A Frog Prince
By Alix Berenzy
Henry Holt and Company Copyright © 1989 Alix Berenzy
All rights reserved.
Once upon a time there lived a Frog who loved a Princess. From the edge of his swamp the Frog would watch the Princess as she played in the Royal Gardens. She never came near the water, but the Frog liked to admire her bright silk dresses and hear her careless laugh. On warm summer evenings he sang love songs to her in a deep froggy voice, but the Princess never seemed to notice.
One day the Frog was sitting in the water, his eye on a fat black fly, when he heard the sound of sobbing. He could hardly believe it was the Princess he saw, crying and lamenting at the water's edge.
Quickly he swam over to her and asked, "What is the matter, Princess? Your tears would move a heart of stone."
The Princess glanced down at him. "My lovely golden ball has fallen into the swamp!" she wailed. Then an idea came into her head. She squeezed even more tears out of her eyes and said, "If you get it for me, I shall let you be my friend. You will eat dinner with me at the castle, and sleep there too!"
The frog was thrilled — though he gladly would have retrieved her toy without a reward. He popped his head under the water, found her ball, and threw it onto the grass beside her.
The Princess was filled with joy when she saw it. She picked up the ball and ran off.
At dinnertime that evening the Frog eagerly knocked on the door of the castle. The Princess opened it, but when she saw the Frog, she shut the door again very quickly.
The King was sitting at the table with all his courtiers. He had seen the Frog, and overheard what had happened in the garden that day. "What you have promised you must honor," he said to his daughter. "Go and open the door for him!"
So the Frog came in and excitedly jumped onto a chair next to the Princess. He had a very good time talking with all of the company. Everyone ate a hearty dinner, except for the Princess, who would eat nothing at all.
After dinner the Frog politely asked where he was to sleep. The Princess began to cry, for she did not want the clammy Frog in her pretty room. But the King became angry and said, "You must not despise anyone who has helped you when you were in need!"
The Princess seized the Frog by the wrist, pulled him up the stairs, and flung him into a corner of her room.
"Sleep there if you can, you hideous toad!" she cried. "How could you ever be the companion of a princess!" She thrust a mirror at him and shrieked, "Look at how ugly you are!" She stamped over to her own silken bed, leaving the Frog huddled on the floor.
The Frog looked closely into the mirror, yet he could see nothing wrong. All the same, he felt as if his heart were broken.
That very night he dreamed the Moon was singing to him:
Little green Frog alone at night,
Beauty is in the beholder's sight.
Follow the Sun, then follow me,
To lands beyond, across the sea.
In another kingdom you shall find
A true princess, of a different mind.
The next morning the Frog came down the stairs and met with the King. "I am going out into the World to seek a princess who can see good in me," said the Frog. "I will follow the Sun and the Moon to find her!"
The King liked the Frog and wished to make amends for what his spoiled daughter had done. "Let me help prepare you for your journey," he said.
He ordered his tailors to sew beautiful clothes for the Frog. A prancing white pony was brought from the stables. When the Frog had been royally dressed, the King himself lifted him into the saddle.
The Frog felt very proud and handsome — almost as if he were a prince!
Just then the Princess came down the stairs. She saw the dressed-up Frog and burst into laughter.
The Frog sadly bowed his head. He rode away from the castle into the forest. (Continues...)
Excerpted from A Frog Prince by Alix Berenzy. Copyright © 1989 Alix Berenzy. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
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