从前有一个男人和一个女人，他俩一直想要个孩子，可总也得不到。 最后，女人只好希望上帝能赐给她一个孩子。 他们家的屋子后面有个小窗户，从那里可以看到一个美丽的花园，里面长满了奇花异草。 可是，花园的周围有一道高墙，谁也不敢进去，因为那个花园属于一个女巫。 这个女巫的法力非常大，世界上人人都怕她。 一天，妻子站在窗口向花园望去，看到一块菜地上长着非常漂亮的莴苣。 这些莴苣绿油油、水灵灵的，立刻就勾起了她的食欲，非常想吃它们。 这种欲望与日俱增，而当知道自己无论如何也吃不到的时候，她变得非常憔悴，脸色苍白，痛苦不堪。 她丈夫吓坏了，问她："亲爱的，你哪里不舒服呀？""啊，"她回答，"我要是吃不到我们家后面那个园子里的莴苣，我就会死掉的。"丈夫因为非常爱她，便想："与其说让妻子去死，不如给她弄些莴苣来，管它会发生什么事情呢。"黄昏时分，他翻过围墙，溜进了女巫的花园，飞快地拔了一把莴苣，带回来给她妻子吃。 妻子立刻把莴苣做成色拉，狼吞虎咽地吃了下去。 这莴苣的味道真是太好了，第二天她想吃的莴苣居然比前一天多了两倍。 为了满足妻子，丈夫只好决定再次翻进女巫的园子。 于是，黄昏时分，他偷偷地溜进了园子，可他刚从墙上爬下来，就吓了一跳，因为他看到女巫就站在他的面前。 "你好大的胆子，"她怒气冲冲地说，"竟敢溜进我的园子来，像个贼一样偷我的莴苣！""唉，"他回答，"可怜可怜我，饶了我吧。我是没办法才这样做的。我妻子从窗口看到了你园子中的莴苣，想吃得要命，吃不到就会死掉的。"女巫听了之后气慢慢消了一些，对他说："如果事情真像你说的这样，我可以让你随便采多少莴苣，但我有一个条件：你必须把你妻子将要生的孩子交给我。我会让她过得很好的，而且会像妈妈一样对待她。"丈夫由于害怕，只好答应女巫的一切条件。 妻子刚刚生下孩子，女巫就来了，给孩子取了个名字叫"莴苣"，然后就把孩子带走了。
"莴苣"慢慢长成了天底下最漂亮的女孩。 孩子十二岁那年，女巫把她关进了一座高塔。 这座高塔在森林里，既没有楼梯也没有门，只是在塔顶上有一个小小的窗户。 每当女巫想进去，她就站在塔下叫道：
莴苣姑娘长着一头金丝般浓密的长发。 一听到女巫的叫声，她便松开她的发辫，把顶端绕在一个窗钩上，然后放下来二十公尺。 女巫便顺着这长发爬上去。
一两年过去了。 有一天，王子骑马路过森林，刚好经过这座塔。 这时，他突然听到美妙的歌声，不由得停下来静静地听着。 唱歌的正是莴苣姑娘，她在寂寞中只好靠唱歌来打发时光。 王子想爬到塔顶上去见她，便四处找门，可怎么也没有找到。 他回到了宫中，那歌声已经深深地打动了他，他每天都要骑马去森林里听。 一天，他站在一棵树后，看到女巫来了，而且听到她冲着塔顶叫道：
莴苣姑娘看到爬上来的是一个男人时，真的大吃一惊，因为她还从来没有看到过男人。 但是王子和蔼地跟她说话，说他的心如何如何被她的歌声打动，一刻也得不到安宁，非要来见她。 莴苣姑娘慢慢地不再感到害怕，而当他问她愿不愿意嫁给他时，她见王子又年轻又英俊，便想："这个人肯定会比那教母更喜欢我。"她于是就答应了，并把手伸给王子。 她说："我非常愿意跟你一起走，可我不知道怎么下去。你每次来的时候都给我带一根丝线吧，我要用丝线编一个梯子。等到梯子编好了，我就爬下来，你就把我抱到你的马背上。"因为老女巫总是在白天来，所以他俩商定让王子每天傍晚时来。 女巫什么也没有发现，直到有一天莴苣姑娘问她："我问你，教母，我拉你的时候怎么总觉得你比那个年轻的王子重得多？他可是一下子就上来了。""啊！你这坏孩子！"女巫嚷道，"你在说什么？我还以为你与世隔绝了呢，却不想你竟然骗了我！"她怒气冲冲地一把抓住莴苣姑娘漂亮的辫子，在左手上缠了两道，又用右手操起一把剪刀，喳喳喳几下，美丽的辫子便落在了地上。 然后，她又狠心地把莴苣姑娘送到一片荒野中，让她凄惨痛苦地生活在那里。
女巫放下头发，王子便顺着爬了上去。 然而，他没有见到心爱的莴苣姑娘，却看到女巫正恶狠狠地瞪着他。 "啊哈！"她嘲弄王子说，"你是来接你的心上人的吧？可美丽的鸟儿不会再在窝里唱歌了。她被猫抓走了，而且猫还要把你的眼睛挖出来。你的莴苣姑娘完蛋了，你别想再见到她。"王子痛苦极了，绝望地从塔上跳了下去。 他掉进了刺丛里，虽然没有丧生，双眼却被刺扎瞎了。 他漫无目的地在森林里走着，吃的只是草根和浆果，每天都为失去爱人而伤心地痛哭。 他就这样痛苦地在森林里转了好几年，最后终于来到了莴苣姑娘受苦的荒野。 莴苣姑娘已经生下了一对双胞胎，一个儿子，一个女儿。 王子听到有说话的声音，而且觉得那声音很耳熟，便朝那里走去。 当他走近时，莴苣姑娘立刻认出了他，搂着他的脖子哭了起来。 她的两滴泪水润湿了他的眼睛，使它们重新恢复了光明。 他又能像从前一样看东西了。 他带着妻子儿女回到自己的王国，受到了人们热烈的欢迎。 他们幸福美满地生活着，直到永远。
There once lived a man and his wife, who had long wished for a child, but in vain. Now there was at the back of their house a little window which overlooked a beautiful garden full of the finest vegetables and flowers; but there was a high wall all round it, and no one ventured into it, for it belonged to a witch of great might, and of whom all the world was afraid.
One day that the wife was standing at the window, and looking into the garden, she saw a bed filled with the finest rampion; and it looked so fresh and green that she began to wish for some; and at length she longed for it greatly. This went on for days, and as she knew she could not get the rampion, she pined away, and grew pale and miserable. Then the man was uneasy, and asked, "What is the matter, dear wife?"
"Oh," answered she, "I shall die unless I can have some of that rampion to eat that grows in the garden at the back of our house." The man, who loved her very much, thought to himself, "Rather than lose my wife I will get some rampion, cost what it will." So in the twilight he climbed over the wall into the witch's garden, plucked hastily a handful of rampion and brought it to his wife. She made a salad of it at once, and ate of it to her heart's content. But she liked it so much, and it tasted so good, that the next day she longed for it thrice as much as she had done before; if she was to have any rest the man must climb over the wall once more. So he went in the twilight again; and as he was climbing back, he saw, all at once, the witch standing before him, and was terribly frightened, as she cried, with angry eyes, "How dare you climb over into my garden like a thief, and steal my rampion! it shall be the worse for you!"
"Oh," answered he, "be merciful rather than just, I have only done it through necessity; for my wife saw your rampion out of the window, and became possessed with so great a longing that she would have died if she could not have had some to eat." Then the witch said,
"If it is all as you say you may have as much rampion as you like, on one condition - the child that will come into the world must be given to me. It shall go well with the child, and I will care for it like a mother."
In his distress of mind the man promised everything; and when the time came when the child was born the witch appeared, and, giving the child the name of Rapunzel (which is the same as rampion), she took it away with her.
Rapunzel was the most beautiful child in the world. When she was twelve years old the witch shut her up in a tower in the midst of a wood, and it had neither steps nor door, only a small window above. When the witch wished to be let in, she would stand below and would cry,
Let down your hair!"
Rapunzel had beautiful long hair that shone like gold. When she. heard the voice of the witch she would undo the fastening of the upper window, unbind the plaits of her hair, and let it down twenty ells below, and the witch would climb up by it.
After they had lived thus a few years it happened that as the King's son was riding through the wood, he came to the tower; and as he drew near he heard a voice singing so sweetly that he stood still and listened. It was Rapunzel in her loneliness trying to pass away the time with sweet songs. The King's son wished to go in to her, and sought to find a door in the tower, but there was none. So he rode home, but the song had entered into his heart, and every day he went into the wood and listened to it. Once, as he was standing there under a tree, he saw the witch come up, and listened while she called out,
"O Rapunzel, Rapunzel!
Let down your hair."
Then he saw how Rapunzel let down her long tresses, and how the witch climbed up by it and went in to her, and he said to himself, "Since that is the ladder I will climb it, and seek my fortune." And the next day, as soon as it began to grow dusk, he went to the tower and cried,
"O Rapunzel, Rapunzel!
Let down your hair."
And she let down her hair, and the King's son climbed up by it. Rapunzel was greatly terrified when she saw that a man had come in to her, for she had never seen one before; but the King's son began speaking so kindly to her, and told how her singing had entered into his heart, so that he could have no peace until he had seen her herself. Then Rapunzel forgot her terror, and when he asked her to take him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and beautiful, she thought to herself, "I certainly like him much better than old mother Gothel," and she put her hand into his hand.
She said: "I would willingly go with thee, but I do not know how I shall get out. When thou comest, bring each time a silken rope, and I will make a ladder, and when it is quite ready I will get down by it out of the tower, and thou shalt take me away on thy horse." They agreed that he should come to her every evening, as the old woman came in the day-time.
So the witch knew nothing of all this until once Rapunzel said to her unwittingly, "Mother Gothel, how is it that you climb up here so slowly, and the King's son is with me in a moment?"
"O wicked child," cried the witch, "what is this I hear! I thought I had hidden thee from all the world, and thou hast betrayed me!" In her anger she seized Rapunzel by her beautiful hair, struck her several times with her left hand, and then grasping a pair of shears in her right - snip, snap - the beautiful locks lay on the ground. And she was so hard-hearted that she took Rapunzel and put her in a waste and desert place, where she lived in great woe and misery.
The same day on which she took Rapunzel away she went back to the tower in the evening and made fast the severed locks of hair to the window-hasp, and the King's son came and cried,
Let down your hair."
Then she let the hair down, and the King's son climbed up, but instead of his dearest Rapunzel he found the witch looking at him with wicked glittering eyes.
"Aha!" cried she, mocking him, "you came for your darling, but the sweet bird sits no longer in the nest, and sings no more; the cat has got her, and will scratch out your eyes as well! Rapunzel is lost to you; you will see her no more." The King's son was beside himself with grief, and in his agony he sprang from the tower: he escaped with life, but the thorns on which he fell put out his eyes. Then he wandered blind through the wood, eating nothing but roots and berries, and doing nothing but lament and weep for the loss of his dearest wife.
So he wandered several years in misery until at last he came to the desert place where Rapunzel lived with her twin-children that she had borne, a boy and a girl. At first he heard a voice that he thought he knew, and when he reached the place from which it seemed to come Rapunzel knew him, and fell on his neck and wept. And when her tears touched his eyes they became clear again, and he could see with them as well as ever. Then he took her to his kingdom, where he was received with great joy, and there they lived long and happily.