Which is not Rapunzel.
Once upon a time, deep in the jungles of Peru, there lived a shaman and his wife who were very unhappy because they had no children. These good people had a little window at the back of their hut, which looked into the most lovely farm, full of all manner of beautiful cows and vegetables; but the garden was surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to enter it, for it belonged to a witch of great flakiness, who was feared by the whole world.
One day the woman stood at the window overlooking the garden, and saw there the finest cow she had ever seen; the animal looked so plump and healthy that she longed to eat its tongue. The desire grew day by day, and just because she knew she couldn't possibly get it, she pined away and became quite pale and wretched. Then her husband grew alarmed and said:
"What ails you, dear wife?"
"Oh, Incacha," she answered, "if I don't get some tongue to eat out of the garden behind the house, I know I shall die."
The shaman, who loved her dearly, thought to himself, "Come! rather than let your wife die you shall fetch her some tongue, no matter the cost." So at dusk he climbed over the wall into the witch's garden, and, hastily killing the cow and obtaining the desired tongue before he hid the carcass, he returned to his wife. She boiled the tongue, which tasted so good that her longing for the forbidden food was greater than ever. If she were to know any peace of mind, there was nothing for it but that her husband should climb over the garden wall again, and fetch her some more. So at dusk over he got, but when he reached the other side he drew back in terror, for there, standing before him, was the Neo-Hippie Witch Naomi Sandburg.
"How dare you," she said, with a wrathful glance at the enormous mound where the murdered cow lay buried, "climb into my garden and kill my cow just for its tongue? You shall suffer for your wastefulness."
"Oh!" Incacha implored, "pardon my presumption; necessity alone drove me to the deed. My wife saw your cow from her window, and conceived such a desire for tongue that she would certainly have died if her wish had not been gratified." Then the Neo-Hippie Witch's anger was a little appeased, and she said:
"If it's as you say, you may take as much tongue away with you as you like, but on one condition only -- that you give me the child your wife will shortly bring into the world. All shall go well with it, and I will look after it like a mother."
The shaman in his terror agreed to everything she asked, and as soon as the child was born Naomi appeared, and having given it the name of Blair, which means "one who loves tongue"(1), she carried it off with her.
(1) Yes, I know it doesn't mean that, but for the purposes of the story let's pretend it does.
Blair was the most beautiful (and energetic, and talkative) child under the sun. When he was sixteen years old, the Neo-Hippie Witch, to give herself a rest, shut him up in a great ivory tower, in the middle of Academia, and the tower had neither stairs nor doors, only high up at the very top a small window. When Naomi wanted to get in, she stood underneath and called out:
Let down your hair,"
for she loved his long, curly brown hair, and he had the unfortunate custom of tying it in a ponytail to keep it out of his face while he studied his books. Whenever Blair heard her voice, he loosed his ponytail and threw a rope ladder down to her, taking care to avoid looking down, for he had a terrible fear of heights.
After they had lived like this for a few years, it happened one day that a Detective of Major Crimes, Jim Ellison, was driving through the hospitals of Academia and passed by the tower. As he drew near it, his head pounding from his uncontrollable senses, he heard someone reading aloud from a monograph about Sentinels by Richard Burton (the explorer not the actor), and it explained his condition so clearly that he stood still spell-bound, and listened. It was Blair in his loneliness trying to while away the time by talking to himself. The Detective longed to see the owner of the voice, but he sought in vain for a door in the tower. He drove home, but he was so haunted by the new information he had heard that he returned every day to the tower and listened. One day, when he was standing thus behind a tree, he saw the Neo-Hippie Witch approach and heard her call out:
Let down your hair."
Then Blair dropped the rope ladder, and the Neo-Hippie Witch climbed up.
"So that's the staircase, is it?" said Jim. "Then I too will climb it and try my luck."
So on the following day, at dusk, he went to the foot of the tower and cried:
Let down your hair,"
and as soon as he had let it down the Detective climbed up.
At first Blair was terribly excited when the Sentinel came in, for he had never seen one before; but the Detective was so frustrated by his babbling that he threw Blair up against the wall and demanded he start making sense and explain what was wrong with his senses. Very soon Blair forgot his delight, seeing Jim's fear, and when he offered to help Jim with his senses the Sentinel consented dubiously. 'For,' Jim thought, 'he is young and flaky, and may lose interest in me shortly, but I have no choice, it seems.' So he put Blair down and said:
"All right, I will let you test me and ride along with me on my job, only how are you to get down out of the tower? Every time you come to the window you turn pale and get sick."
They arranged that till Blair could get over his acrophobia, Jim was to come to him every evening to work with his senses, because Naomi was with him during the day. Naomi, of course, knew nothing of what was going on, till one day Blair, not thinking of what he was about, turned to the Neo-Hippie Witch and said:
"Naomi, don't you have anything better to talk about than flaky psychics? Jim always has so many wonderful stories to tell about the car chases he goes on and the serial murderers he hunts as a Detective of Major Crimes. Man, what a rush it is to hear him."
"Oh! you wicked child," cried the Neo-Hippie Witch. "What is this I hear? I thought I had hidden you safely from the whole world, and in spite of it you have managed to deceive me."
In her wrath she seized Blair and took him to a monastery, and there left him to meditate and get rid of the negative vibes.
But on the evening of the day in which she had taken poor Blair away, the Neo-Hippie Witch burnt all the sage she could lay her hands on, and when the Detective came and called out:
Let down your hair,"
she let the rope ladder down, and Jim climbed up as usual, but instead of his friend and guide Blair, he found the Neo-Hippie Witch Naomi Sandburg, who fanned the sage smoke in his face, and cried:
"You pig! I'm cleansing away the bad vibes you brought in, and Blair is safely away from your evil influence now!"
"Argh, my eyes!" cried Jim as he sneezed, and in his confusion he jumped right down from the tower. Fortunately, being an action hero, he escaped without a scratch, though his eyes and nose were so irritated by the sage he couldn't see, nor could he stop sneezing. Then he wandered, blind and miserable, with no means of getting himself back to Major Crimes, or finding Blair to help him.
Of a sudden he heard a voice which seemed strangely familiar to him. He walked eagerly in the direction of the sound, and when he was quite close, Blair recognized him and rushed to him, seeing his red eyes and dripping nose. "Jim! You've got to dial it down and filter it out!" Jim followed the instructions, and in a moment his allergies got under control again, and he saw as well as he had ever done. Then he led Blair to Major Crimes, where they were received and welcomed with great skepticism by Jim's Captain, Simon Banks, and they lived happily ever after.