Mirror, mirror on my the wall
Who’s the silliest blogger of all?
Thank Goodness It’s Fairy Tale Friday.
I am going to try to review at least one fairy tale a month on the blog.
Maybe on the first Friday of each month?
But this just happens to be the second Friday in May, so maybe not. I am usually a day late and always a dollar short for everything I do. So even if I plan to post Fairy Tale Friday on the first Friday of the month, it most likely will be the second Friday of the month before it actually happens. Might even be on Saturday.
That’s just the way I roll.
I think fairy tales have so much to offer. Strong lessons, good versus bad characters, the moral characters almost always triumphing over the evil ones. Usually some magic, an animal or two with human characteristics. Set in far away, enchanted places like forests and castles.
And they typically have happy endings.
What’s not to love?
Today I am reviewing a version of “Rapunzel” that I came across while subbing at El Paso High School library, which would be another great setting for fairy tales.
See what I mean? Beautiful. And supposedly haunted.
Alas, we’ll save that story for another Friday. Maybe a freaky Friday in October?
The original Rapunzel can be traced back much earlier than the story’s first published version, which is attributed to the Brothers Grimm. Earlier accounts featuring similar characters and story lines can be traced back to 3rd century Turkey and the legend of Saint Barbara; 17th century Italy and the folktale of “Petrosinella” (little parsley in Italian); late 17th century France with a more adult version (those French!) entitled “Persinette” (little parsley in French). [source]
Little Parsley underwent a name change in the late 18th century with the first German version of the story. Our fair maiden was transformed from some form of Little Parsley to the German word “rapunzel” which can be translated to mean (little) “field salad,” “corn salad,” or “lamb’s lettuce”. [source]
(Given those choices, I will take parsley, thank you)
The Grimm boys published their R-rated “Rapunzel” in early 19th century, then provided a PG-rated version of the story for children in 1857. [source]
The idea of a ‘hair ladder’ first appeared in a tale from 10th century Persia in which a woman offers to lower her hair to her suitor so he can climb up to her. Being the good guy that fairy tales are made of he throws up a rope instead to avoid hurting his love. [source]
(Now he’s obviously a keeper)
Our version of the story, Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale, is retold by Lynn Roberts and illustrated by David Roberts. It was published by Harry Abrams, Inc. in 2003 and can be purchased through Amazon.com here.
In this modern (maybe ’60’s) version of the fairy tale, our main character lives in a dilapidated and abandoned, inner city apartment building with her aunt Esme and her aunt’s pet crow Roach. Aunt Esme comes and goes via Rapunzel’s long red braid since the elevator in their building is broken. She rides a motor cycle with the license plate EV1L to her job as lunch lady at a neighborhood school. Roach accompanies her to the cafeteria and steals things from the students for Esme to give to Rapunzel, keeping her entertained with old magazines and records, and an occasional afternoon of television watching.
One morning on his way to school, Roger spies the lunch lady lowering herself down by Rapunzel’s locks. He immediately recognizes the old bag from the cafeteria and decides to follow her home from school that afternoon. Roger knows he must meet Rapunzel when he sees the beautiful girl to which the rope of hair is attached. The following day, he waits for Aunt Esme to leave then mimics her voice to get Rapunzel to lower her plait.
As you might predict, R and R immediately feel like they have known each other forever. Before long, our boy Rog starts coming by in the morning on his way to school and drops in at lunch to serenade Rap with guitar music and songs he has written for her.
He longs to show his lady love the big beautiful world beyond the deserted building but how can Rapunzel lower herself from the building to freedom?
With a rope fashioned from old belts and scarves, that’s how. But before our star-crossed lovers can put their plan into action, Esme learns of their friendship, chops off Rapunzel’s braid, and forces the girl to climb down her own hair and go into the world alone.
Esme waits for Rog to return for a visit. When he calls for Rapunzel to lower her hair, the wicked aunt (finally something other than a wicked step-mother), tosses the braid over the balcony. As Roger reaches the top, Esme pushes him back over the edge and he falls to the ground, cushioned only by the hair that has fallen down with him. He hits his head, is knocked unconscious and wakes later with amnesia.
This is the stuff soap operas are made of!
I won’t give away the ending because librarians never do that when they give a book talk!
But I will say this Austin Powers-flavored, fractured fairy tale does have the requisite happy ending for almost everyone.
It’s totally groovy. Shagadelic, baby.
Hugs and kisses,