They Lived Happily Ever After
They Lived Happily Ever After
Once upon a time, there lived a poor miller who had a very beautiful daughter. One afternoon she went to the market to buy vegetables. On her way back she got caught in a sudden shower and got drenched. Next morning she woke up with a bad cold. Her father took her to the doctor's house to get medicine.
There they were greeted by the doctor's old mother who was a little hard of hearing. Gossiping was her favourite pastime.
"Who's sick Mr Miller? You or the miss?" she asked.
Mr Miller patted his daughter and said, "My poor girl has caught cold."
"She got gold? How nice!"
"No no, she's suffering from cold today."
"Really? She's spinning gold from hay?"
The miller sighed and shook his head.
"Treat your ears," said he.
"Don't you fear," replied the old lady. "I won't tell anyone."
The doctor called them in and the conversation ended there.
The gossipy old mother told all her neighbours that the miller's daughter had spun gold from hay. Soon the news reached the ears of the king.
"Call that girl," ordered the king. "She must spin gold for me too."
Miss Miller was soon brought before the king.
"I hear that you can spin gold from hay. Is that true?" asked the king.
Miss Miller was too frightened to speak. She could barely shake her head which was mistaken for a nod. The king took her to a chamber in which lay a spinning wheel and a huge stack of hay.
"I want you to spin all this hay into gold by tomorrow morning. Else you will be thrown into the prison," said the king before leaving.
Miss Miller was a prisoner in that room as the door was locked from outside.
The poor girl started crying in fear. An old palace maid took pity and decided to help her. She visited her late at night and tapped on the window. When Miss Miller looked she said, "I know a sorceress who knows the art of hypnotism. She can hypnotize the king into believing that all this hay has been spun into gold. But she won't do it for free. What can you give her in return?"
"My gold chain," replied the girl.
"That will do," replied the palace maid and went to call the sorceress.
Next morning when the king came to see Miss Miller he found an old woman standing outside her room. She was the sorceress Rumpelstiltskin. She steadily looked into the king's eyes and hypnotized him. The king opened the door and his eyes got dazzled by the sight of gold. He was hypnotized into thinking that the hay had been spun into gold.
The king ordered his minister to deposit the contents of the room into the Royal Treasury. The confused minister looked at the stacks of hay and wondered if the king had gone haywire. But no one had the guts to question the king's command.
That night the king again locked Miss Miller in the room with larger stacks of hay. Again Rumpelstiltskin came to her rescue in exchange for her gold ring. Next morning the confused minister again deposited useless stacks of hay into the Royal Treasury.
But Miss Miller revolted on the third night.
"Do I have to spend every night of my life doing this?" asked she.
"Of course not," replied the king, feeling a little ashamed. "Do this for the last time and, as a reward, you become my queen tomorrow."
Miss Miller agreed and waited for Rumpelstiltskin to arrive. But this time she had nothing to offer in exchange for her service.
"Okay then, promise to give me your firstborn and I help you again," said Rumpelstiltskin.
"I promise," said the girl and Rumpel rescued her again.
Next day the king married Miss Miller and made her his queen. Soon she became pregnant.
The old palace maid informed Rumpelstiltskin about the queen's pregnancy. But Rumpel knew that the queen would never part with her child. Hence she patiently waited till the queen gave birth to her babies. Soon the queen gave birth to lovely twins, a girl and a boy.
Rumpel hypnotized the guards one night and sneaked into the sleeping queen's chamber. She stole the newborn princess and escaped from that kingdom.
The princess' kidnapping led to a huge hue and cry in the kingdom. The king left no stones unturned to find his daughter and her kidnapper, but all his efforts went in vain. The princess was never found.
Rumpelstiltskin took the Princess to her old castle on the top of a steep cliff. She named her Rapunzel.
Years went by. Rapunzel grew up into a beautiful young girl with long, luxurious hair. Rumpelstiltskin, who lied to Rapunzel that she was her mother, made sure that Rapun never went out of the castle. But she did not know that Rapun often sneaked out of the castle on weekdays.
Rumpelstiltskin visited the castle every weekend to spend some time with her foster daughter. Rapun would let down a rope ladder from the balcony for Rumpel to climb up the cliff and reach the castle. From a distance, the narrow brown rope ladder could be mistaken as Rapunzel's long brown braid. Rumours spread that a witch entered the castle by climbing the long braid of a beautiful young woman. Rapun and Rumpel, who were oblivious to these rumours, led their lives in their usual ways.
Rapunzel felt bored on the days her foster mother was away from the castle. One such day she was loitering on the terrace when her eyes suddenly fell on a flying man in the sky. It was none other than Aladin who was paragliding. Much to Rapun's astonishment, Aladin landed right on the roof of the castle. He too was surprised to find Rapunzel there. The two started talking and soon became friends.
"How did you learn to fly Aladin?" asked Rapunzel. "I wish I too could fly like a bird."
"It's called paragliding. Would you like to join me?" asked Aladin.
"I'd love to," replied Rapunzel.
Aladin securely attached Rapun to his paragliding belt and got ready for the jump.
"Rapun, are you ready?"
"Oh yes Aladin, can't wait to fly!"
Aladin went to the pit side of the cliff and jumped into the abyss. The parachute opened and the two started floating in the air. Rapunzel yelled in glee as she found herself flying like a bird. Aladin adjusted the strings to go higher and higher up into the air. The two friends were having a great time when suddenly Rapunzel slipped through the belt and fell down. Luckily she landed on huge stacks of hay on the roof of a palace. But Aladin did not see that and felt sure that he had lost his friend. He returned to his kingdom with a heavy heart.
Little did Rapunzel know that the palace she had landed on belonged to her father, the king. The stacks of hay on which she fell were the same that were once 'spun into gold' by her mother, the queen. After the hypnotic spell of Rumpelstiltskin wore off the king realised that he had been fooled by his queen. At first he was angry with her but when she explained how the deafness of the doctor's gossipy old mother had created this misunderstanding he understood his foolish mistake and forgave her. The stacks of hay were kept on the palace roof for drying. As luck would have it, Rapunzel fell on those stacks and got saved.
Rapunzel found no one on the roof. The door leading to the staircase was also locked. It was almost evening. Rapun felt hungry and tired. She found an attic at one corner of the roof. There were a bed and a sackful of apples inside it. Rapun ate a couple of apples, lay down on the bed and fell fast asleep.
Prince Charlie was the friend of Rapunzel's twin brother, Prince Rupert. Charlie had arrived on the previous day to attend his friend's birthday party which was to be celebrated that evening.
Charlie was an early riser. He woke up before the others in the palace had come out of their slumber. He brushed and dressed and headed for the terrace to do his morning workouts. He unbarred the door and stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air. The open door of the attic attracted his curiosity. He peeped inside and was surprised to find an exquisitely beautiful girl sleeping on the bed. Charlie was enchanted by her beauty and couldn't take his eyes off her.
"I have never seen a more beautiful girl," he muttered to himself. "I'll marry her and make her my queen."
Carried away by his romantic dreams Charlie bent down and softly kissed Rapunzel on her forehead. Rapun slowly opened her eyes. The sight of Charlie nearly made her jump out of her skin.
"Wh...Who are you?" she stammered.
"I'm Prince Charlie, a friend of Prince Rupert."
"Yes. Today is his birthday."
"Today is my birthday too."
"Is that so? Happy birthday Sleeping Beauty."
"Thanks. My name is Rapunzel."
"Nice to meet you Rapunzel. By the way, you have an uncanny similarity with Prince Rupert. Maybe you are his long lost twin sister?"
"I don't have a brother."
"Anyway, it doesn't matter who you are, I have fallen in love with you and want to marry you."
Just then the door opened and Prince Rupert entered. He had come in search of his friend Charlie. He was surprised to find Rapunzel with him.
"Who's she Charlie?" he asked.
"She's Rapunzel and I'm going to marry her."
But Rupert was not listening. He closely looked at Rapunzel and noticed her similarity with him. He knew that he had a twin sister who was kidnapped years back and was never found. Could it be possible that this girl was his long lost sister?
The king and queen were also shocked at Rupert's similarity with Rapunzel. They called the midwife who was present at the time of the twin's birth. The old woman remembered that the newborn princess had a birthmark on her left shoulder. She found the same birthmark on Rapunzel's left shoulder and confirmed that she indeed was the lost princess.
The royal family's joys knew no bounds. They had at last found their lost child. Arrangements were made for a gala twin birthday celebration. Amidst the festivities, Prince Charlie expressed his wish to marry Princess Rapunzel. The king and queen happily accepted his proposal, but the princess refused to marry Charlie.
"I am in love with someone else," said she.
"And who's he?" asked her father.
"He's a boy from our village. His name is Jack."
"You want to marry a common village boy? That's preposterous!"
"But father, Jack is no ordinary boy. He has outsmarted and killed a giant-sized villain with his intelligence. He can play the harp very well. His hen gives the best eggs in the village. His dog is famous for catching thieves."
The king and queen had to give in to Rapunzel's wishes as they did not want to hurt her feelings. Prince Charlie returned to his kingdom broken-hearted.
Soon Rapun and Jack got married ceremoniously. Apart from other gifts, the king gave a gold kennel for Jack's dog, a gold coop for his hen, a gold harp for himself, a hundred acres of fertile agricultural land and a huge sack of choicest bean seeds to cultivate that land. Jack utilized his gifts with prudence and intelligence. Soon he became the richest farmer of that kingdom. His main agricultural product was beans, most of which he exported to foreign lands.
With financial prosperity and the ruling party's (king) support behind them, Rapunzel and Jack lived happily ever after.