“Have you ever seen Rin Gin, the Palace of the Dragon King of the Sea, Urashima?”
The fisherman shook his head and replied; “No; year after year the sea has been my home, but though I have often heard of the Dragon King’s realm under the sea I have never yet set eyes on that wonderful place. It must be very far away, if it exists at all!”
“Is that really so? You have never seen the Sea King’s Palace? Then you have missed seeing one of the most wonderful sights in the whole universe. It is far away at the bottom of the sea, but if I take you there we shall soon reach the place. If you would like to see the Sea King’s land I will be your guide.”
In a little village, at the edge of the sea, lived a young couple.
Shortly after their marriage the wife became heavy with child to their delight.
However, as the pregnancy wore on and winter set in, the wife began to crave a
particular food. She was unsure what it was but she said she’d know when she
saw it and her husband promised to get it for her. One day as the wife took a
short walk to cure herself of a slight restlessness in her body, she passed a
home with its garden in full bloom! Neat rows of tomatoes, carrots, turnips,
herbs…and the delicate, tender leaves of Rapunzel lettuce. The woman felt her
mouth water and scurried up the walkway to knock on the door.
An older woman answered, eyes sharp yet unhappy. She glanced down to
see the baby bump and sneered. “Let me guess; you want my crops.” “Just a
little lettuce is all.” the woman replied shyly. “My child craves it.” “Well
the babe will go without; it is my food alone. Now leave.” The woman left
disheartened and was sobbing when her husband returned from the fishing nets.
She told her story and the husband felt fear lance through him; that was the enchantress’
home. But he had sworn to his wife he would get her what she craved and he
refused to see wife and unborn child so unhappy.
In the dead of night he slipped into the garden and picked the delicate
Rapunzel leaves but unfortunately he was caught. The enchantress was both furious
at the disobedience but also impressed a man would go so far for his wife; he truly
cherished her. And so she let him go, smiling. When Spring broke through Winter’s
icy grip the baby was born with soft golden hair and eyes the color of delicate
lettuce leaves. She was named Rapunzel.