The Golden Watch
By Anne Leskey
I am one of the most treasured possessions of Queen Rapunzel and her daughter. I am a gold necklace watch, with amethyst trimmings. Queen Rapunzel was not always a queen; indeed, she started out as a peasant’s daughter. Thirty years ago today, I was being worn by the queen’s mother, Janice Fredrickson. Janice was the wife of a peasant, whose name was David Fredrickson. I was listening with some interest to the conversation that was happening.
“DAVEEEEEEED,” shrilly shrieked the woman. “I MUST have rampion!”
David nodded, and Janice sank partway into her rocking chair, and said, “Or I shall die,” with a sort of faint fall the rest of the way into the chair.
I watched in amusement as I saw David’s legs moving to his boots; I couldn’t see any more because of my awful position. But then, I was carefully put over David Fredrickson’s neck, and we moved out of the wooden cabin together. We made for a neighboring garden, though at that time we thought it abandoned by human beings. I struck twelve, one of four of the numbers printed on me. David began putting rampion in a small basket, when suddenly a shadow fell over the grass (I was nearly touching that, as David was bent over). David stood up, and I could see a woman, in a dress colored crimson and dark purple with flowing black sleeves.
“Oh,” I heard David say, as he towered over the woman, who couldn’t have been more than five feet. “OH. I didn’t realize that this yard had people in it. I am most dreadfully sorry.”
I listened to the woman’s reply.
“David Henry Fredrickson,” said the tiny woman. “YOU SHALL give me your firstborn daughter…and in exchange you get the rampion, and escape being a toad!”
David whimpered a agreement, and betook himself and myself extremely quickly out of the most frightening situation--for me as well as him, for a toad couldn’t wear such a beautiful watch as my golden self.
Two years passed, before the daughter arrived. I was hanging on a high nail when the woman, who had grown two feet taller, arrived, dressed in another flowing dress, but this time black. Her heels clacked on the wooden floor,
“Well, give me the brat,” insisted she.
“Wait, can we name her?” asked the sorrowful Janice.
“The middle name,” conceded the lady.
I saw the baby being named Rapunzel Eleanora; quite the name, I thought. Before little Rapunzel left with the woman, who, incidentally, was named Kelly, or said she was, I was slipped over her tiny baby suit. The child was a very cute baby, with longish red-gold hair, and huge deep blue eyes. I was hung onto the top of her baby carrier. Kelly was taking us to an amazing looking thing. It looked sort of like a chariot, with long antlers all around the top rim. Big white deer were pulling it and the top of their halters had blowy, bright blue, streaming ribbons, all tied into a thick bunch, and blowing in the wind. I suddenly couldn’t see anything except for the baby, for I was put at the bottom of the chariot.
After about thirty minutes of enormously fast driving, the baby and I were picked up. I could see the deer being unhitched, and then we climbed a very long staircase, in the dark, save for half-hidden candles making an eerie glow. Then we were laid on a bed, and I was hung onto a wall, high, high, up.
Six years passed by, and I was still on the wall. Rapunzel was in a small tub, getting washed, and she poured some kind of dark mixture onto her hair. When Kelly came in Rapunzel joyfully ran to greet her.
“MAMA, Mama, my hair grew!” giggled Rapunzel.
Indeed her hair had grown much, much longer. Six feet longer.
“AHGGHA!” shrieked Kelly.
With each passing year, she grew six feet more, until finally she was eighteen. Her hair was seventy-two feet long, and that was the only way, now, to get into and outside of the stone tower. As there was a balcony, I had seen the outside of it, and it was covered in pink and purple flowers, with mossy green leaves. Rapunzel wore me now, and played with me. The only other full-time occupant of the tower was a fat little golden retriever puppy, named Sunny. Each day Kelly would come with Rapunzel’s meals, and stay there for one hour. Today was a hot summer day, and Kelly was at the bottom of the tower, as I knew from her singing.
Rapunzel, let your hair down to me
So that the wild outside I can fleeee.
Rapunzel, let your hair down to me
So the red stream I’ll seeeeeeeeee.
I hated her song, for when she sang it was almost enough to make one’s glass shatter! Sunny would accompany her song with loud barks and whines. It was the breakfast hour, the time being seven. Lunch was always at twelve. After Kelly had left I heard a masculine man singing,(or attempting to; he couldn’t sing in the least) the same song that Kelly had. Rapunzel put down two long braids, and the man climbed up.
“Careful,” shouted Rapunzel. “I just finished washing that!”
When the man was fully up I could see him. He was dark-haired (it came down to his shoulder) and had gray eyes. They talked, but as eleven approached he left, saying that he would be back the next day. I didn’t understand this, and didn’t like it.
For three weeks this visiting continued, and I learned that his name was Prince Douglas Erickson. But one day when he was about to leave the tower, I heard Kelly’s voice. Soon Rapunzel and I were dragged to the balcony, where a good long rope was. Prince Douglas was thrown from the tower and landed in a pile of moss, otherwise he would have certainly died. Then Rapunzel, Kelly, and I were in the chariot, and driving at full speed to a desert. Rapunzel was left there, with me. She was tied to a tree, but there was fruit, water, and Kelly gave her a tent, along with a cooler that contained several weeks’ food.
It was late autumn when the Prince found his way to there. I saw his silk shirt, not being high enough to see the rest of him, and soon once again we were journeying, this time in the royal coach. Two weeks later I was hung high in a room in the palace; I could see everything. Rapunzel and Prince Douglas got married, and soon were Queen Rapunzel and King Douglas. 12 years passed slowly, and happily. The precise amount of four children was born, and the eldest, a girl of eleven, now wears me. The children’s names are Kirsten, my owner; Lilian; James; and Matthew. Kirsten used some of the shampoo, and now has long hair; Rapunzel’s has grown to be one hundred forty-four feet long. She talks about trimming it up sometime, but never gets around to it. I had to have a new battery, after mine lasted thirty years. Also, Rapunzel was reunited with her family, Janice and David, along with her brother, Peter, who is now the King’s adviser, though five–year-old Matthew insists that he should be. Also, Kelly has been put in charge of taking care of the royal family of golden retrievers, having reformed, and the puppies seem to think that she is their second mother.
Copyright 2017 by Anne Leskey