Challenge: Pick a fairy tale and give it a spin. Optionally, you can make it rhyme.
As the fairy tale, I picked Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm. I actually wrote this without rhyming at first and edited the rhyming into the story. The original version will be included in my FFM 2022 collection when it comes out, similar to what happened with last year’s story 17, A Dark Heart.
A deer trotted into the garden around the tower. Rapunzel glared at it, her expression sour; the world was in disarray yet still these pesky animals kept coming to her family’s garden. On the bright side, some meat would help her and Dame Gothel survive over the winter when the ground would harden. Therefore, Rapunzel picked up her sniper rifle, took aim and shot once. The deer went down in silence.
Rapunzel smiled to herself on her seat. Now she had to radio Dame Gothel to come help with smoking the meat.
The King’s son froze in his tracks when he heard a shot ring through the forest. There were supposed to be no hunters around, so he had to be near bandits he could not arrest. At least hopefully it was bandits and not the assassins he was fleeing from. When no other sounds came, he shook off his fear and made his way towards the gunshot, calm. Soon, he smelled smoke. A campfire made by some folk?
Cautious, he continued onwards until he came to a clearing with a tower surrounded by a fence with many human heads stuck to the spikes. On the ground level, two women were in process of smoking a deer on pikes. The younger woman, who was cutting the carcass, whipped her head and glared straight at him. When the King’s son noticed the woman reaching for a rifle with her bloodied hands, he fled, grim.
During the following days, the King’s son kept wandering in circles to avoid the assassins still on his tail. He could not forget the fierce look of the woman he had seen by the tower and eventually his wanderings led him back to the threatening fence where the smell of death registered on each inhale. This time, there was no one outside, so with his hands in the air and unaware of the danger he was putting himself in, he walked into the garden.
Halfway to the tower, a warning shot struck the ground on his left, certain.
“Begone, thief, in a breath! We have nothing for you except death!” a woman’s voice shouted from the tower.
“I am not here to steal,” the King’s son responded, trying not to cower. “I am the exiled prince, looking for asylum. Please, will you hear me out even though in your eyes I am troublesome?”
For a brief moment, there was silence, followed by “stay right where you are until I say otherwise”. The King’s son waited, hoping that he was not making a mistake in a moment so unwise. Then, to his surprise, what looked like braided hair came down the window on top of the tower.
“Climb up before I change my mind!” the woman called out, her voice bitter.
Knowing he had no better alternatives, the King’s son did as he was told. On top of the tower, he saw the same woman from before, bold. Once again, she glared at him.
“So, you say you’re the prince?” the woman asked, firm.
“That is true.”
“And it is asylum that you pursue?”
“That is also true.”
“In exchange for asylum, what can you do for us now that the kingdom has fallen and you have nothing of value?”
“I can work and hunt, at the very least.”
“Are you good enough with a sniper rifle to fell a beast?”
“I believe I am good enough.”
The woman turned to the radio sitting on a table, the look in her eyes tough. “What do you think?”
Another woman’s voice responded from the radio, “Let us keep him until we rethink.”
Over the months that followed, the King’s son was put to work in exchange for being allowed to stay in the tower with the woman with an incredibly long hair and a sniper rifle — Rapunzel. The assassins found him quite soon after he had joined the woman’s family, but he did not get the chance to shoot at them from cover when a set of shots downed the first three assassins level. Outmatched, the other two turned tail and ran only to be shot in the back as they ran.
That day, the King’s son joined Rapunzel and Dame Gothel in adding more heads to the spikes on the fence surrounding the tower and he no longer feared anything, beast or man.
Years went by and the King’s son, tucked away in the tower in the forest, forgot about the kingdom. Rapunzel taught him to be a sniper on par with herself while Dame Gothel taught him all there was to taking care of the family and imparted wisdom. It was a life of hard work he had not been raised into, but it was a good life filled with mutual respect, safety and trust. The King’s son stayed in the tower surrounded by a fence with many heads on the spikes, happy and contended, no longer able to imagine himself anywhere else than there, waiting for each harvest.