Once a pun a time,
In a kingdom far away,
There lived a king and queen,
And their daughter, or so they say.
This daughter, the princess,
Was of unparalleled beauty.
Gorgeous, beautiful, ravishing,
Indeed, she was a cutie.
But not only that, she was smart too,
Reading everything in sight,
She took in info like a sponge,
Trying to learn everything just right.
Eventually, the princess came of age,
Much to the king and queen’s delight.
Right then they started to plan and plot
About Rapunzel’s wedding night.
“She’s beautiful and smart,” they said,
“And not the least bit sleazy.
What man wouldn’t want to have her?
Marrying her off should be easy!”
But as they sent princes to her,
That’s when the trouble began,
For no one could ever handle,
Of what Rapunzel was a fan.
For the princess liked to joke a lot,
Causing groans to all who heard,
For Rapunzel liked nothing more
Than a clever play on words.
“Just stop, we beg you!”
The king and queen would scream,
“You must be married! No man will take you!
To be married should be your dream!”
But Rapunzel would simply shrug,
“I need someone who won’t run.
One day someone will enjoy my words,
Then I’ll know I’ve found the pun.”
One day there came a prince,
Gallant, bright, and rich,
He strode up to the castle,
Ready to make his pitch.
“I’ve heard of Rapunzel,”
He said, “and her brand of fun.
Don’t worry, I can take it,
I can handle a simple pun.”
“You don’t understand,” said the King and Queen,
“For Rapunzel goes for quantity over quality!
The prince merely shrugged and said,
“How bad can it possibly be?”
The prince moseyed through the castle,
Having their warnings ignored,
And gleefully he arrived
At Rapunzel’s bedroom door.
He knocked, the door opened,
And the prince had the privilege
Of seeing for the first time
Rapunzel’s stunning visage.
“Rapunzel,” he stammered,
Embarrassed now and nervous,
“I’m the prince, come for your hand,
To be forever at your service.”
“I’m glad you have met me at this happy time,”
Said Rapunzel with a bow,
“I used to be in trouble and addicted to soap,
But don’t worry, I’m clean now.”
The prince suppressed the anger
That was climbing up his throat,
He nodded at her politely;
She wouldn’t get his goat.
Making small talk, he said,
“Do you have to clean your own room?
Sorry I was looking around
And noticed that you have a broom.”
Rapunzel smiled shyly, saying,
“I suppose I must offer an explanation.
I just had to try this broom out myself;
They say it’s sweeping the nation.”
The prince inhaled sharply,
His knuckles turning white,
He just had to make it now,
She’d be his before the night.
Rapunzel saw she had him on the ropes,
It was time to foil the plot.
To make him leave, she decided,
She’d hit him with her best shot:
“I submitted ten puns to a contest,
Right before it ended,
And when I looked to see which one won,
Sadly, no pun in ten did.”
The prince blinked once stupidly,
Stunned by the awful comedienne.
He spun on a heel, walked out the door,
And was never seen again.
Again and again this happened,
Princes came and went,
Eventually, none were left,
All of their patience had been spent.
The king and queen threw up their hands,
Beating their hands and feet,
“We can’t do it! We’ll find no one!
The Princess drives away every man she meets!”
Suddenly, a prince appeared,
He came from a faraway land,
With him came a friend of his,
Each talking with their hands.
The king and queen looked on confused,
Wondering, “What was this?”
Who were these people? What were they doing?
Is there something that we missed?”
The prince made a gesture,
And the friend replied, “Yes, yes.”
Turning to the king and queen he said,
“The prince wants to marry the princess.”
“Right,” said the king
Clearly not believing,
“But what’s with all the gesturing?
What’s with all the hand waving?”
“Ah,” said the friend, “Of course,
I apologize most sincerely,
But the prince was born afflicted,
And cannot hear so clearly.
“Still, all he asks for is a chance,
Please don’t turn him down,
He’s smart, funny, capable,
Overall, the best around.”
The king and queen couldn’t believe their luck,
Finally, an end to all their fear.
For standing right before them
Was a prince who could not hear!
“This is perfect!” they rejoiced,
“Everything will be ok!
He can’t hear, she’ll get tired of saying them,
And finally the puns will go away!”
They ushered him into Rapunzel’s room,
And told her before they left,
“You’re all done now Rapunzel!
How will you pun to someone already deaf?”
But Rapunzel flashed a sly grin,
She’s been busy with her time.
For while alone in her spare moments,
She had learned to sign!
She stood to greet the prince,
And then her hands they flew,
Signing, “Talking with your hands?
I’ve gotta HAND that to you!”
But then the prince grinned widely back,
He knew he had found the one,
He signed back in a happy flurry,
“You know, I’ve always loved to pun.”
Then the two lived happily ever after,
These two joyous wordsmiths.
And now we draw our tale to a close,
This one’s pun and over with.
Dan Heise is an actor and writer who works at Powell’s City of Books part time. He enjoys reading plays and young adult novels, and enjoys writing poems and plays. He often can’t decide whether he likes puns or Lord of the Rings more.