BRINGING YOU THE BEST IN ROMANCE FICTION
The Inspiration Behind “Rick Prince and the Manhattan Muse”
By Naching T. Kassa
The inspiration for my story, “Rick Prince and the Manhattan Muse,” began with a fairy tale. Or, I should say, it began with the end of a fairy tale.
You’ve probably seen the movie Tangled by now. It’s the story of Rapunzel told with a twist and, though fun, it bears little resemblance to the tale told by the Brothers Grimm.
Rapunzel’s story begins before her birth. Her father and mother live next door to a witch and the mother is pregnant with Rapunzel. She has a craving for the plant called rampion and believes she will die if she doesn’t eat it. The mother is wasting away and so her poor husband sneaks next door to steal from the witch’s garden.
The husband slips in and out of the garden without incident and brings his wife the rampion. She enjoys the meal and joy once again graces their home.
Unfortunately, the gladness is short-lived. Like an addict, the wife has acquired an even greater need for the rampion. Her husband visits the witch’s garden once again and this time he’s caught. He must face the wrath of the witch.
This witch is a cunning one. She threatens to kill the wife unless the husband gives her his unborn child. Sadly, he agrees and when the day comes, gives the infant to the witch. She spirits the baby away and we never see the parents again.
The witch calls the girl child Rapunzel, another word for rampion, and puts her in a tower. As the girl grows, so does her hair. Soon, it’s so long, the witch can use it as a rope to get in and out of the tower.
Rapunzel grows up to be a beautiful woman, and one day when the witch leaves, she sits in the window and sings. Her voice attracts the attention of a handsome prince who happens to be traveling through the nearby forest. When he sets eyes on Rapunzel, it’s love at first sight. But before he can approach her, the witch arrives at the tower. He observes her as she calls to Rapunzel, asking her to let down her hair and a plan forms in his mind.
The prince waits and watches as the witch leaves the next morning. Then, he goes to the base of the tower and calls to Rapunzel. When she lowers her tresses, he climbs up.
Rapunzel is frightened by this unexpected visitor, but she soon warms him. He visits her many times after that and eventually, she agrees to run away with him.
When the prince leaves for the night, he is unaware of the wicked gaze which follows his egress. The witch has discovered him and when he has gone, she takes Rapunzel from the tower, spirits her off to a faraway place, and chops off her hair. She leaves the girl to her fate and returns to the tower with the locks in tow.
When the prince arrives the next day, he calls to Rapunzel. The hair is lowered, but when the prince reaches the top, he finds a terrible sight. The witch attacks him and they both fall into the thorns which ring the tower. The witch is killed, and the prince is blinded.
The prince recovers from his wounds and goes in search of Rapunzel. He moves through the kingdom, homeless, dressed in rags, and alone. No one knows he is a prince. They think he’s a simple beggar.
One day, he happens upon two children playing in the forest. The boy and girl feel sorry for him and lead him to their mother, hoping she can give him something to eat. They take him into their home and seat him at the table.
When the mother enters the room, she bursts into tears and rushes to the prince. She takes his face in her hands and as her tears fall into his eyes, he regains his sight. The first thing he sees is the smiling face of Rapunzel. Her hair is much shorter, but it is the same woman he’s been searching for. What’s more, he discovers he’s the father of twins. The boy and girl are his. The prince takes them back to his kingdom and they live happily ever after.
The ending of “Rapunzel” is, like most fairy tales, surprisingly adult. Just what were these two people doing in that tower while the witch was gone? Well, as unmarried parents of twins, they probably weren’t playing Canasta!
Now you know what inspired, “Rick Prince and the Manhattan Muse.” Of course, my story has a few more twists and is way steamier, but it’s a nice homage to one of the sweetest romances of all time.
So, check out Meant to Be…Inspired today. You won’t be disappointed.