Classic Literature | 15 September 2016The Frog King Share article facebook twitter google pinterest For centuries fantastical stories of witches, giants, princesses, talking animals, and magical kingdoms have been passed from generation to generation. This fairy tale from the Brother’s Grimm is one you’re sure to be familiar with. Including a beautiful illustration and some additional notes on the story, here’s The Frog King from The World Treasury of Fairy Tales and Folklore. Once upon a time, when wishing still helped, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun was astonished whenever it shone on her face. Close by the king’s castle lay a great forest, and under an old lime tree was a well, and when the day was warm, the princess went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and played with her golden ball, and threw it high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything. Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess’s golden ball did not fall into the little hand, which she was holding up for it, but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The princess followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. On this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted. And as she thus lamented someone said to her, “What ails you, Princess? You weep so that even a stone would show pity.” She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and sawa frog stretching forth its thick, ugly head from the water. “Ah! Old water-splasher, is it you?” said she. “I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well.” “Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered the frog. “I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring your plaything up again?” “Whatever you want, dear frog,” said she. “My clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am wearing.” The frog answered, “I do not care for your clothes, your pearls and jewels, or your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and playfellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed—if you will promise me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up again.” “Oh yes,” said she, “I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring me my ball back again.” She, however, thought, “How the silly frog does talk! He lives in the water with the other frogs, and croaks, and can be no companion to any human being!” But the frog, when he had received this promise, sank down into the water, and came swimming up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The princess was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and picked it up, and ran away with it. “Wait, wait,” said the frog. “Take me with you. I can’t run as you can.” But what did it avail him to shout his “croak, croak” after her, as loudly as he could? She did not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was forced to go back into his well again. The next day when she had seated herself at the table with the king and all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate, something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.” She ran to open the door, and there sat the frog. She slammed the door in great haste, and sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The king saw that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what are you so afraid of? Is there a giant outside who wants to carry you away?” “Ah, no,” replied she. “It is no giant but a disgusting frog.” “What does a frog want with you?” “Ah, dear father, yesterday as I was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so, the frog found it for me, and because he insisted, I promised him he should be my companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his water! And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.” In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried, “ Princess! Youngest princess! Open the door for me! Do you not know what you said to me Yesterday by the cool waters of the fountain? Princess, youngest princess! Open the door for me!” Then said the king, “That which you have promised, you must perform. Go and let him in.” She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and cried, “Lift me up beside you.” She delayed, until at last the king commanded her to do it. When the frog was on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and once there he said,“Now, push your little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together.” She did this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked her. At length he said, “I have eaten and am satisfied; now I am tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.” The princess began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold, slimy frog, which was now to sleep in her clean bed. But the king grew angry and said, “He who helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterward to be despised by you.” So she took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner. But when she was in bed he crept to her and said, “I am tired, lift me up or I will tell your father.” Then she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall. “Now, you will be quiet, odious frog,” said she. But when he fell down he was no frog but a prince with beautiful kind eyes. He, by her father’s will, was now her dear husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself, and that tomorrow they would go together into his kingdom. Then they went to sleep, and next morning a carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white ostrich feathers on their heads, and behind stood the young prince’s servant Faithful Henry. Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and sadness. The carriage was to conduct the young prince into his kingdom. Faithful Henry helped them both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because of this deliverance. And when they had driven a part of the way the prince heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken. So he turned round and cried, “Henry, the carriage is breaking.” “No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart, which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and imprisoned.” Again and once again while they were on their way something cracked, and each time the prince thought the carriage was breaking; but it was only the bands which were springing from the heart of Faithful Henry because his master was set free and was happy. ~ Brothers Grimm Notes on the Story Possibly the two greatest collectors of folktales, the German linguists and folklorists Jacob (1785–1863) and his brother Wilhelm (1786–1859) Grimm transformed the world of folklore, and captured the nineteenth-century imagination with their publication Children’s and Household Tales in Kassel in 1812. Collected both from oral and written sources and created in celebration of German nationality, language, and identity, the Grimms expanded and edited their stories in multiple editions that were published up until 1857. The tales have now been translated into over 160 languages worldwide. “The Frog King” or “Iron Henry” always remained the first story in the Grimms’ collection. The Grimms always refer to the “Frog King,” rather than the “Frog Prince”; the latter was introduced in Edgar Taylor’s English translation German Popular Stories (1823). A fact that surprises many is that in the Grimms’ version the transformation of the frog is not caused by kissing it, but by splatting it against a wall! Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Relive the magic of classic fairy tales in this beautifully illustrated edition. For centuries fantastical stories of witches, giants, princesses, talking animals, and magical kingdoms have been passed from generation to generation. Many of the fairy tales we are most familiar with today have their roots in this oral tradition of storytelling. The World Treasury of Fairy Tales and Folklore is a stunning collection of fairy tales organized by date of printing. From tales of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries (Little Red Riding Hood, Fair Goldilocks, Beauty and the Beast), to familiar tales collected by The Brothers Grimm in the 19th century (The Frog King, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Snow White), to some lesser-known tales and stories from outside Europe, this book showcases a broad range of examples from this extraordinary genre. Tales are compiled and introduced by leading academics in the field, adding to a deeper understanding of beloved stories. This beautifully illustrated collection of fairy tales and folklore is an essential addition to all family libraries. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.