I do not like traditional fairy tales. I cannot think of a single princess story in which the girl goes to school or does not get married to a man she has only met once or twice. So I rewrote Rapunzel to be a strong female character. I hope you enjoy this! Reviews will be returned!
Feminist Fairy Tales:
A Retelling of Rapunzel
Once upon a time in the far away kingdom of Northphilia the Queen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Rapunzel. The King and Queen loved Rapunzel very much and surrounded her with love.
But on Rapunzel's first birthday a war broke out in her kingdom. Southphilia began a war with Northphilia. Rapunzel's father was a great leader and defeated the Southphilian army, but one of the Southphilia soldiers was very angry with the king and kidnapped Rapunzel in the middle of the night. When the King and Queen woke up without their daughter they sent out thousands of men to search for Rapunzel but no one was ever able to find her.
After kidnapping Rapunzel the solider was afraid of being caught and left Rapunzel with an old woman that lived on the border of Southphilia. He told her that Rapunzel was a farmer's daughter and the farm burned down, leaving Rapunzel without parents or a home. The old woman took in Rapunzel and raised her as her own child. But the old woman was very mean to Rapunzel. She treated her as a slave. The only thing Rapunzel had of her real family was a beautiful necklace that the old woman said was around her neck when the solider delivered Rapunzel to her home. She allowed Rapunzel to keep the necklace, but she made her do all of the housework, cooking, and cleaning and threatened to sell her necklace if she ever did not do her work. Rapunzel never took the necklace off her neck in fear that the old woman would sell it anyway.
Rapunzel was beautiful. Although she was rarely allowed to leave the house everyone in the town knew of Rapunzel's beauty. On her eighteenth birthday the richest man in Southphilia, Ivan, offered the old woman a large sum of money for Rapunzel's hand in marriage. Eager to get rid of Rapunzel, the old woman happily accepted and arranged for Rapunzel to get married at the end of the week.
All of the other girls in Rapunzel's village were very jealous of her. All of them had dreamed of marrying Ivan, yet Rapunzel, an orphan in the poorest part of town was going to marry the man of their dreams.
But Rapunzel did not want to marry Ivan. Rapunzel had a secret. Every day when the old woman would leave for the market, Rapunzel would sneak to the edge of Southphilia and climb the wall that bordered Northphilia. She loved watching all of the children in Northphilia walk to school. Rapunzel desperately wanted to go to school, but Southphilia did not have a school that girls were allowed to attend. She once asked the old woman if she could teach her how to read, but the old woman laughed at her and told her reading was for boys, girls only needed to know how to do housework.
On the day of Rapunzel's wedding, she begged the old woman to not make her marry Ivan. She did not even know him, and she did not want to be a housewife and mother; she wanted to go to school. But the old woman insisted that this was the best thing for Rapunzel, and that she should be satisfied to be Ivan's wife.
So Rapunzel made a choice, when the old woman went to retrieve Rapunzel's wedding dress, she ran away. Rapunzel knew everyone in Southphilia would recognize her so she ran to the border and climbed over the wall into Northphilia.
Unsure where to go, Rapunzel walked to the school. She nervously knocked at the door and a tall, stern looking teacher opened the door.
"What do you want?" He asked Rapunzel.
"I want to go to school." Rapunzel said.
The teacher looked down at Rapunzel's dirty clothes and messy hair and laughed at her. "You will need to buy a uniform first."
"Oh, but I don't have any money." Rapunzel said.
The teacher sighed annoyed and said, "Well then you cannot attend school." Then he slammed the door in Rapunzel's face.
Rapunzel walked away with tears in her eyes. She was thinking about returning to Southphilia and just marrying Ivan when a man approached her and said, "I heard what the teacher said and I think it's unfair." He paused, "I own a store in town and I could use some help. You can use the money you make for school."
Rapunzel was shocked; she did not know that women could have a job. In Southphilia, only the men were allowed to work. She happily accepted the job and he put her to work.
Rapunzel could only sweep the floors, but each day she earned money. The man who gave her the job taught her how to count the money she made until she had enough money to buy a school uniform. As soon as she had enough money she returned to the school and bought her first uniform.
Rapunzel was the best student in her class. She was finally achieving her dream of being able to read. Once she was able to read and do math, she got a promotion at her job and was able to sell the food at the grocery store. She used her money to buy a little house and she lived happily each day waking up, going to school, going to work, and then going to her own little home.
Four years went by and Rapunzel still kept learning. Although she could by now read and write and even do math, she still wanted to learn more. She was at the top of her class. She used the money she earned at the grocery store to buy books and what she did not use for books, she saved so that someday she could buy an even bigger home. Rapunzel could not imagine her life being any better.
One day during school, the teacher had an important announcement. The King and Queen were here to teach the class for the day. Rapunzel was very excited to meet the King and Queen. She had always wanted to meet someone of royalty.
Rapunzel watched anxiously as the King walked through the door. He was a tall, handsome man and she could not believe she had the honor to meet him. But then in walked Queen, Rapunzel let out a gasp, she looked exactly like her.
The King and Queen began to tell about the kingdom's history starting with the first rulers of Northphilia. As they moved on with their history lesson they got to the war. When they told about the end of the war, they both began to cry. Rapunzel wondered why they were crying until they said, "After we had won the war, someone broke into our castle and kidnapped our daughter." The Queen started crying louder, "We tried so hard to find her, but we have no idea who took her or if she is even still alive. We loved Rapunzel so much."
As soon as she said her name was Rapunzel, everyone's turned and looked at Rapunzel. Rapunzel was shocked and she did not know what to say. She grew up thinking that her parents were famers and they died when she was a baby. Another student in the class said to the Queen, "Her name's Rapunzel!" And he pointed to Rapunzel.
Rapunzel stood up, "I can't be your daughter." She paused, "My parents were farmers, and they died when I was a baby."
The King and Queen stared at Rapunzel, and they realized how much she looked like them, and looked their daughter they had lost so many years ago.
The King asked, "When your parents died, who raised you?"
Rapunzel said, "An old woman at the boarder of Southphilia. She told me a solider brought me to her and demanded she raise me as her own."
The Queen kept looking at Rapunzel, knowing this girl had to be her daughter and asked, "Rapunzel where did you get that necklace?"
"It was my family's necklace." She said, "It was on my neck the day the solider brought me to the old woman."
Suddenly the King and Queen ran up to Rapunzel crying and hugging her. The Queen said between sobs, "Oh Rapunzel that was my necklace! I let you wear it when you were a baby because you loved it so much!" The King could not even speak, he was so happy to finally see his daughter again that no words could describe how he felt.
Rapunzel moved into the castle with her family. She even had a younger sister. Weeks went by and Rapunzel could not have been any happier. Her parents got her a tutor who taught her science, medicine, history, and foreign languages.
But things were about to change. One night the King and Queen held a royal ball in Rapunzel's honor. As Rapunzel danced and was introduced to Kings and Queens of other kingdoms, she met a prince. Her parents told her that since she was the oldest child, it was her duty to become the next Queen. To do so, she must marry the prince.
Rapunzel really liked the Prince and she was excited to be the Queen. She loved her life at the castle and she imagined her and the Prince living happily ever after. Her wedding day was set and Rapunzel anxiously awaited the day until she would marry the handsome Prince.
One day before the wedding, Rapunzel's sister wanted to see what life was like in Southphilia. She was curious what her sister's life was like before she became a princess. So Rapunzel took her to the border of Northphilia and they climbed to the top of the wall and looked across.
Rapunzel had forgotten how horrible her life had been. When she looked across the wall, all of the memories came back of cleaning, not being able to go to school, and the evil old woman forbidding her to leave the house. Her sister pointed at a mud hut and a young girl running in bare feet outside and another little girl sweeping around the house.
"Why aren't they at school?" Rapunzel's sister asked.
Rapunzel said sadly, "In Southphilia, girls are not allowed to go to school. They aren't even allowed to work." Rapunzel began crying and climbed back down the wall. She could not believe that she had forgotten about her past and she decided she needed to do something to help the girls in Southphilia.
Rapunzel went back to the castle with her sister and told the King and Queen that she was returning to Southphilia. She did not want to be Queen anymore. Her parents were outraged and said that she was the oldest child and had no other choice than to be Queen. Rapunzel begged them to let her go, but they refused. So that night Rapunzel gathered all of the money she had earned from working at the store and left. She left a note for her family and for the prince saying that she was sorry, but she did not want any more girls in Southphilia to suffer like she did.
Rapunzel returned to Southphilia and built a school for girls. She even built houses for the girls and made clothes for them to wear. She taught the girls herself, and once they finished their schooling, Rapunzel helped them find jobs. Rapunzel changed the way women were looked at in Southphilia. Although she never married, and never became the Queen, she changed the world for all Southphilian women. She lived happily ever after.