Once Upon a Friendship

Alone, in a tower,

A girl weaves her hair.

While dangling and untangling it,

She adds her tears to the pond below.

 

Alone, but for the other spoils

Adorning the interior.

Silver spoons, wagon wheels,

Boxes of yarn and linen

Crammed into every corner

The witch finds to fill in.

 

The peasants avoid this dark spot

That spites the light around.

The witch drains all their resources

And loves to drag them down.

 

To those who have not heard of her

Or listened to the warnings,

She seems an unobtrusive sort-

A beggar without earnings

 

Then when peasants too near venture

A dangerous dance ensues

The witch begins to say a rhyme

To stall them and amuse:

 

‘Come closer still and hear a tale

Of woe and mournful song.

Listen to my suffering

My pain and trials long.

I have no means, no trade or schtick

Except a harmless parlor trick.

Why not play a game or two

Betting trifles you won’t use?’

 

Once the peasants pause

Along the shady avenue

The witch seizes their precious time

And wins their humble audience too.

 

After a mere two hours

She swindles most with ease.

And collecting gold and trinkets

Comes as easy as the breeze.

 

An unfortunate couple

Who did not have gold in piles,

Wept and wailed because

The witch won their infant child.

 

Every day up in the tower

That child sings a tragic song

Of parents lost and gone

And hair that grows dreadfully long.

 

But lonesome she would be no more

For soon a friend she’d gain.

A friend who’d signed her life away-

A new life she wished to attain.

 

 

A little mermaid pined and pined

For access to the inland.

Too close to the water

She could never try to live a human.

 

Two forms of being-legs and tail

She easily could assume

As long as she stayed clear

Of the briny ocean blue.

 

In return for transport from the sea

The mermaid had to ensure

Scales aplenty from her tail

A priceless marine treasure.

 

The witch kept the bargain

And to the land the mermaid was truly brought

But to the mermaid’s utter dismay

To a most solitary spot.

 

In the same pond not too far below

Rapunzel’s lonely stoop

Came to live a perplexed mermaid

To a melancholy coop.

 

A shy and cautious girl

Walked and peered over the rail

And gasped to see another:

The floating Ariel.

 

From then on, a precious friendship grew

-Each sharing her troubles sour.

With every passing hour

More of each other’s struggle they knew.

 

One calling down the tower,

One yelling from below,

Their laughter and companionship

Was a delight to behold.

 

At night the witch returned,

Burdened with goods from all the scheming,

And scowled at the sight

Of the two girls sweetly dreaming.

 

A couple of years go by

In this barely tolerable state.

Both still feeling isolated

And consigned to this one fate.

Rapunzel, trapped by a fear of heights,

Could no more escape

Than Ariel with her silver tail,

Not knowing to use a human shape.

 

One day the mermaid ventured-

On wobbly legs indeed,

To try walking on land

At a quite irregular speed.

 

Rapunzel cheered her from above

As Ariel strode unsure,

Marveling at her progress along

The dewy springtime pasture.

 

Excitement throttling in her chest

And her breath drawing ever sharper,

Ariel runs till the tower is out of sight,

Her grass skirt trailing after.

 

This sight of wild maiden slight

With foreign garb quite strange

Startled a prince scanning the horizon,

Because of the view’s sudden change

 

He laughs and calls, “Fair maiden,

From what village have you come?”

Ariel returns the laugh and shows him

To the tower now not quite as glum.

 

Ariel, stricken with the prince’s charm,

Felt immediately rather jealous

As she witnessed the prince’s expression

When he saw Rapunzel’s silky tresses.

 

As the prince made his way up the tower

To meet Rapunzel, flushed and blushing,

Ariel sunk back in the water

And let her tears flow, warm and gushing.

 

The prince left before nightfall

When the witch would soon return,

But promised to come back again

And the day after in turn.

 

True to his word, the prince rode his steed

To the same place where he found them,

Nodded courteously to Ariel, and

Climbed the hair of his favorite maiden.

 

Rapunzel grew more and more

Of the prince just as fond,

While Ariel watched and sulked

From her gloomy, murky pond

 

Time and time again

Ariel felt her thoughts wander

To the ocean home she left

In a temper of hot and naïve thunder.

 

The tail she had long hated

Now seemed to her less repulsive,

And the lofty vision she had of humans

The witch had proved illusive.

 

So for Rapunzel and her prince,

Ariel resolved to wish the best.

But first, she had to ensure

They could have a future free of the past.

 

One bit of wealth of Ariel’s

She had long kept from the witch-

One that she had held onto tightly

For such a time as this.

 

The sole gift from her father,

The long-revered sea king Triton,

Was a long silver chain

That at the end held a blue diamond.

 

 A few months passed when

Ariel suggested to the couple that they marry,

And when they wondered how,

Ariel showed them the matchless jewelry.

 

So when the witch hobbled to the tower and the pond

To see the prisoners left them,

Her anger vanished when she saw

The glittering, priceless gem.

 

Meanwhile the prince and princess traveled

To the castle in the heart of the country,

And Ariel could not wait and ran

Back to the shimmering sea.

 

But neither Rapunzel nor Ariel

Forgot their first true friend.

And on that sentimental note

I write the words: “The End”.

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