When would tomorrow ever come? The prince was still in disguise, resting at a local inn, and he couldn’t sleep from excitement about seeing Rapunzel in the morning. Something “clicked” between them, he thought, but he couldn’t discern what it was that clicked. Surely he wasn’t in love! In love with a stupid woman locked up in a pink tower, who had never known anything beyond what she had read from a few books that she kept in a teeny-tiny chest? It was impossible!
Still he felt little tingle-y things, which he imagined pipes felt ALL the time with all the cold water running down them so often. He joked aloud (even though there was no one to listen) that perhaps HE himself was turning into a pipe, and then (perhaps also BECAUSE there was no one there to listen) he began to wonder about it, and then was worried and went to bed much sooner than he thought he would.
Finally, the next day came, and he saddled his horse, and rode to Orangette’s pink castle. It was not even sunrise when he got there. He wondered if Rapunzel was awake yet. He had never gotten up that early as a prince. Also, with all the hair Rapunzel had, her beauty sleep must be twice as long as most people’s, at the least!
So he paced nervously around the tower, his head sweating a little, and he wondered if ANYBODY was up! The awkward thought that he was the first one up at someone else’s place made him fret more, and he began to lose course off the tower road, and trample Orangette’s garden without paying one ounce of attention. When he finally did realize he was walking on a meadow of roses, he thought of Rapunzel again and wondered if she would like a flower. With that thought, he picked many roses, and thought maybe he should visit Rapunzel before he started plumbing.
Hmmmm, he liked that thought. He hesitantly walked over to the tower window, and called out, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel…”, etc.
Eventually, a long golden brain fell down out of the window, and the prince climbed up. Just as he was climbing up, he heard Rapunzel’s delicate voice saying, “See, Orangette, you will see, a very nice man he is, you’ll like him very much.”
At this, Bob stopped suddenly and wondered if he should go back down the brain and pretend he had never called, except that his head was already sticking in the window, and Orangette was looking at him in horror. Her face grew even more horrified when the prince, a ball of nerves, gingerly offered the roses to Rapunzel, who smiled when he gave them to her.
“My roses, my roses!” the witch started chanting wildly. She jumped up from her chair, and ran to the window.
“My garden! My garden! What have you done to my garden, you’ve killed my garden, my garden, my beautiful garden, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” she was moaning these words in agony, then grabbed the roses from Rapunzel and turned to the startled Bob. She began to whip his face with the thorns on the roses, and everything before Bob went black.
“Oh no, no, no,” Rapunzel was crying.
“Yes, yes,” shrieked the witch, “We shall ban him from this land, you shall never see him again!”
The clouds roared and it began to rain, but Prince Bob never saw it. He felt a hot sun burning his back, and felt sand slide between his toes, but he did not know where he was. He thought perhaps that tomorrow he would see where he was, but he didn’t. He wandered around, thinking he would see the next day, and he did this for two long years.
He never saw a man, or a woman, and rarely heard beasts. Insects, however, climbed on him and bit him constantly, and he learned how to swat them off without losing his balance in the dark world he saw through. The only thing he had was Rapunzel’s chest of blankets and books. He was touching it when the witch got angry with him, and it went with him to banishment.
Then one day, he though he heard breathing in the forest. He thought it was a beast, until he realized the breathing sounding so faint and delicate. He hurried to it. Then, he heard a small voice:
“It’s you! Bob! It’s you!”
“Is it, it can’t be…Rapunzel!”
“I’ve searched for you fervently for two years, and now I’ve finally found you! You took my chest!”
“IS that the only reason you have searched for me?”
“No,” she said, “But give me that chest, please, I must see it!”
“It has been my only friend for two years!”
“You must let me see it! It can save you!”
She went through his chest, and then cried in dispare.
“Where is it? What have you done with the books?”
“I have burned them for fire,” moaned the prince.
“A book of spells! A book of remedies was in there that could have saved you!” The prince was quiet. Then, finally, he said, “Rapunzel?”
“It has been two years, may I, may I at least touch your face?’
“Touch it?” She answered crying, “You may kiss it!”
The prince stood on the chest, so that his lips could reach Rapunzel’s, and their faces met, and their tears mingled. And the silver tears from Rapunzel’s eyes rained into the eyes of Bob, and slowly he began to see color, and then finally, he saw Rapunzel.
“Look, look! See, I can see! I can see!’
“I can see! Rapunzel you’ve done it, it was your tears your tears, I can see again, I can SEE!” He jumped on the chest again and gave Rapunzel a huge embrace.
He could have asked her how she got away from Orangette, (and her answer would have been “I ran away”), or she could have asked him how he had survived the years in the wilderness (to which his answer would have been “food and water). Instead, the cried and laughed and hugged. Eventually, he did tell her that he was really a prince, and he did ask her hand in marriage, and she did except. And eventually she did tell him the story of her past, and she went and visited her parents again. She became a queen and he a prince one day. And the prince was sure nothing was more manly than marrying a woman who had been locked up in a tower all of her life, and therefore knew very little of the world, and Rapunzel was convinced that it was hard to be any more free than when she was a queen. So everything worked out very nicely, like the last pieces of a puzzle, and I guess that’s where this story ends.