This is for scribble_myname who prompted: Rapunzel/yarn. This one is sweet and short, just a smidgeon over 500 words.
Stitches in Time
All Rapunzel ever asked for was yarn.
For birthdays, feast days of the saints, and the older pagan celebrations Gothel still adhered to.
For every occasion and all occasions and no-occasion surprise gifts.
Gothel was slightly worried about Rapunzel’s obsession with yarn, but it was hard to resist the knobbly knitted hats, scratchy sweaters, and warm socks of her crafting. Besides, as Rapunzel said in her sweet voice, it was a trifle chilly in the tower.
Gothel felt a twinge of guilt at that, instantly banished.
The last time she brought Rapunzel yarn, the girl’s eyes lit up. “Perfect,” she breathed, standing there in two sweaters, a sky-blue hat with cat ears, and tomato-red socks. Her hair filled the chamber in rivers of gold.
It wasn’t even very good yarn, but Gothel felt a warm glow of satisfaction as she climbed down Rapunzel’s hair later that evening. Yarn was so much better than say, books, which would fill the girl’s head with longings for adventures in faraway places and romances with handsome rogues.
As soon as Gothel left, Rapunzel set to work twisting and braiding the yarn. An hour later, the rope ladder she’d been working on for months was ready.
Rapunzel put on an extra sweater, bundled her hair out of the way, slung a sack of food and knitted caps over her shoulder, and exited the tower for the first time in eight years.
She stood on the ground, curling her toes in thin shoes, and took in deep breaths of freedom. She almost felt dizzy with it, though it might’ve been a combination of unwonted exercise and excitement.
Taking a firmer grip on her worldly possessions, Rapunzel went forth into the unknown.
She hitch-hiked her way to the biggest city, a port on the sea, trading knitted caps for meals and rides and better shoes.
In the city, discreet inquiries led her to the cellar of a seedy tavern. There, she cut off her gold hair at the nape in exchange for a pouchful of gold coins at her belt.
She left the tavern by a back route, ducked into a quiet corner to change into trousers and a shirt, and booked a passage to warmer climes.
By nightfall, she’d left her homeland.
For two years, Rapunzel traveled, taking in spectacular vistas, admiring ancient ruins, and sketching wonderful plants and animals. One day she met a man who convinced her for once and for all that Mother Gothel had been wrong about the universal vileness of the male species. He wasn’t a rogue at all, but an explorer, naturalist, and trader.
They got married, bought a house full of color and light set in gardens that bloomed all year around, and had five children. Rapunzel grew her hair down to the base of her spine, but no further. She painted with oils in between collecting frogs and reading books and singing songs with her children.
But she never knitted another stitch nor wore another sweater ever again.