The Frog King

In olden 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 went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything.

Now it so happened that on one occasion that a concerned citizen was walking nearby, and saw the child playing unsupervised in the middle of the forest. The concerned citizen came up to the child, and demanded to know where her father lived, and how he could be so irresponsible as to let her play in the forest alone.

The concerned citizen gently, but firmly, led the princess to the castle where her father lived, and knocked on the door. When the king had opened the door and heard what the concerned citizen had to say, he said to her:

You busybody—don’t you know that in the well there lives a prince who is really a frog. And that my daughter is supposed to drop her golden ball down the well, so that the frog will marry her?

The concerned citizen said, “Well! do you really want your daughter letting strange frogs sleep in her bed because they bring her golden balls. I’m quite shocked by this.”

Then the daughter said, “I like that! Don’t I have any say in the matter at all?”

She turned and ran from the castle, before her father or the concerned citizen could stop her, and returned the next day with a swineherd, whom she introduced as her fiance, and whom she married the next month. After the king’s death, the princess became the queen and the swineherd become king and they lived in undisturbed happiness to a great age.


Based on Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Grimm’s Household Tales, translated by Margaret Hunt (1884).

“Frog eye closeup” by Ren West – http://flickr.com/photos/renwest/438340463/. Licensed under CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


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