I: Rampion

A welcome opportunity to revisit the story of Rapunzel.

I: Rampion
Rampion blossoms. Photo by Katya via Wikimedia Commons.

Good morning. Today is primidi, the 1st of Frimaire, Year CCXXXI. We welcome in the new month of frost by celebrating la raiponce, a flower with long hair.

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Rampion is an unusual cousin of the fragile bluebell flower that remains frost-hardy and grows a little white turnip for a root. This, plus its edible leaves, give it the honor of being Frimaire's signature plant, despite not being quite as famous as Vendémiaire's grapes or Brumaire's apples.

When you think Rapunzel, you immediately call to mind a long braid dangling from a tall tower. The story, in brief, is usually told and retold around the princess with the long hair – she's trapped up there by a wicked someone or other, and her prince uses her long hair to climb the tower and rescue her.

If you've read the source material slightly more recently, maybe you know a version in which there's a trick played somewhere in there, either on the captor or the prince. Maybe you know a version in which the hair is enchanted, like Disney's most recent radical rethink called Tangled.

But all of this is conveniently leaving out how Rapunzel got her name, and why this whole situation happened in the first place, and what's really the moral of the tale.