On a hill in the countryside there was a wood.
By the wood there was a cottage. It was a small stone cottage—slightly rundown looking—surrounded by a greying wooden fence.
In the cottage lived a man and a woman.
The man and the woman had one single wish—a beautiful baby girl. They longed to hold her. Comfort her. Protect her. And they felt sure—more sure than anything in their whole world—that they would make wonderful parents.
Upstairs, at the back of the cottage, there was a window.
The window looked down the hill, over a field and onto a magnificent garden filled with the most beautiful and delicious rampion—a wild plant known as rapunzel with spinach-like leaves and the root of a parsnip.
The garden was surrounded by a high wall and belonged to the wickedest and most powerful of all Witches.
Not a single sole had ever set foot in the garden for fear of the deathly consequences.
One day the woman caught sight of the rampion from the top window of the cottage. The plump green leaves and purple flowers seemed to mesmerise her, as if she was enchanted by a magic spell.
Suddenly, the woman became weak. Her complexion paled.
“I must have the rampion,” she said to her husband. “I must have it right away or I will surely die!”
The man—who knew very well of the dangers awaiting in the garden—said to his wife, “Fear not, my only love. I will wait until dusk, go down to the garden, climb the wall and return with your rampion as fast as my legs will carry me.”
True to his word, the man set off at twilight, snuck over the garden wall, hastily grabbed a handful of rampion and returned to the cottage.
The man handed the rampion to his wife.
“Oh, it tastes so good!” cried the woman, stuffing the rampion into her mouth in great clumps.
“I must have more or I will surely die. Please return to the garden, dear husband, and bring me back three times as much tomorrow.”
The man dearly loved his wife and returned to the garden the following evening.
This time—after clambering down the wall into the garden—the man came face to face with the wicked Witch.
He became dumb with fear.
His insides clenched and he could feel a cold sweat rising up inside him.
“How dare you,” said the Witch, turning red, “enter my garden and steal my precious rampion! You will pay for this wretched man!”
“Wait!” cried the man. “It is for my wife. She is pale and weak and says she will surely die if she does not eat your rampion. It is the only thing that can heal her. Please take mercy on me, Witch!”
There was a long pause.
Then the Witch’s face softened.
“Very well, man,” said the Witch. “If your words be true, I grant you all the rampion you like, but it comes with one condition. You must give me the child that your wife will bring into the world.”
The man—terrified and with nowhere to turn—consented.
Soon after, his wife fell pregnant.
And soon after that, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. The baby had no sooner taken her first breath when the Witch appeared in a puff of smoke and bellowed…
“Rapunzel, rapunzel… you stole my rapunzel.
Upon which you did greedily dine.
You must pay for this act,
And a matter of fact,
This baby of yours is now mine!”
The Witch let out a beastly cackle then vanished—taking the newborn baby with her.
From that day forward the baby girl became known as Rapunzel. And as she grew older, the wicked Witch took Rapunzel deep inside a forest and locked her in a tower.
It was no ordinary tower.
The tower stood as tall as a twenty storey building. There was a solitary chamber at the very top of the tower with a small window. There was no door to the tower, nor stairs to the chamber. The only way in—or out—was by way of the small window.
When the Witch wanted in, she stood below the window and cried;
Let down your hair.”
Rapunzel’s hair was as fine as spun gold and magnificently long.
When she heard the Witches cry, Rapunzel released her shimmering hair twenty storeys to the ground for the Witch to climb up.
Many years passed.
Then one day, a King’s son rode through the forest and came across the tower. An angelic song stopped him in his tracks.
It was Rapunzel.
She sang to while away the lonely days in her chamber.
The King’s son wanted to climb the tower and meet the lady behind this enchanting voice, but he could find no door, nor stairs to the chamber.
He rode home, downhearted.
In the days that followed, the King’s son could think of nothing but the alluring sound of Rapunzel’s voice.
He decided to ride back to the forest every day and listen to it.
While in the forest, the King’s son saw the Witch approach the tower and he heard the Witch cry;
Let down your hair.”
Rapunzel let down her hair and the Witch climbed up.
“This is the way in!” thought the King’s son. “I shall return tomorrow and do as the Witch, then I will meet the lady with a voice so sweet that we will surely be wed.”
The King’s son returned the following day, went to the tower and cried;
Let down your hair.”
Immediately the hair fell down and the King’s son climbed up.
As you can very well imagine, Rapunzel was shocked to see a man enter her chamber. She had never seen a man before.
The King’s son made her feel quite at ease when he spoke of the enchanting voice that had drawn him to her in the forest.
“Will you take me for your husband?” he asked.
“I will gladly go with you,” said Rapunzel,
“But I cannot get down. Bring with you a pile of silk every time you visit. I will use it to weave a ladder. When the ladder is ready I will climb down and we can ride away on your horse.”
The King’s son agreed to come every evening. This way he could avoid the Witch, who visited by day.
The Witch had no knowledge of the King’s son, until, one day, Rapunzel carelessly let her secret slip.
“Tell me, Witch,” said Rapunzel, “how is it that the King’s son can climb up to me in a moment, but it takes you much longer?”
“What did you say?’ cried the Witch, “You are mine and only mine! Oh, how you have deceived me Rapunzel… you shall suffer greatly for it!”
The Witch seized Rapunzel’s hair in a flash, took out a pair of scissors then…
Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip.
Rapunzel’s golden hair fell to the floor of the chamber with an almighty thud.
Rapunzel let out a great yelp, then began to cry.
“To the desert you will go!” screamed the Witch. “You will live the rest of your days in horrible pain and suffering for your wretched behaviour.”
Then—with a single click of the Witch’s long spindly fingers—Rapunzel vanished from the chamber.
That evening, the King’s son rode up to the tower and cried;
Let down your hair.”
Immediately the hair fell down. But this time the Witch had hold of the golden mane. The King’s son climbed up—expecting Rapunzel as before—but this time was met with the poisonous stare of the Witch.
“Your darling Rapunzel,” sneered the Witch, “is lost to you. You will never see her again!”
The King’s son—reeling from the news of Rapunzel’s departure—stepped back and fell from the window.
He narrowly escaped with his life, but the thorns upon which he fell pierced his eyes.
Now blind, the King’s son wandered the forest in darkness, eating nothing but berries, thinking of nothing but his sweet Rapunzel’s face and hearing nothing but the silken sound of her voice in his head.
He roamed in misery for many years.
One day, he came to the desert. The very desert that Rapunzel had been banished to.
He heard the familiar sound of Rapunzel’s sweet voice in the air and walked towards it.
As he approached, Rapunzel saw him.
She ran over.
And wept for joy.
As they embraced two of Rapunzel’s tears wetted the blind eyes of the King’s son. His sight became clear once more and he looked at Rapunzel. Then his adoring gaze fell on two young children standing next to her.
“Meet your son and your daughter,” said Rapunzel,
“Are they twins?” he asked.
“Well, let’s get you all home,” he said.
So they returned to his kingdom—to a joyous reception—and lived a long, happy and contented life together.
People also ask
Can you read the Rapunzel story for free?
Yes! You can read this modern retelling for free. Our story retellings closely follow the original storylines and add modern twists in the illustrations.
Is there a read aloud version?
You can choose to experience this story read aloud or you can read it yourself.
What other princess stories are there?
There are so many princess fairy tales! At Sooper Books we have The Princess And The Pea, The Little Mermaid, The twelve princesses, Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty. Other fairy tale stories that include princess characters are: Peter Pan, Puss in Boots, The Enchanted Canary, The Frog Prince and The Golden Goose.
Is this a good bedtime story?
This is a great example of a bedtime story. It’s nostalgic for parents and has a happy ending for kids. That’s if they make it to the end of the story before falling asleep!
Why do we write bedtime stories for kids?
When we first decided to create a bedtime story for kids, we knew we wanted it to be fun, engaging and high quality.
We wanted Sooper Books to bring children's publishing into the 21st century. We strongly believe that nighttime stories for kids need to fit seamlessly into modern family lives which is why our free stories are all online.
It began when we started writing stories for our own family. Then our friends and wider families asked for copies and we started to share Sooper Books with other children.
At Sooper Books we write, curate and narrate stories for kids so they can enjoy the best quality content, enchanting stories and magical adventures. With our stories we work towards promoting a positive attitude to reading and instill a love of books in children from an early age.
About Sooper Books
Our 5-10 minute online kids bedtime stories, fairy tales, funny rhymes and fables all come with award-winning audio.
From short stories for kids to multiple story episodes in our original series collections, our content is sure to make your little ones’ eyes sparkle with delight.
At Sooper Books, children can explore the magical world of fairies and witches, brave knights, talking animals and more. Our stories for kids feature an array of characters such as lovable princesses, funny frogs, gentle giants and wise wizards.
So whether you're specifically looking for a fairy tale or a rhyme, or maybe you just need some short bedtime stories for kids. Take the stress out of bedtime by reading one of our kids stories today!