“You know you don’t have to do this, right?” Rapunzel’s husband came to stand at the window with her. “Another conference will come. Next year we might have the barons cleared out entirely and be free to save the money.”
“Well then, I’ll let her in.” He left for the door.
A cool wind blew through the window, stirring Rapunzel’s hair. She closed her eyes and leaned into it. The soft brush of hair swayed against her arms.
Her Husband returned with a woman carrying a large black bag. The woman smiled and patted Rapunzel’s hand. “Don’t worry deary, it’ll grow back. After all, it is just hair.”
Rapunzel managed a shaky smile. “Sure. I know.” She ran her hands through her hair and pulled it in front of her shoulder. “It’s just that long hair has been me for so long. I never could decide on a style. I have several drawings of ones liked, but none of them look like me.”
“But you do still want to sell it, no?”
“Let’s start there. How much are you cutting off?”
They carefully measured out the length and bound the hair tight.
It was done.
She rubbed her arms and backed away as the woman held the locks high like a trophy fish fresh caught. A quick braid and the locks were set aside. The woman then guided Rapunzel to a chair and finished the job.
More locks were sheared off, but these fell to the floor only to be swept into the trash. Rapunzel toyed with a bit of the gold willing herself to trust.
The final product was nothing like the drawings she had created. The woman opted for something she deemed simple and “easy to style”.
Rapunzel stared at the stranger in the looking glass. The face was familiar, yet… She ran a hand across her hair to assure herself of reality, or perhaps merely to remind.
“Well I think it’s cute,” her husband said.
Rapunzel simply nodded.
The next day she stood at her window again. She dipped a turkey quill into ink then wrote “Requesting admission to your Conference – money en route.”
She rolled the tiny message around the leg of a pigeon and released him. As she watched the bird fly away into the setting sun, she fingered her shorn locks and smiled.