Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Frog

A man and a woman had no children, although they would have given their lives to have some. They prayed for offspring, under any conditions. It appeared that heaven had mercy on them, but when the time came, the newborn was a female frog.

Not letting themselves be distracted, the man and the woman raised her. They taught her music and all kinds of skills.

Above all else the frog loved to sing, and she trained her voice and her range until one would think she was the best singer from the city. Other people had not seen the frog and thought indeed that she was an unknown singer and could not explain why she did not perform in public.

One day the king's son passed by the house and heard the frog singing. He stopped and listened for a long time. He immediately fell in love with the unknown singer and approached her father with a request for permission to see her and speak with her, but the father refused.

The prince heard her sing again and fell even more deeply in love with her. He demanded that her father give her to him in marriage. The father replied that he would have to ask his daughter. The frog agreed under the conditions that she be taken to the royal castle in an enclosed carriage and that she be allowed to enter the bridal chamber without being seen. The prince, his curiosity even more aroused, accepted the conditions.

On the appointed day the frog rode to the royal castle in a tightly enclosed carriage and made her way to the splendid bridal chamber without being seen. She hid herself in one of the two beds that were there. The prince came that evening and was astonished when he could not find his bride. Disappointed, he went to bed.

At midnight the frog crept out of the cushions and onto the prince's breast. Half asleep, he took the frog into his hand and threw her to the floor. She hopped angrily down the steps and home.

The next morning the prince was sorry that he had thrown the frog to the floor, and he became sad and melancholy.

Some time later he went back to the house. Hearing singing, he fell madly in love and began courting his bride anew. The frog accepted, this time without setting any conditions. She made a little carriage out of cardboard, hitched a rooster to it, and drove it herself to the royal castle.

Three fairies were standing in the road. One of them had swallowed a fishbone, which stuck in her throat and was causing her great pain. When the three of them saw the frog driving by in her little carriage and cracking her whip so merrily, they all laughed out with joy. The fishbone dislodged itself from the one fairy's throat, freeing her suddenly of her pain.

They approached the frog, and the first one said, "I will give you a beautiful carriage with horses and servants!" And in an instant a carriage was there with horses and servants in beautiful livery.

Then the second one said, "I will give you expensive clothes and gold and silver!" And in an instant it was all there, gleaming and shimmering, and it was such a joy.

Then came the third fairy, the one who had been freed of the fishbone by laughing, and she said, "I will transform you!"

In that instant the frog became a beautiful maiden. She graciously thanked the three kind fairies and drove happily to the royal castle and to her jubilant and joyful wedding.

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