Monday, December 8, 2008

The Kind Stepdaughter and the Frog

There was a stepmother who was very unkind to her stepdaughter and very kind to her own daughter; and used to send her stepdaughter to do all the dirty work. One day she sent her to the pump for some water when a little frog came up through the sink and asked her not to pour dirty water down, as his drawing room was there. So she did not; and as a reward, he said pearls and diamonds should drop from her mouth when she spoke.

When she returned home it happened as he said; and the stepmother, learning how it had come about, sent her own daughter to the pump. When she got there the little frog spoke to her and asked her not to throw dirty water down, and she replied, "Oh! you nasty, dirty little thing, I won't do as you ask me."

Then the frog said, "Whenever you speak, frogs, and toads, and snakes shall drop from your mouth."

She went home and it happened as the frog had said. At night when they were sitting at the table a little voice was heard singing outside:

Come bring me my supper,
My own sweet, sweet one.

When the stepdaughter went to the door, there was the little frog. She brought him in in spite of her stepmother, took him on her knee, and fed him with bits from her plate. After a while he sang:

Come, let us go to bed,
My own sweet, sweet one.

So, unknown to her stepmother, she laid him at the foot of her bed, as she said he was a poor, harmless thing. Then she fell asleep and forgot all about him.

Next morning there stood a beautiful prince, who said he had been enchanted by a wicked fairy and was to be a frog till a girl would let him sleep with her. They were married, and lived happily in his beautiful castle ever after.

This is one of the few folk stories I have been able to collect from the lips of a living storyteller in England.

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