Rapunzel Story: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Evans

Mary has taught elementary school for six years and has a master's degree in education.

Most people remember the famous line, 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair', but do you know the whole story? In this lesson, you'll learn about the origins, plot, and lasting impact of the 'Rapunzel' story!

A Fairy Tale

Did you know that ''Rapunzel'' is a fairy tale, which is a type of traditional literature? That means it probably started off being told by word of mouth instead of being written down, and it has been changed and retold many times by now.

Fairy tales often have a good and an evil character, magical elements, royal characters, and characters who are impoverished (very poor). It's the type of story that usually begins with, ''Once upon a time ...'' The German fairy tale ''Rapunzel'' was famously published by the Grimm Brothers in 1812, although the story was most likely based on an Italian story from the early 1600s that drew on similar tales.

The Basic Story

Once upon a time there was a very poor couple who were expecting their first child. The mother had a craving for an herb called ''rapunzel,'' but they couldn't afford to buy any.

So the husband, desperate to help his wife, stole some from their next-door neighbor - who happened to be an evil witch, Dame Gothel. The witch caught him and let him go, but only if he promised to give her the baby when it was born.

The baby turned out to be the beautiful Rapunzel, named for the herb her mother craved. The witch locked Rapunzel in a tall tower with no stairs, and she visited the girl by climbing her long hair to the top of the tower.

One day a prince was riding through the forest and heard Rapunzel's beautiful voice. He figured out how to visit her by calling, ''Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,'' and they fell in love.

Rapunzel provides her hair as a ladder for Dame Gothel - and the prince.
Rapunzel lets down her hair

The witch discovered what had been going on, cut Rapunzel's hair, and tricked the prince by letting the hair down herself. He was quite surprised to find a witch in the tower instead of Rapunzel, and he jumped out of the tower in despair.

He was blinded by thorns, and wandered the forest looking for Rapunzel. He eventually heard her lovely voice again, and they were reunited. Her tears brought his sight back, and they lived - you guessed it! - happily ever after.

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