The Frog-King, Or Iron Henry

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 The Frog-King, Or Iron Henry
      In old times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose
 daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun
 itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face.
 Close by the King's castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime -
 tree in the forest was a well, and when the day was very warm, the King's
 child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain,
 and when she was dull she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and
 caught it, and this ball was her favourite plaything.
      Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess' golden ball did
 not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it, but on to the
 ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The King's daughter
 followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep, so deep
 that the bottom could not be seen. On this she began to cry, and cried louder
 and louder, and could not be comforted. And as she thus lamented, some one
 said to her, "What ails thee, King's daughter? Thou weepest so that even a
 stone would show pity." She looked round to the side from whence the voice
 came, and saw a frog stretching forth its thick, ugly head from the water.
 "Ah! old water-splasher, is it thou?" said she; "I am weeping for my golden
 ball, which has fallen into the well."
      "Be quiet, and do not weep," answered the frog. "I can help thee, but
 what wilt thou give me if I bring thy plaything up again?" "Whatever thou wilt
 have, dear frog," said she - "my clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the
 golden crown which I am wearing."
      The frog answered, "I do not care for thy clothes, thy pearls and jewels,
 or thy golden crown, but if thou wilt love me and let me be thy companion and
 play-fellow, and sit by thee at thy little table, and eat off thy little
 golden plate, and drink out of thy little cup, and sleep in thy little bed -
 if thou wilt promise me this I will go down below, and bring thee thy golden
 ball up again."
      "Oh, yes," said she, "I promise thee all thou wishest, if thou wilt but
 bring me my ball back again." She, however, thought, "How silly the frog does
 talk! He lives in the water with the other frogs and croaks, and can be no
 companion to any human being!"
      But the frog when he had received this promise put his head into the
 water and sank down, and in a short time came swimming up again with the ball
 in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The King's daughter was delighted to
 see her pretty plaything once more, and picked it up, and ran away with it.
 "Wait, wait," said the frog. "Take me with thee. I can't run as thou canst."
 But what did it avail him to scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as
 he could? She did not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor
 frog, who was forced to go back into his well again.
      The next day when she had seated herself at table with the King and all
 the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate, something came
 creeping splish, splash, splish, splash, up the marble staircase, and when it
 had got to the top, it knocked at the door and cried, "Princess, youngest
 princess, open the door for me." She ran to see who was outside, but when she
 opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it. Then she slammed the door
 to, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The
 King saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, "My child,
 what art thou so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to
 carry thee away?" "Ah, no," replied she, "it is no giant, but a disgusting
      "What does the frog want with thee?" "Ah, dear father, yesterday when I
 was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the
 water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for me, and
 because he insisted so on it, I promised him he should be my companion, but I
 never thought he would be able to come out of his water! And now he is outside
 there, and wants to come in to me."
      In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried,
 "Princess! youngest princess!
 Open the door for me!
 Dost thou not know what thou saidst to me
 Yesterday by the cool waters of the fountain?
 Princess, youngest princess!
 Open the door for me!"
      Then said the King, "That which thou hast promised, must thou perform. Go
 and let him in." She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and
 followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat still and cried, "Lift
 me up beside thee." She delayed, until at last the King commanded her to do
 it. When the frog was once on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when
 he was on the table he said, "Now, push thy little golden plate nearer to me
 that we may eat together." She did this, but it was easy to see that she did
 not do it willingly. The frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful
 she took choked her. At length he said, "I have eaten and am satisfied; now I
 am tired, carry me into thy little room and make thy little silken bed ready,
 and we will both lie down and go to sleep."
      The King's daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog
 which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty,
 clean little bed. But the King grew angry and said, "He who helped thee when
 thou wert in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised by thee." So she took
 hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a
 corner. But when she was in bed he crept to her and said, "I am tired, I want
 to sleep as well as thou, lift me up or I will tell thy father." Then she was
 terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the
 wall. "Now, thou wilt be quiet, odious frog," said she. But when he fell down
 he was no frog but a king's son with beautiful, kind eyes. He by her father's
 will was now her dear companion and husband. Them he told her how he had been
 bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the
 well but herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his
 kingdom. Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a
 carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white ostrich
 feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden chains, and behind
 stood the young King's servant, faithful Henry. Faithful Henry had been so
 unhappy when his master was changed into a frog, that he had caused three iron
 bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and sadness.
 The carriage was to conduct the young King into his kingdom. Faithful Henry
 helped them both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy
 because of this deliverance. And when they had driven a part of the way, the
 King's son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken. So he
 turned round and cried, "Henry, the carriage is breaking."
      "No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart, which
 was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and imprisoned in the
 well." Again and once again while they were on their way something cracked,
 and each time the King's son thought the carriage was breaking; but it was
 only the bands which were springing from the heart of faithful Henry because
 his master was set free and was happy.