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N times of yore, when wishes were both heard and
granted, lived a king whose daughters were all
beautiful, but the youngest was so lovely that the sun
himself, who has seen so much, wondered at her beauty
every time he looked in her face. Now, near the king's
castle was a large dark forest; and in the forest,
under an old linden-tree, was a deep well. When the day
was very hot, the king's daughter used to go to the
wood and seat herself at the edge of the cool well; and
when she became wearied, she would take a golden ball,
throw it up in the air, and catch it again. This was
her favourite amusement. Once it happened that her
golden ball, instead of falling back into the little
hand that she stretched out for it, dropped on the
ground, and immediately rolled away into the water. The
king's daughter followed it with her eyes, but the ball
had vanished, and the well was so deep that no one
could see down to the bottom. Then she began to weep,
wept louder and louder every minute, and could not
console herself at all.
While she was thus lamenting some one called to her:
"What is the matter with you, king's daughter? You weep
so, that you would touch the heart of a stone."
 She looked around to see whence the voice came, and saw
a frog stretching his thick ugly head out of the water.
"Ah! it is you, old water-paddler!" said she. "I am
crying for my golden ball, which has fallen into the
"Be content," answered the frog, "I daresay I can give
you some good advice; but what will you give me if I
bring back your plaything to you?"
"Whatever you like, dear frog," said she; "my clothes,
my pearls and jewels, even the golden crown I wear."
The frog answered, "Your clothes, your pearls and
jewels, even your golden crown, I do not care for; but
if you will love me, and let me be your companion and
playfellow; sit near you at your little table, eat
from your little golden plate, drink from your little
cup, and sleep in your little bed;—if you will
promise me this, then I will bring you back your golden
ball from the bottom of the well."
"Oh yes!" said she; "I promise you everything, if you
will only bring me back my golden ball."
She thought to herself, meanwhile: "What nonsense the
silly frog talks! He sits in the water with the other
frogs, and croaks, and cannot be anybody's
But the frog, as soon as he had received the promise,
dipped his head under the water and sank down. In a
little while up he came again with the ball in his
mouth, and threw it on the
 grass. The king's daughter
was overjoyed when she beheld her pretty plaything
again, picked it up, and ran away with it.
"Wait! wait!" cried the frog; "take me with you. I
cannot run as fast as you."
Alas! of what use was it that he croaked after her as
loud as he could. She would not listen to him, but
hastened home, and soon forgot the poor frog, who was
obliged to plunge again to the bottom of his well.
The next day, when she was sitting at dinner with the
king and all the courtiers, eating from her little gold
plate, there came a sound of something creeping up the
marble staircase—splish, splash; and when it had
reached the top, it knocked at the door and cried,
"Youngest king's daughter, open to me."
She ran, wishing to see who was outside; but when she
opened the door, and there sat the frog, she flung it
hastily to again, and sat down at table, feeling very,
very uncomfortable. The king saw that her heart was
beating violently, and said, "Now, my child, why are
you afraid? Is a giant standing outside the door to
carry you off?"
"Oh no!" answered she, "it is no giant, but a nasty
frog, who yesterday, when I was playing in the wood
near the well, fetched my golden ball out of the water.
For this I promised him he should be my companion, but
I never thought he could come out of his well. Now he
is at the door, and wants to come in."
Again, the second time, there was a knock, and a voice
"Youngest king's daughter,
Open to me;
Know you what yesterday
You promised me,
By the cool water?
Youngest king's daughter,
Open to me."
Then said the king, "What you promised you must
perform. Go and open the door."
She went and opened the door; the frog hopped in,
always following and following her till he came up to
her chair. There he sat, and cried out, "Lift me up to
you on the table."
She refused, till the king, her father, commanded her
to do it. When the frog was on the table, he said, "Now
push your little golden plate nearer to me, that we may
eat together." She did as he desired, but one could
easily see that she did it unwillingly. The frog seemed
to enjoy his dinner very much, but every morsel she ate
stuck in the throat of the poor little princess.
Then said the frog, "I have eaten enough, and am tired;
carry me to your little room, and make your little
silken bed smooth, and we will lay ourselves down to
At this the daughter of the king began to weep; for she
was afraid of the cold frog, who wanted to sleep in her
pretty clean bed.
But the king looked angrily at her, and said again:
"What you have promised you must perform. The frog is
It was no use to complain whether she liked it or not;
she was obliged to take the frog with her up to her
little bed. So she picked him up
 with two fingers,
hating him bitterly the while, and carried him
upstairs: but when she got into bed, instead of lifting
him up to her, she threw him with all her strength
against the wall, saying, "Now, you nasty frog, there
will be an end of you."
But what fell down from the wall was not a dead frog,
but a living young prince, with beautiful and loving
eyes, who at once became, by her own promise and her
father's will, her dear companion and husband. He told
her how he had been cursed by a wicked sorceress, and
that no one but the king's youngest daughter could
release him from his enchantment and take him out of
The next day a carriage drove up to the palace-gates
with eight white horses, having white feathers on their
heads and golden reins. Behind it stood the servant of
the young prince, called the Faithful Henry. This
faithful Henry had been so grieved when his master was
changed into a frog, that he had been compelled to have
three iron bands fastened round his heart, lest it
should break. Now the carriage came to convey the
prince to his kingdom, so the faithful Henry lifted in
the bride and bridegroom, and mounted behind, full of
joy at his lord's release. But when they had gone a
short distance, the prince heard behind him a noise as
if something was breaking. He turned round, and cried
out, "Henry, the carriage is breaking!"
But Henry replied: "No, sir, it is not the carriage,
but one of the bands from my heart, with
 which I was
forced to bind it up, or it would have broken with
grief, while you sat as a frog at the bottom of the
Twice again this happened, and the prince always
thought the carriage was breaking; but it was only the
bands breaking off from the heart of the faithful
Henry, out of joy that his lord the Frog-Prince was a
frog no more.