The Frog-prince

: The Best Popular Stories Selected And Rendered Anew

In times of yore, when wishes were both heard and granted, lived a

king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so

lovely that the sun himself, who has seen so much, wondered at her

beauty every time he looked in her face. Now, near the king's castle

was a large dark forest; and in the forest, under an old linden-tree,

was a deep well. When the day was very hot, the king's daughter used

to go to the wo
d and seat herself at the edge of the cool well; and

when she became wearied, she would take a golden ball, throw it up in

the air, and catch it again. This was her favourite amusement. Once it

happened that her golden ball, instead of falling back into the little

hand that she stretched out for it, dropped on the ground, and

immediately rolled away into the water. The king's daughter followed

it with her eyes, but the ball had vanished, and the well was so deep

that no one could see down to the bottom. Then she began to weep, wept

louder and louder every minute, and could not console herself at all.

While she was thus lamenting some one called to her: What is the

matter with you, king's daughter? You weep so, that you would touch

the heart of a stone.

She looked around to see whence the voice came, and saw a frog

stretching his thick ugly head out of the water.

Ah! it is you, old water-paddler! said she. I am crying for my

golden ball, which has fallen into the well.

Be content, answered the frog, I daresay I can give you some good

advice; but what will you give me if I bring back your plaything to


Whatever you like, dear frog, said she, my clothes, my pearls and

jewels, even the golden crown I wear.

The frog answered, Your clothes, your pearls and jewels, even your

golden crown, I do not care for; but if you will love me, and let me

be your companion and playfellow; sit near you at your little table,

eat from your little golden plate, drink from your little cup, and

sleep in your little bed;--if you will promise me this, then I will

bring you back your golden ball from the bottom of the well.

Oh, yes! said she; I promise you everything, if you will only bring

me back my golden ball.

She thought to herself, meanwhile: What nonsense the silly frog

talks! He sits in the water with the other frogs, and croaks, and can

not be anybody's playfellow!

But the frog, as soon as he had received the promise, dipped his head

under the water and sank down. In a little while up he came again with

the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The king's daughter

was overjoyed when she beheld her pretty plaything again, picked it

up, and ran away with it.

Wait! wait! cried the frog; take me with you. I cannot run as fast

as you.

Alas! of what use was it that he croaked after her as loud as he

could. She would not listen to him, but hastened home, and soon forgot

the poor frog, who was obliged to plunge again to the bottom of his


The next day, when she was sitting at dinner with the king and all the

courtiers, eating from her little gold plate, there came a sound of

something creeping up the marble staircase--splish, splash; and when

it had reached the top, it knocked at the door and cried, Youngest

king's daughter, open to me.

She ran, wishing to see who was outside; but when she opened the door,

and there sat the frog, she flung it hastily to again, and sat down at

table, feeling very, very uncomfortable. The king saw that her heart

was beating violently, and said, How, my child, why are you afraid?

Is a giant standing outside the door to carry you off?

Oh, no! answered she, it is no giant, but a nasty frog, who

yesterday, when I was playing in the wood near the well, fetched my

golden ball out of the water. For this I promised him he should be my

companion, but I never thought he could come out of his well. Now he

is at the door, and wants to come in.

Again, the second time there was a knock, and a voice cried:

Youngest king's daughter,

Open to me;

Know you what yesterday

You promised me,

By the cool water?

Youngest king's daughter

Open to me.

Then said the king, What you promised you must perform. Go and open

the door.

She went and opened the door; the frog hopped in, always following and

following her till he came up to her chair. There he sat and cried

out, Lift me up to you on the table.

She refused, till the king, her father, commanded her to do it. When

the frog was on the table, he said, Now push your little golden plate

nearer to me, that we may eat together. She did as he desired, but

one could easily see that she did it unwillingly. The frog seemed to

enjoy his dinner very much, but every morsel she ate stuck in the

throat of the poor little princess.

Then said the frog, I have eaten enough, and am tired; carry me to

your little room, and make your little silken bed smooth, and we will

lay ourselves down to sleep together.

At this the daughter of the king began to weep; for she was afraid of

the cold frog, who wanted to sleep in her pretty clean bed.

But the king looked angrily at her, and said again: What you have

promised you must perform. The frog is your companion.

It was no use to complain whether she liked it or not; she was obliged

to take the frog with her up to her little bed. So she picked him up

with two fingers, hating him bitterly the while, and carried him

upstairs: but when she got into bed, instead of lifting him up to her,

she threw him with all her strength against the wall, saying, Now,

you nasty frog, there will be an end of you.

But what fell down from the wall was not a dead frog, but a living

young prince, with beautiful and loving eyes, who at once became, by

her own promise and her father's will, her dear companion and husband.

He told her how he had been cursed by a wicked sorceress, and that no

one but the king's youngest daughter could release him from his

enchantment and take him out of the well.

The next day a carriage drove up to the palace-gates with eight white

horses, having white feathers on their heads and golden reins. Behind

it stood the servant of the young prince, called the Faithful Henry.

This faithful Henry had been so grieved when his master was changed

into a frog, that he had been compelled to have three iron bands

fastened round his heart, lest it should break. Now the carriage came

to convey the prince to his kingdom, so the faithful Henry lifted in

the bride and bridegroom, and mounted behind, full of joy at his

lord's release. But when they had gone a short distance, the prince

heard behind him a noise as if something was breaking. He turned

round, and cried out, Henry, the carriage is breaking!

But Henry replied: No, sir, it is not the carriage, but one of the

bands from my heart, with which I was forced to bind it up, or it

would have broken with grief, while you sat as a frog at the bottom of

the well.

Twice again this happened, and the prince always thought the carriage

was breaking; but it was only the bands breaking off from the heart of

the faithful Henry, out of joy that his lord the Frog-Prince was a

frog no more.