While the popular, modern retelling excludes many of the traditional elements of the story in favor of presenting a less passive heroine that appeals to today’s independent girls, early versions of the tale are more focused on the morality-tale aspects of the story. Kids who are discovering this age-old tale can learn many valuable lessons from the characters and their exploits; here are ten of them.

  1. Greed Can Be Dangerous – All of the events that befall the titular character could have been avoided altogether, had her mother exercised restraint instead of giving in to her greed. While her husband was successful in his first larcenous attempt, her refusal to be content with one serving and greedy need for more led to the witch finding him out.
  2. Reckless Behavior Often Has Unpleasant Consequences – Rapunzel’s father thinks that he will provide his wife with the rampion she craves, “no matter the cost.” This reckless behavior and belief that nothing truly bad could happen to them leads to the loss of their child.
  3. Spoiled, Selfish Behavior Leads to Trouble – With her fixation on things that she cannot have trumping her love for her unborn child, Rapunzel’s mother was quite selfish. Her refusal to consider alternative means of satisfying her cravings and demand that her husband bring her the forbidden food is a great lesson for kids about the dangers of behaving in such a manner.
  4. Forbidden Items Are Always More Appealing – Adults know that things we can’t have are almost always more appealing than those that are within our reach. However, little ones can have their first experience with this concept from learning about Rapunzel’s mother and her obsession with the forbidden rampion.
  5. Stealing is Wrong – Rapunzel’s father sneaks into the witch’s garden and takes her rampion without permission, leading to all of their troubles. It’s interesting to note that he never entertains the idea of simply asking the witch if he could take some; instead, he steals what he wants and suffers the consequences.
  6. Think Before You Speak – The importance of weighing your words carefully is underlined by Rapunzel’s thoughtless question regarding the witch’s weight in comparison to the handsome young prince that has been secretly visiting her.
  7. Time Marches On – Though the witch imprisons Rapunzel in her tower in a bid to protect her from the outside world and keep her young forever, even the powerful witch can’t stop the inexorable march of time.
  8. Kindness Soothes Fear – Rapunzel’s initial fear of the young prince that climbs up her tower is certainly understandable; he’s the first stranger she’s ever met. However, his kindness and goodness eventually wins her over, abolishing her fears and causing her to fall in love with him.
  9. Wisdom Comes From Life Experiences – In some versions of the tale, Rapunzel’s ignorance of the world around her and lack of life experience causes her to become pregnant, as she doesn’t realize that such a thing is the natural outcome of her dalliances with the prince. While this may be too mature a theme for children, there are other examples of Rapunzel’s lack of experience contributing to her lack of wisdom.
  10. Patience Will Be Rewarded – Kids can learn the importance of patience and of never giving up hope from examining the tale of Rapunzel and her young Prince; against all odds, she wandered in pursuit of him and did not give up.

Rapunzel is one of the more popular fairytales to receive the modernization treatment, as it has been updated several times and explored from every possible angle. There’s even a “Fairytales for Feminists” version, which was released in 1985.