Subscribe to The Horn Book

Ask Rapunzel: Good-for-nothing critters

Cursed, hexed, or just plain vexed? Ask Rapunzel! She can untangle any fairy-tale dilemma.


I live in an enchanted forest, as many of us do, and was brought up to believe that keeping house would be a breeze! But I can’t get the woodland creatures around my cottage to pitch in and help! They just stare at me whenever I bring out the cleaning supplies, and when I ask them to make me a ball gown, they scatter into the woods. I’m exhausted! Was all that jabber about reliable help just an old fairy tale?

—Once upon a Time When Creatures Helped


Dear Once: Reluctant woodland creatures can be the result of several causes. First of all: when addressing them, are you using your flutey voice? We also recommend singing to inanimate objects in an impossibly high and wobbly soprano. If you’ve already taken these steps and the odd behavior continues, the woodland creatures could be under some sort of spell. In that case, contact right away! There might also be a possibility that you are an Evil Witch. Get tested!


Don’t miss any of Rapunzel’s fantastic advice! Click on the tag Ask Rapunzel to read all of her columns. For conflicts requiring legal mediation, Rapunzel recommends Judge Judy, the fairest judge in storybook land.

Elizabeth Thomas About Elizabeth Thomas

Elizabeth Thomas has an MFA from Hamline University in Writing for Children & Young Adults. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind