Grimm's Fairy Tales

by Grimm Brothers

The Frog-Prince

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1905
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Source: Edwardes, M., Taylor, E., trans. (1905). Grimm's Fairy Tales. New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.3
  • Word Count: 1,186


One fine evening a young princess put on her bonnet and clogs, andwent out to take a walk by herself in a wood; and when she came to acool spring of water, that rose in the midst of it, she sat herselfdown to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in her hand, which washer favourite plaything; and she was always tossing it up into theair, and catching it again as it fell. After a time she threw it up sohigh that she missed catching it as it fell; and the ball boundedaway, and rolled along upon the ground, till at last it fell down intothe spring. The princess looked into the spring after her ball, but itwas very deep, so deep that she could not see the bottom of it. Thenshe began to bewail her loss, and said, ‘Alas! if I could only get myball again, I would give all my fine clothes and jewels, andeverything that I have in the world.’

Whilst she was speaking, a frog put its head out of the water, andsaid, ‘Princess, why do you weep so bitterly?’ ‘Alas!’ said she, ‘whatcan you do for me, you nasty frog? My golden ball has fallen into thespring.’ The frog said, ‘I want not your pearls, and jewels, and fineclothes; but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eatfrom off your golden plate, and sleep upon your bed, I will bring youyour ball again.’ ‘What nonsense,’ thought the princess, ‘this sillyfrog is talking! He can never even get out of the spring to visit me,though he may be able to get my ball for me, and therefore I will tellhim he shall have what he asks.’ So she said to the frog, ‘Well, ifyou will bring me my ball, I will do all you ask.’ Then the frog puthis head down, and dived deep under the water; and after a littlewhile he came up again, with the ball in his mouth, and threw it onthe edge of the spring. As soon as the young princess saw her ball,she ran to pick it up; and she was so overjoyed to have it in her handagain, that she never thought of the frog, but ran home with it asfast as she could. The frog called after her, ‘Stay, princess, andtake me with you as you said,’ But she did not stop to hear a word.

The next day, just as the princess had sat down to dinner, she heard astrange noise—tap, tap—plash, plash—as if something was coming upthe marble staircase: and soon afterwards there was a gentle knock atthe door, and a little voice cried out and said:

'Open the door, my princess dear, Open the door to thy true love here! And mind the words that thou and I said By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'
Then the princess ran to the door and opened it, and there she saw thefrog, whom she had quite forgotten. At this sight she was sadlyfrightened, and shutting the door as fast as she could came back toher seat. The king, her father, seeing that something had frightenedher, asked her what was the matter. ‘There is a nasty frog,’ said she,‘at the door, that lifted my ball for me out of the spring thismorning: I told him that he should live with me here, thinking that hecould never get out of the spring; but there he is at the door, and hewants to come in.’

While she was speaking the frog knocked again at the door, and said:

'Open the door, my princess dear, Open the door to thy true love here! And mind the words that thou and I said By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'
Then the king said to the young princess, ‘As you have given your wordyou must keep it; so go and let him in.’ She did so, and the froghopped into the room, and then straight on—tap, tap—plash, plash—from the bottom of the room to the top, till he came up close to thetable where the princess sat. ‘Pray lift me upon chair,’ said he tothe princess, ‘and let me sit next to you.’ As soon as she had donethis, the frog said, ‘Put your plate nearer to me, that I may eat outof it.’ This she did, and when he had eaten as much as he could, hesaid, ‘Now I am tired; carry me upstairs, and put me into your bed.’And the princess, though very unwilling, took him up in her hand, andput him upon the pillow of her own bed, where he slept all night long.As soon as it was light he jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went outof the house. ‘Now, then,’ thought the princess, ‘at last he is gone,and I shall be troubled with him no more.’

But she was mistaken; for when night came again she heard the sametapping at the door; and the frog came once more, and said:

'Open the door, my princess dear, Open the door to thy true love here! And mind the words that thou and I said By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'
And when the princess opened the door the frog came in, and slept uponher pillow as before, till the morning broke. And the third night hedid the same. But when the princess awoke on the following morning shewas astonished to see, instead of the frog, a handsome prince, gazingon her with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen, and standing atthe head of her bed.

He told her that he had been enchanted by a spiteful fairy, who hadchanged him into a frog; and that he had been fated so to abide tillsome princess should take him out of the spring, and let him eat fromher plate, and sleep upon her bed for three nights. ‘You,’ said theprince, ‘have broken his cruel charm, and now I have nothing to wishfor but that you should go with me into my father’s kingdom, where Iwill marry you, and love you as long as you live.’

The young princess, you may be sure, was not long in saying ‘Yes’ toall this; and as they spoke a gay coach drove up, with eight beautifulhorses, decked with plumes of feathers and a golden harness; andbehind the coach rode the prince’s servant, faithful Heinrich, who hadbewailed the misfortunes of his dear master during his enchantment solong and so bitterly, that his heart had well-nigh burst.

They then took leave of the king, and got into the coach with eighthorses, and all set out, full of joy and merriment, for the prince’skingdom, which they reached safely; and there they lived happily agreat many years.