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Rapunzel Radishes Growing In My Backyard

There is a chance of ice and snow tonight so these herbs and tomato plants continue to wait.

I think this is going to be jalapeno.
Green beans!

Our radishes are doing great!

Rapunzel Radishes

The kids and I were so excited to see the first signs of our urban garden taking shape. I thought the radishes were peppers, but thanks to Juliette we can be assured they are in fact rapunzels. (She drew a diagram of the garden.) Did you know rapunzel is the German word for radish? For nearly four decades this has escaped me.

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When I was a little girl, my mother often read me the fairytale Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm. I asked her to read it to me all the time even though it scared the absolute living daylights out of me. I thought Rapunzel’s mother was the most ignorant, self-centered woman that ever walked the face of the earth. And, I felt sorry for her husband – making him jump that wall and steal radishes from the evil witch’s garden. What was she thinking? I also thought he was weak. There was no way anyone could ever make me take those kinds of risks, and I thought he was an absolute fool for giving in to her cravings.

I could hardly sleep at night thinking of the baby Rapunzel being taken from her mother and the mother being taken away from her only baby. Many years later, a handsome prince attempts to save Rapunzel, hence locked away in a tower. While climbing her braids the evil witch cuts them and the prince nearly falls to his death. He lives, but gets poked in the eyes with thorny briers and goes blind. The pictures in this book were so scary.

Nothing I ever saw in the soaps I watched as a latchkey adolescent scared me half as much as this story, save for Dr. Jeff Webber’s wife, Heather, accidentally taking LSD and going cuckoo. (General Hospital, 1978.) My parents never had to worry about me doing drugs. This one storyline cured me for life, not to mention films they made us watch in junior high of people getting electric shock treatments.

Believe it or not, Rapunzel was more bearable than the other five stories in the series we owned: Puss ‘n Boots; The Treasure of the Three Brothers; The Emperor’s New Clothes; The Three Dogs and Aladdin and his Magic Lamp.

I was convinced the cat in Puss ‘n Boots was the devil. In retrospect, this story is reminiscent of some Russian literary works, most notably Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. At any rate, the cat scared me, even more than that witch and her bony fingers – snatching back the coveted ruby-red radishes. He (the cat) was too clever for me. I didn’t understand his thinking and I knew then that I would never think like him and would never want to be around people who did.

And, I really hate to bring it up, but the name. Puss????? As a little girl, I was like, “That is either 1) The result of an infection caused by a splinter you got and hid from your dad so he wouldn’t poke you with a needle he sterilized with the blue flame of a gas stove or 2) a very naughty word.”

I regarded The Treasure of the Three Brothers and Aladdin and His Magic Lamp as stories for boys. They bored me. The Three Dogs was not particularly memorable, but, again, no matter how quaint the ending, the illustrations had me shaking in my black patent shoes.

The final story in the series, The Emperor’s New Clothes, mortified me. No matter how much I didn’t like the guy, I would have had to tell him he needed to put some clothes on.

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Two other things that scared me as a kid were tales of Big Foot and the Bermuda Triangle. What scared you?

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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12 Comments

  1. Jen & Kaitlyn

    oh how beautiful! i love your herbs ;]

  2. Berlinkat

    I did not know this about Rapunzel…I found this to be such an interesting post…especially when you mention your layers of aversion! Have you heard of a book called “Women Who Run with the Wolves” by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes? She has very interesting interpretations of fairytales. Anyhow…I’m going to be pondering the question of what scared me as a child. Thanks! 🙂

  3. sarah@soulmoxie

    so jealous! We’ve gotten like 5 feet of snow here in the past few days -booooooo!!!!

  4. Loren Christie

    Hey Jen,
    The Clown in the book IT scared me. I was also afraid of a movie involving gargolyes. As far as fairy tales go, I find myself altering the endings of a few as the princess stares at me, horrified that someone is about to be poisoned, or eaten by a wolf. I was also afraid of some Bible stories when I was really young.

  5. jenX67

    @farmgirl – tell the story! I want to hear it.

  6. jenX67

    @muffin man – no, that isn’t it. this one was pink. the others were orange and green. i think they were Linda’s. OVer the years, they got very torn up. I wish we still had them, although I did find one of the set on Amazon – and one on ebay. They pictures were scarey!!!!

  7. TheMuffinMan

    Is this the book you are looking for? It was published in 1960, every other Rapunzel book I could find was relatively new.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Rapunzel-Felix-Hoffman-1960-Fairy-Tale-Lettuce-Witch-HC_W0QQitemZ380066424781QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Childrens_Books?hash=item380066424781&_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116

    Also, I think the thing that scared me most as a child was accidentally catching the movie “IT” (Stephen King) on TV on day… To this day I think clowns are creepy.

  8. jenX67

    @outdoor.mom – You’re welcome!

    @Le – I’ve never heard of that. I’ll have to google. Too funny. “scared now.” hahaha

    @Billy – No, I don’t have them. I wish I did. I would like to have scanned some of the plates. Do you remember The Three Dogs. Those pics along with those in Rapunzel were so scarey. I did find these books on Amazon and Ebay. Not too much either. Rapunzel was pink. The other two were orange and green I think. I think these were Lin’s books???? ALSO!!! I copy and pasted the Uncle Dave story into Word last night and then this morning I saw the file open on my screen and Xd out of it. When I went to reopen it, it was GONE. Do you still have it???? Can you resend? SORRY! The Nash – tomorrow.

  9. Oklahoma Farmgirl

    Oh, I LOVED all the fairy tales. Color me weird! I was so very scared of the dark as a kid. As an adult I think I know why. Maybe I will share that sometime. Strange though, I loved to sit in the closet IN THE DARK. Go figure. But then I think I have that figured out too.

    I am so proud of your garden. What a wonderful memory to be building with your kids.

    Hugs to all!!

    Blessed be…

  10. le @ thirdontheright

    oh oh me me ….. Day of the Triffards or Triffids or … I should have googled before I started … the killer plants down from space – seen when aged about ten when the babysitter was with us … black and white and totally scarey !! scared now …. le

  11. wildbillyelliott

    I LOVED those books! Do you have them? The illustrations were memorable, and really brought the stories to life for me.

  12. outdoor.mom

    nice herbs 🙂 thanks for the prayer. i haven’t watched any of those movies in eons!!!

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