A man and his wife live next door to a witch. The wife covets the witch's lettuce garden, and asks her husband to go and steal some for her. He does so, and gets caught by the witch, who barters the lettuce in return for the baby that they may have. Not long after, the couple have a little girl, and hand her over to the witch. The witch calls her Rapunzel (the German word for lettuce).
When Rapunzel is 12, the witch locks her in a high tower that has no entrance and only one window. When the witch visits her, Rapunzel must let down her long golden hair for the witch to climb up on.
One day a young prince is passing through the forest. After witnessing the witch's journey up the side of the tower, he waits for her to leave, and tries the same rhyme that the witch used. And so they meet and fall in love and plan to get away from the tower. Every night the prince brings silk cords for Rapunzel to weave into a ladder.
One day, Rapunzel innocently lets the witch know about the prince. The witch is furious, and cuts off Rapunzel's hair and banishes her to a wild and deserted place. When the prince comes, the witch lets down Rapunzel's hair. When the witch tells him that he will never see Rapunzel again, and that she intends to do something awful to him, he escapes by jumping out the window, but the thorns below scratch his eyes out.
So he wanders for months, blind, until he comes to the place where Rapunzel is. Rapunzel recognises him at once despite his appearance, and cries over him. Two of her tears fall into his eyes, and heals him. They go back to his kingdom and live there happily.