The Frog Prince

Read by Kelly Monaco and Jason Thompson

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"The Frog Prince" by The Brothers Grimm

One fine evening, a young princess went out for a walk in the woods near her home. She never went anywhere without her favorite toy, a bright golden ball. Wherever she walked, she would throw the ball in the air, then catch it.

This evening was no exception. She walked far into the woods, throwing the ball and catching it as she went. In time, she became tired.

In the middle of the woods was a deep, dirty pond. On this evening, though, the pond had a wonderful glow in the moonlight. The princess sat down on a bench beside the pond.

While she rested on the bench, she continued playing with her ball, throwing it up and catching it. Up, and catch. Up, and catch.

Just as she tossed the ball especially high in the air, a cloud moved across the moon and cut out its light. In the darkness, the princess missed catching the ball on its way down.

It bounced off her arm, off the seat of the bench and onto the ground. It rolled along the ground, picking up speed. Faster and faster the ball rolled, faster than the princess could run after it, until — plop! — it splashed into the pond.

"Oh, dear," the princess cried. "It is so dark, and the pond is so deep and dirty. Now I will never be able to get my ball back. If only I had been more careful with it. I would give all my jewels and fancy clothes, everything I own in this world, if I could undo my foolish mistake."

At that moment, a frog, who had been listening to her from just below the surface of the pond, popped his head out of the water. "Hello, princess," the frog asked, "why all the tears?"

"What business is it of yours?" the princess replied. "You can't possibly help me."

"Think again, princess. I can get your ball back for you and — here's the zinger — I don't want all your worldly possessions for doing it. I don't want your jewelry, not one pearl." The frog clicked his fingers and did a sloppy tap-dance with his webbed feet. "Not a single penny."

"I don't understand."

"All I ask, princess, is that you show me some kindness. Accompany me to the opera, say. Or, better yet, invite me to dinner at your palace. Let me lay my tired head on your silk-covered pillows."

"What nonsense is this?" the princess thought to herself. "How can a frog come to the palace? He won't be able to travel ten yards from this pond."

But she realized that the frog MIGHT be able to find her precious ball, so she did not want to upset him. "All right. Bring me my ball and you can visit me whenever you want."

"We could get to become good friends," the frog said.

"Who can tell?" the princess said in order to encourage him to search for her ball.

But as the frog dived back into the pond, the princess laughed at his stupidity.
Of course he DID rescue her ball from the bottom of the pond. When he placed it in the palm of her hand, she was delighted, so delighted she couldn't help but give him a kiss on his wet, bony forehead before running all the way home.

She was so delighted, she was soon playing with the ball again, throwing it up and catching it. She quickly forgot all about that silly old frog.

The next evening, as the princess sat down to dinner with her father, the king, there was a strange noise — tap, tap, plash, plash — on the marble stair. A moment later, a soft knock sounded on the dining-room door. A tiny voice sang out:

"Open the door, my
princess
dear! Open the door, for your true love is here."

The princess couldn't believe it. She ran to the door and there was the frog. She was amused, but more than that she was alarmed and frightened. So she slammed the door closed in the frog's face and went back to the dinner table.

Sensing her fear, the king asked what the matter was. "There is a horrible slimy frog at the door," she explained. "Yesterday, when I dropped my ball in the pond in the woods, he got it back for me. In return, I promised he could come to dinner at the palace. But, of course, I didn't mean it. I never in my wildest dreams imagined he would be able to hop all the way here."

"Open the door, my princess dear! Open the door, for your true love is here."

Came the tiny voice again.

The king rested both his hands on the young princess's shoulders. "If you've made a promise, daughter, you must keep it. This family keeps its promises. Let the frog in."

The princess did so. The frog hopped in. He hopped from one end of the long dining-room to the other, where the table was. He hopped all the way from one end of the long table to the other, where the princess sat.

"Hey, princess, do me a favor," he said. "Help me up. Lay a place for me next to you."

She didn't want to, but the king threw her a stern, fatherly glance.
"Push that plate over this a-way," the frog said after he had gotten good and comfortable on the table beside the princess.

Once he had eaten his fill from the princess's own plate, the frog asked to be taken up to her bedroom for a nap. In no time at all, he was fast asleep.
He spent the whole night beside the princess. But he left in the morning, at first light, while she was still sleeping.

"Thank goodness," the princess thought when she awoke. "I don't suppose he'll ever bother us again."

But she was wrong. The very next night, a soft knock sounded on her bedroom door. That same voice, not quite so tiny this time, sang:

"Open the door, my princess dear! Open the door, for your true love is here."

Remembering what her father had said about promises, she had no choice but to open the door. In hopped the frog. UP hopped the frog, onto her pillow, this time needing no help. Again, he was gone before dawn.

This also happened on the third night, and on the fourth. But on the fourth morning, when she awoke, the princess was astonished to find a handsome prince standing at the head of her bed. He was gazing at her with the widest, bluest eyes she had ever seen.

He told her that a spiteful witch had long ago cast a spell, turning him into a frog. The witch had commanded that he stay a frog for all eternity, living in that deep, dirty pond, unless by chance he met a princess and could persuade her to invite him to her palace, feed him from her very own plate, and let him rest beside her in her very own bed for three nights.

"That cruel spell has been broken," the prince said. "You have broken it. All that remains is for you to allow me to take you to the opera. To take your hand, once in a while, for walks in the woods. All that remains is for you to do me the honor of being my friend."

"And perhaps to fall in love with you?" the young princess asked.

The prince smiled shyly. "Who can tell?"

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