't know what to make of this person, since she had never seen a man up close before. He
seemed a strange creature -- large, hairy in the face, and possessing a strong, musky odor. For
reasons she could not explain, Rapunzel found this combination somewhat attractive and opened her
mouth to sing.
"Stop right there!" screamed a voice from the window. The witch had returned!
"How . . . how did you get up here?" Rapunzel asked.
"I had an extra set of hair made, in case of emergency," said the witch matter-of-factly. "And this
certainly looks like one. Listen to me, Prince! I built this tower to keep Rapunzel away from men like you.
I taught her to sing, training her voice for years. She'll stay here and sing for no one but me, because I
am the only one who truly loves her."
"We can talk about your codependency problems later," said the prince. "But first let me hear . . . Rapunzel, is it? . . . let me hear
"NO!" screamed the witch. "I'm going to throw you from the tower into the thorn-of-color bushes below so that your eyes will be gouged
out and you'll wander the countryside cursing your bad luck for the rest of your life!"
"You may want to reconsider that," said the prince. "I have some friends in the recording industry, you see, who would be very interested
in . . . Rapunzel, wasn't it? Different, kind of catchy, I suppose . . . "
"I knew it! You want to take her from me!"
"No, no, I want you to continue to train her, to nurture her . . . as her manager," said the prince. "Then, when the time is right, say a week
or two, you can unleash her talent on the world and we can all rake in the cash."
The witch paused for a second to think about this, and her demeanor visibly softened. She and the prince began to discuss record
contracts and video deals, as well as possible marketing ideas, including life-like Rapunzel dolls with their very own miniature stereo
As Rapunzel watched, her suspicions turned into revulsion. For years, her hair had been exploited for the transportational needs of
others. Now they wanted to exploit her voice as well. "So, rapaciousness does not depend solely on gender,"
she realized with a sigh.
Rapunzel edged her way to the window without being seen. She stepped out and climbed down the second set
of hair to the prince's waiting horse. She dislodged her hair and took it with her as she rode off, leaving the
witch and the prince to argue about royalties and percentages in their phallus-shaped tower.
Rapunzel rode to the city and rented a room in a building that had real stairs. She later established the non-
profit Foundation for the Free Proliferation of Music and cut off her hair for a fund-raising auction. She sang for
free in coffee houses and art galleries for the rest of her days, always refusing to exploit for money other
people's desires to hear her sing.
|***Material (text) copyright
James Finn Garner. All