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The Frog-Prince

One fine evening a young princess put on her bonnet and clogs, andwent out to take a walk by herself in a wood; and when...

The Frog-Prince

One fine evening a young princess put on her bonnet and clogs, andwent out to take a walk by herself in a wood; and when she came toa cool spring of water, that rose in the midst of it, she satherself down to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in herhand, which was her favourite plaything; and she was always tossingit up into the air, and catching it again as it fell. After a timeshe threw it up so high that she missed catching it as it fell; andthe ball bounded away, and rolled along upon the ground, till at lastit fell down into the spring. The princess looked into the springafter her ball, but it was very deep, so deep that she could not seethe bottom of it. Then she began to bewail her loss, and said, «Alas! ifI could only get my ball again, I would give all my fine clothes andjewels, and everything that I have in the world.»

Whilst she was speaking, a frog put its head out of the water, andsaid, «Princess, why do you weep so bitterly?» «Alas!» said she, «whatcan you do for me, you nasty frog? My golden ball has fallen into thespring.» The frog said, «I want not your pearls, and jewels, and fineclothes; but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eatfrom off your golden plate, and sleep upon your bed, I will bring youyour ball again.» «What nonsense,» thought the princess, «this sillyfrog is talking! He can never even get out of the spring to visit me,though he may be able to get my ball for me, and therefore I will tellhim he shall have what he asks.» So she said to the frog, «Well, if youwill bring me my ball, I will do all you ask.» Then the frog put hishead down, and dived deep under the water; and after a little while hecame up again, with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the edge ofthe spring. As soon as the young princess saw her ball, she ran to pickit up; and she was so overjoyed to have it in her hand again, thatshe never thought of the frog, but ran home with it as fast as shecould. The frog called after her, «Stay, princess, and take me with youas you said,» But she did not stop to hear a word.

The next day, just as the princess had sat down to dinner, she hearda strange noise—tap, tap—plash, plash—as if something was coming upthe marble staircase: and soon afterwards there was a gentle knockat the door, and a little voice cried out and said:

«Open the door, my princess dear, Open the door to thy true love here! And mind the words that thou and I said By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.»

Then the princess ran to the door and opened it, and there she sawthe frog, whom she had quite forgotten. At this sight she wassadly frightened, and shutting the door as fast as she could came backto her seat. The king, her father, seeing that something hadfrightened her, asked her what was the matter. «There is a nasty frog,’said she, «at the door, that lifted my ball for me out of the springthis morning: I told him that he should live with me here, thinkingthat he could never get out of the spring; but there he is at the door,and he wants to come in.»

While she was speaking the frog knocked again at the door, and said:

«Open the door, my princess dear, Open the door to thy true love here! And mind the words that thou and I said By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.»

Then the king said to the young princess, «As you have given your wordyou must keep it; so go and let him in.» She did so, and the frog hoppedinto the room, and then straight on—tap, tap—plash, plash—from thebottom of the room to the top, till he came up close to the table wherethe princess sat. «Pray lift me upon chair,» said he to the princess,«and let me sit next to you.» As soon as she had done this, the frogsaid, «Put your plate nearer to me, that I may eat out of it.» Thisshe did, and when he had eaten as much as he could, he said, «Now Iam tired; carry me upstairs, and put me into your bed.» And theprincess, though very unwilling, took him up in her hand, and put himupon the pillow of her own bed, where he slept all night long. Assoon as it was light he jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went outof the house. «Now, then,» thought the princess, «at last he is gone,and I shall be troubled with him no more.»

But she was mistaken; for when night came again she heard the sametapping at the door; and the frog came once more, and said:

«Open the door, my princess dear, Open the door to thy true love here! And mind the words that thou and I said By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.»

And when the princess opened the door the frog came in, and slept uponher pillow as before, till the morning broke. And the third night hedid the same. But when the princess awoke on the followingmorning she was astonished to see, instead of the frog, a handsomeprince, gazing on her with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen,and standing at the head of her bed.

He told her that he had been enchanted by a spiteful fairy, whohad changed him into a frog; and that he had been fated so to abide tillsome princess should take him out of the spring, and let him eatfrom her plate, and sleep upon her bed for three nights. «You,» saidthe prince, «have broken his cruel charm, and now I have nothing towish for but that you should go with me into my father’s kingdom,where I will marry you, and love you as long as you live.»

The young princess, you may be sure, was not long in saying «Yes» toall this; and as they spoke a gay coach drove up, with eight beautifulhorses, decked with plumes of feathers and a golden harness; and behindthe coach rode the prince’s servant, faithful Heinrich, who hadbewailed the misfortunes of his dear master during his enchantmentso long and so bitterly, that his heart had well-nigh burst.

They then took leave of the king, and got into the coach witheight horses, and all set out, full of joy and merriment, for theprince’s kingdom, which they reached safely; and there they livedhappily a great many years.

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