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THE FROG-KING; OR, IRON HENRY
N old time, when wishing was having, 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 fountain.
When the day was very warm, the King's Child went out
into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool
fountain, and when she was dull she took a golden ball,
and threw it up in the air and caught it. And this
ball was her favorite plaything.
Now, it so happened one day, the King's Daughter's
golden ball did not fall into the little hand which she
was holding up for it, but on to the ground, 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 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 fountain."
"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
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
your golden ball up again."
"Oh, yes," said she, "I promise all you wish, if you
will but bring 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. In a short time
 swimming 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 fountain 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.
When it got to the tome, it knocked at the door, and
"King's Daughter, youngest,
Open the door!"
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 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 are you so afraid
of? Is there a Giant outside who wants to carry you
"Ah, no," replied she, "it is no Giant, but a
"What does the Frog want with you?"
"Ah, dear Father, yesterday when I was in the forest
sitting by the fountain, playing, my golden ball fell
 water. And because I cried so, the Frog brought it out
again for me. And because he insisted so on it, I
promised him he should be my companion; but I never
thought he would be able to come out of the water! And
now he is here, and wants to come in"
In the meantime, it knocked a second time, and cried:
"King's Daughter, youngest!
Open to me!
Don't you remember yesterday,
And all that you to me did say,
Beside the cooling fountain's spray?
King's Daughter, youngest!
Open to 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 still 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
 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, out not afterward to be
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, I
want to sleep as well as you; lift me up or I will tell
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 King's Son
with beautiful eyes!
He, by her father's will, was now her dear companion
and husband. Then he told her how he had been
bewitched by a wicked Witch, and how no one could have
delivered him from the fountain but herself, and that
to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom.
Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun
awoke them, a coach came rolling up drawn by eight
white horses, with white ostrich feathers on their
heads. They were harnessed with golden chains, and
behind stood the young King's servant, Faithful Henry.
Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was
changed into a Frog, that he had three iron bands laid
round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and
The coach was to conduct the young King 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 King's
Son heard a cracking behind him as if something had
broken. So he turned round and cried:
"Henry, the coach does break!"
"No, no, my lord, you do mistake!
It is the band around my heart,
That felt such great and bitter smart,
When you were in the fountain strange,
When you into a Frog were changed!"
Again and once again, while they were on their way,
something cracked; and each time the King's Son 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.