Very soon Rapunzel forgot her fear, and when he asked her to marry him she consented at once. `For,' she thought, `he is young and handsome, and I'll certainly be happier with him than with the old Witch.' So she put her hand in his and said:
`Yes, I will gladly go with you, only how am I to get down out of the tower? Every time you come to see me you must bring a skein of silk with you, and I will make a ladder of them, and when it is finished I will climb down by it, and you will take me away on your horse.'
They arranged that till the ladder was ready, he was to come to her every evening, because the old woman was with her during the day. The old Witch, of course, knew nothing of what was going on, till one day Rapunzel, not thinking of what she was about, turned to the Witch and said:
`How is it, good mother, that you are so much harder to pull up than the young Prince? He is always with me in a moment.'
`Oh! you wicked child,' cried the Witch. `What is this I hear? I thought I had hidden you safely from the whole world, and in spite of it you have managed to deceive me.'
In her wrath she seized Rapunzel's beautiful hair, wound it round and round her left hand, and then grasping a pair of scissors in her right, snip snap, off it came, and the beautiful plaits lay on the ground. And, worse than this, she was so hard-hearted that she took Rapunzel to a lonely desert place, and there left her to live in loneliness and misery.
But on the evening of the day in which she had driven poor Rapunzel away, the Witch fastened the plaits on to a hook in the window, and when the Prince came and called out:
`Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let down your golden hair,'
she let them down, and the Prince climbed up as usual, but instead of his beloved Rapunzel he found the old Witch, who fixed her evil, glittering eyes on him, and cried mockingly:
`Ah, ah! you thought to find your lady love, but the pretty bird has flown and its song is dumb; the cat caught it, and will scratch out your eyes too.