Once upon a time there was a princess who went outinto the forest and sat down at the edge of a cool well. She had a golden ballthat was her favorite plaything. Shethrew it up high and caught it in the air and was delighted by all this. Onetime the ball flew up very high, and as she stretched out her hand and bent herfingers to catch it again, the ball hit the ground near her and rolled androlled until it fell right into the water.
The princess was horrified,and when she went to look for the ball,she found the well was so deep that she couldn’t see the bottom. So she beganto weep miserably and to lament: “Oh, if only I had my ball again! I’d give anything—my clothes, myjewels, my pearls and anything else in the world—toget my ball back!”
As she sat there grieving, afrog stuck its head out of the water and said: “Why are you weepingso miserably?”
“Oh,” she said, “you nasty frog, you can’t help me! My golden ballhas fallen into the water.”
“Well, I don’t want yourpearls, your jewels, and your clothes,” the frog responded. “But if you willaccept me as your companion and let me sit next to you and let me eat from yourlittle golden plate and sleep in your little bed and promise to love and cherishme, I’ll fetch your ball for you.”
The princess thought, “whatnonsense the simple-minded frog is blabbering! He’s got to remain in his water.But perhaps he can get me my ball. So I’ll say yes to him.” And she said, “Yes,fair enough, but first fetch me the golden ball. I promise you everything.”
The frog dipped his head beneath the water and dived down. It
didn’t take long before he came back to the surfacewith the ball in his mouth. He threw itonto the ground, and when the princess caught sight of the ball again, she quickly ran over to it, picked itup, and was so delighted to have the ball in her hands again that she thoughtof nothing else but to rush back home with it. The frog called after her:“Wait, princess, take me with you the way youpromised!”
But she didn’t pay any attention to him.
The next day the princess sat at the table and heardsomething coming up the marble steps, splish, splash!splish, splash! Soon thereafter it knocked at the door and criedout: “Princess, youngest daughter, open up!”
She ran to the door andopened it, and there was the frog whom she had forgotten. Horrified, shequickly slammed the door shut and sat down back at the table. But the king sawthat her heart was thumping and said, “Why are you afraid?”
“There’s a nasty frogoutside,” she replied. “He retrieved my golden ball from the water, and Ipromised him that he could be my companion. But I never believed at all hecould get out of the water. Now he’s standing outside in front of the door andwants to come inside.”
As she said this, there wasa knock at the door, and the frog cried out:
“Princess,youngest daughter, Open up!
Don’t youremember, what you said down by the well’s cool water?
Princess,youngest daughter, Open up!”
The king said: “You must keep your promise no matterwhat you said. Go and open the door for the frog.”
She obeyed, and the froghopped inside and followed her at her heels until they came to her chair, andwhen she sat down again, he cried out: “Lift me up to the chair beside you.”
The princess didn’t want todo this, but the king ordered her to do it. When the frog was up at the table,he said: “Now push your little golden plate nearer to me so we can eattogether.”
The princess had to do this as well, and after he hadeaten until he was full, he said: “Now I’m tired and want to sleep. Bring meupstairs to your little room. Getyour little bed ready so that we can lie down in it.”
The princess becameterrified when she heard this, for she was afraid of the cold frog. She didn’tdare to touch him, and now he was to lie in her bed next to her. She began toweep and didn’t want to comply with his wishes at all. But the king becameangry and ordered her to do what she had promised, or she’d be held indisgrace. Nothing helped. She had to do what her father wanted, but she wasbitterly angry in her heart. So she picked up the frog with two fingers,carried him upstairs into her room, lay down in her bed, and instead of settinghim down next to her, she threw him crash!against the wall. “Now you’ll leave me in peace, you nasty frog!”
But the frog didn’t falldown dead. Instead, when he fell down on the bed, he became a handsome youngprince. Well, now indeed he did become her dear companion, and she cherishedhim as she had promised, and in their delight they fell asleep together.
The next morning a splendidcoach arrived drawn by eight horses with feathers and glistening goldharnesses. The prince’s Faithful Henry accompanied them. He had been sodistressed when he had learned his master had been turned into a frog that hehad ordered three iron bands to be wrapped around his heart to keep it frombursting from grief. When the prince got into the coach with the princess, hisfaithful servant took his place at the back so they could return to theprince’s realm. And after they had traveled some distance, the prince heard aloud cracking noise behind him. So, he turned around and cried out: “Henry, thecoach is breaking!”
“No, my lord,it’s really nothing but the band around my heart, which nearly came apart
when you turnedinto a frog and your fortune fell and you were made to live in that dreadfulwell.”
Two more times the prince heard the cracking noise andthought the coach was breaking, butthe noise was only the sound of the bands springing from FaithfulHenry’s heart because his master hadbeen released from the spelland was happy.