Romaina was a powerful witch who lived in a big castle. She had a magic garden that grew the biggest, juiciest plants all year long.
A little wood shack stood next to Romaina's castle. It belonged to a poor couple named Samuel and Bettina. They were very happy and hoped to have a child soon. One day, Bettina told her husband some good news.
"I am going to have a baby!" Bettina said. Samuel gave her a big hug.
Months later, as Samuel and Bettina ate hard bread and beans for dinner, Bettina said, "I would love to eat some of Romaina's sweet Rapunzel lettuce." Samuel felt cold with fear, but he wanted to take care of his wife.
That night, Samuel climbed over Romaina's garden wall. He picked a leaf of lettuce. Suddenly, he heard terrible screaming!
It came right from the lettuce. Samuel dropped the lettuce and turned to run, but he bumped right into Romaina.
"Please do not hurt me," cried Samuel. "I only wanted some lettuce for my dear wife."
Romaina knew Bettina was about to have a baby. "I will let you go," said the witch. "Take all the lettuce you want. In return, you must give me your baby when it is born."
Samuel was too afraid to say no. He ran home with the lettuce. He did not tell his wife what Romaina had said. Surely, he could find a way to break the promise.
The next morning, Bettina had a baby girl. They named her Rapunzel. They wrapped Rapunzel in a warm blanket. Just then, a cold wind blew the door open, and Romaina walked in. She cast a spell over Samuel and Bettina, so they could not move.
Romaina took Rapunzel and left. They lived in a tower in the middle of a great forest. Romaina loved Rapunzel like she was her own daughter. In fact, she loved her so much she did not want to share her with anybody. As the years passed, Rapunzel grew into a sweet, happy child.
Romaina tried to be a good mother. She gave Rapunzel toys and fancy dresses. If Rapunzel even sneezed, Romaina cast a spell to make her well. She gave the girl everything, except freedom. Rapunzel was not allowed to go into the woods. She had never even seen another person's face besides Romaina's.
Go to the next page to find out what happened next.