In old times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face.
Close by the King's castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well. And when the day was very warm, the king’s child would sit beside the cool fountain with her golden ball, which was her favorite plaything, and throw it into the air and catch it again.
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 King's daughter 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 some one said to her, "What ails you, King's daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity."
She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its thick, ugly head from the water.
"Ah!” 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 will have, 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 play-fellow, and sit beside 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, put his head into the water and sank down, and in a short while came swimmming up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The King's daughter 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 scream 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 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 see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it.
Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The King saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, "My child, what art you so afraid of? Is there perchance 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 brought it out again for me, and because he so 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 must you 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 once on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when he was on the table 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 King's daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed. But the King grew angry and said, "He who helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised for his kind heart." So the princess took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him upon the pillow of her own little bed, where he slept all night long. As soon as it was light he jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went out of the house.
"Now," thought the princess, "he is gone, and I shall be troubled with him no more."
But she was mistaken; for when night came again, she heard the same tapping at the door, and when she opened it, the frog came in and followed her to her room. There, the frog brought out a tiny frog sized guitar and serenaded the beautiful young princess.
And then the frog slept upon her pillow as before till the morning broke.
And the third night he did the same;
...but when the princess awoke on the following morning, she was astonished to see, instead of the frog,
a handsome prince gazing on her with the most beautiful eyes that ever were seen, and standing at the head of her bed.
He told her that he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, who had changed him into the form of a frog, in which he was fated to remain till some princess should take him out of the spring and let him sleep upon her bed for three nights. "You," said the prince, "have broken this cruel charm."
"...and now," said the prince, "I have nothing to wish 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 giving her consent; and as they spoke a splendid carriage drove up with eight beautiful horses decked with plumes of feathers and golden harness. Then all set out full of joy for the prince's kingdom, where they arrived safely and were married the next day.
And together they lived happily a great many years.
NOTE ABOUT VERSION: The above story combines elements of the story recorded by the Grimm Brothers with the Edgar Taylor's adaptation thereof.
Save for the Muppets, in no version I found does the princess kiss the frog.
All songs and recordings for this show will be copyright 2006 by their respective performers.
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