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From "The Goldenrod Fairy Book" selected and translated by Esther Singleton; Dodd, Mead & Company; New York; pp. 336-342.





IN olden times, when people could have all they wished, lived a King who had beautiful daughters; but the youngest was so lovely that the sun himself would wonder whenever he shone on her face. Near the King’s castle lay a dark, gloomy forest, in the midst of which stood an old linden-tree, and under it was a spring.

One day, when the weather was very hot, the King’s daughter went into the forest, seated herself on the side of the cool fountain, and began to toss a golden ball in the air, and catch it again, as an amusement. Presently, however, she failed to catch the golden ball in her hand; it fell on the ground, and rolled over the grass into the water.

The Princess followed it with her eyes, but it disappeared, for the water was so deep that she could not see the bottom.

Then she cried, and began to weep bitterly. Presently she heard a voice saying:


“Why do you weep, oh King’s daughter? Your tears could make even a stone pity you!”

She looked at the spot from whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching his thick, ugly head out of the water.

“Oh, there you are, old water-paddler,” she said. “Well, then, I am crying for the loss of my golden ball that has fallen into the spring.”

“Then weep no more,” answered the frog; “I can get it for you. But what will you give me if I fetch your plaything?”

“Oh, anything you like, dear frog,” she replied. “What will you have — my dresses, my pearls and jewels, or the golden crown I wear?”

“Your clothes,” answered the frog, “your pearls and your jewels, or even your golden crown, are nothing to me. I want you to love me, and let me be your companion and play-fellow. I should like to sit at your table, eat from your golden plate, drink out of your cup, and sleep in your little bed. If you will promise me this, then I will dive down into the water and bring up your pretty golden ball.”

“Oh, yes,” she replied. “I will promise you 338 anything you like if you will only bring up my ball again.”

But she thought to herself that a silly, chattering frog, such as he was, living in the water with others like himself, and croaking, could not be a companion for her.

The frog, having received the promise, dipped his head under the water, and sank down to the bottom, where he found the ball, brought it back in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. When the King’s daughter saw the beautiful plaything, she was full of joy, and, catching it up, ran away with it.

“Wait, wait,” cried the frog, “take me with you; I cannot run as fast as you can.” But the young Princess would not listen to the frog’s croaking; she got to the house as fast as she could, and soon forgot the poor frog, who was obliged to return to the fountain.

The next day, however, while the Princess was sitting with the King and his courtiers, and eating out of her own little golden plate, there came a strange noise on the marble steps, splish, splash, splish, splash, and then a knock on the door, and a voice cried, “Lovely Princess, open 339 the door for me.” So she went to see who could be outside. There was the frog. She closed the door hastily, and seated herself again at the table, looking quite pale. The King, seeing that his daughter was alarmed, said, “My child, what is there at the door — is it a giant come to carry you away?”

“Oh, no, my father,” she replied, “it is no giant — only a great ugly frog.”

“A frog! What can he want with you?”

“Ah, dear father, yesterday when I was playing with my golden ball in the forest, sitting by the spring, I let it fall into the water, and because I cried the frog brought it out for me, and because he wished it I promised that he should be my companion, for I thought he could not get out of the water to come to me, and now here he is.”

Just then came a second knock at the door, and a voice cried:

“King’s daughter, King’s daughter, open for me;
You promised that I your companion should be,
When you sat in the shade from the sun’s bright beam,
And I fetched up your ball from the fountain’s cool stream.”


Then said the King, “You must keep your promise; go and let him in.” So she was obliged to go and open the door, and the frog hopped in after her, close to her feet and up to her chair. But when she sat down he cried, “Take me up by you.” She would not at first, till her father ordered her to do so. He was no sooner there than he jumped upon the table and said, “Now then, push your little golden plate nearer, and we will eat together.” The Princes did as he told he, but everyone could see how much she disliked it. The frog seemed to relish his dinner very much, but at last he said, “I have eaten quite enough, and I feel very tired; carry me upstairs into your little bedroom, and make your silken bed ready, that we may sleep together.”

When the Princess heard this she began to weep, for she was really afraid of the cold frog; she could not even touch him, and now he actually wanted to sleep in her neat, beautiful little bed.

But the king was displeased at her tears, and he said, “He who helped you when you were in trouble must not be despised now.” So the young Princess found she must obey. Then she 341 took up the frog with two fingers, and carried him upstairs and placed him in a corner of her room.

In the evening, however, as soon as the Princess was in bed, the frog crept out of his corner, and said to her, “I am so tired; lift me up, and let me sleep in your bed, or I will tell your father.”

On hearing this, the Princess fell into a great passion. Seizing the frog in her hand, she dashed him with all her strength against the wall, saying, “You will be quiet now, I hope, you ugly frog.”

But as he fell, the frog changed into a handsome young Prince, with beautiful friendly eyes, who, with her father’s consent, became her constant companion and husband.

Then the Prince told her his story — how he had been changed into a frog by a wicked witch, and that no one could have released him but herself, and that on the morrow they would go to his kingdom.

The next day a splendid carriage, drawn by eight white horses, drove up to the door. They had white feathers on their heads, and 342 golden harness, and by the side of the carriage stood the Prince’s steward, the faithful Henrik. This faithful Henrik had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog that he had fastened three iron bands round his heart to prevent it from bursting with woe and sorrow.

The carriage, with the Prince and his bride, soon drove away, with Henrik behind in his old place, and full of joy at the release of his master. They had not travelled far when they heard a loud crack, as if something had broken.

Now, the Prince knew nothing of the iron bands round his servant’s heart, so he cried out, “Henrik, is the carriage breaking?”

“No, sire,” he replied, “only the iron bands which I bound round my heart, for fear it should burst with sorrow while you were a frog confined to the fountain. They are breaking now because I am so happy to see my master restored to his own shape, and travelling to his kingdom with a beautiful bride.”



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