Read the exclusive retelling of a fairytale from And They Lived…Ever After - Hindustan Times
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Read the exclusive retelling of a fairytale from And They Lived…Ever After

BySoumita Basu
Jun 07, 2024 09:56 PM IST

In the story, Rapunzel and the People of Companara, the author weaves in her own experiences of living with disability to reimagine a familiar tale

‘Please tell me how to climb up! There are wild animals chasing me.’

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A beautiful black silk rope suddenly appeared before the prince.

‘Climb up! Quickly! The wild animals are coming closer,’ she said.

‘I am too tired! I have been running for hours!’ the prince gasped as he struggled to climb. ‘Tie the rope around your waist tightly. I will pull you up,’ Rapunzel said as she saw the two green shining buttons grow larger.

The prince couldn’t believe that Rapunzel could pull him up the tall tower. But he was tired and scared, so he did as she said. She swiftly pulled him up and saved his life.

The wild bears with the green shining eyes rampaged through the garden to reach the prince. But Rapunzel had already pulled him up to safety.

The prince tumbled inside the room through the window. The moment he saw Rapunzel, he was mesmerized by her beauty. He bowed before her and took her hand to kiss it. ‘Thank you for saving my life.’ As he looked up again, Rapunzel could see his eyes filled with surprise.

‘If you are a prince why were you alone in the forest? Where are your men?’

‘I lost my way,’ said the prince, and immediately blurted out in complete disbelief, ‘how could you pull me up when you are in a wheelchair?’

‘Well, I wheel myself all around the tower and also to the terrace, which has the best sunlight. Macnamara and my other monkey friends made a ramp from my room to the terrace. That’s why my arms are very strong. I also pull Mama L up sometimes when she is really tired. I can’t walk because of a defect in my legs. But I do have very strong arms.’

Prince Haloux had never met anyone like Rapunzel before. As they talked through the night, he could feel his heart beating faster with every word she said. Soon, it was dawn. He invited Rapunzel to his palace. Rapunzel’s eyes shone at the prospect of seeing the province but she hesitated.

‘Mama L will never allow me to go out. She says the world is a very bad place. She wouldn’t even like me talking to you.’

‘But the world is a beautiful place. You must come with me!’

‘No, I can’t. There is no ramp from the room to the garden.’

‘We will find a way. I can carry you down.’

‘Carry me? I don’t think I would like that. I always go everywhere wheeling my own chair’.

(Excerpted with permission from And They Lived…Ever After by Rising Flame, published by HarperCollins; 2024)

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