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And Home Again

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Rapunzel spent every waking moment with her parents for an entire week.

She wanted to know everything about them, from the way her mother liked her eggs in the morning to the way her father brushed his teeth before bed. She had her mother’s eyes, she’d noticed that right away, but she also discovered that she had her father’s laugh – and her great-grandmother’s nose!

After a few days, of course, the king and queen had to go back to actively ruling their country, and Rapunzel had to begin her lessons on being a princess. She enjoyed her studies, but day after day of staring out the window of a tower attached to a castle really wasn’t much more exciting than a tower all by itself.

But Rapunzel didn’t want to leave – she had only just found her parents, and they had missed her whole life, she couldn’t abandon them now. So, she didn’t say anything about her growing restlessness, until one morning, when her mother looked at her over a plate of perfectly over-easy eggs/

“Rapunzel,” said the queen, “have you thought about what you wanted to do, after your wedding?”

For a moment, she just smiled at the thought, still as happy as the day Eugene had agreed to marry her. Then, she frowned. “What?”

Her father smiled. “We love you, Rapunzel, and we love spending time with you. But you are a young woman and you shouldn’t be cooped up in this castle forever.”

“I..” she began. “I don’t know what else to do.”

Her mother reached across the table to take her hand. “This will always be your home, and we will be overjoyed each time you return to us. It is tradition in your father’s family that the children of the monarch act as ambassadors, traveling through our kingdom and beyond. They learn how the world really works, before they are called to take the throne.”

“And,” added the king, “it will give us the chance to introduce you to all your people – and for you to show off your new husband.”

Travel! It sounded wonderful to Rapunzel, but she hesitated. “You’d let me go?”

“We would miss you every day,” the queen assured her. “But you need to have your own adventures.”

“I want to see our kingdom,” said Rapunzel. “I want to see… everywhere!”

“Then, go,” said the king.

His daughter beamed. “I will.”