The Frog Prince: Full Text Story, Video in English Version, Life Lessons
The Frog Prince: Full Text Story, Video in English Version, Life Lessons
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"The Frog Prince; or, Iron Henry" (German: Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich, literally "The Frog King or the Iron Henry") is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812 in Grimm's Fairy Tales (KHM 1). Traditionally, it is the first story in their folktale collection. The tale is classified as Aarne-Thompson type 440.

"The Frog Prince": Video In English Version

The History of ‘The Frog Prince’

Photo: Disney
Photo: Disney

The Frog Prince, or, Iron Henry (German: Der Froschkönig oder der eiseme Heinrich) is a fairy tale best known through the Brothers Grimm’s written version. Traditionally it is the first story in their collection, Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder und Hausmärchen, 1812).

The Brothers Grimm (Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859)), were German academics, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together collected and published folklore. This was part of a more general trend in the nineteenth century, whereby folk stories garnered substantial interest, seen to represent a pure form of national literature and culture; the common folk (Volk). Between 1812 and 1857 they revised and republished their now celebrated collection, Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

This trend, known as ‘romantic nationalism’ ensured the revival of the fairy tale not just in Germany, but all over Europe. In fact, although the Grimm’s tales were meant to be a reflection of German popular culture, many were inspired by the Parisian Charles Perrault (who wrote tales intended for the literary salons of an aristocratic French audience).

Today, the stories first collected in Kinder und Hausmärchen are incredibly well known, often added to by other authors as well as a source of unending inspiration for illustrators. Distinguished artists such as Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen and Anne Anderson, have all provided imagery for the text.

In the Grimm’s rendition of The Frog Prince, the tale starts with a spoiled princess reluctantly befriending a frog prince – who magically transforms into a handsome (human) prince! She met him after dropping a gold ball into a pond, attempting to retrieve her prized object. Although in modern versions the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog, in the original Grimm version of the story, the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust.

In other earlier versions it was sufficient for the frog to spend the night on the princess’s pillow. A popular phrase related to this story is used to encourage those who seek true love; that ‘you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince.’ It is unclear when this romantic element was added to the story however. Maria Tatar’s The Annotated Brothers Grimm merely attributes it to ‘modern versions of the story’ without being more specific.

The Grimm’s first volumes were much criticized because although they were called ‘Children’s Tales’ they were not regarded as suitable for children; both for the scholarly information included and the subject matter. Many changes have thus been made through later editions, such as turning the wicked mother of the first edition in Snow White and Hansel and Gretel to a stepmother – all with an eye for ‘suitability.’

Despite this early controversy though, The Frog Prince is lauded today and is classified under the Aarne-Thompson system as ‘fairy tale type 440’. Other related folk tales include the English translation (and substantially changed story) of The Frog Prince, first penned by Edgar Taylor. Taylor (1793 – 1839) was the first person to translate Kinder und Hausmärchen in its totality, publishing the work in the UK as German Popular Stories (1823).

The popularity of the Grimm’s collected folk tales continues unabated. They are now available in more than 160 translations and have been adapted by filmmakers such as Lotte Reiniger and Walt Disney. The 2009 Disney film, The Princess and the Frog is loosely based on this story. It is a tale for old as well as young, important for its historical and literary context as well as a fantastic example of folkloric story telling.

The Frog Prince: Plot Summary

Photo: MUBI
Photo: MUBI

Once upon a time a beautiful princess lived. She was the prettiest of the three sisters. Her beauty made the sun stop to shine upon her. She wanted to play by the lake with her golden ball. She would do it every day because she enjoyed it. Once she accidentally dropped the ball to the lake and it sunk. She started crying and got desperate.

Her cry would soften even those who don't have a heart because it sounded so desperate. It even woke a green frog that jumped straight to her. He asked her why was she crying so loudly and she told him about her missing ball. She didn't know how to reach the ball and she was so sad she couldn't stop crying.

The frog told her not to worry because he was here to help. Of course he asked her what will he get in return and the princess told him he can get anything without thinking it twice. She told him she could give him jewels, clothes and even a smaller castle. The frog told her none of it was necessary because all he wanted was her company, dinners together and to share a pillow with her. If she said yes he would bring her ball back.

The princess agreed even though she had no intentions to keep her promise. When the frog got her ball back she just laughed and ran to the castle thinking the frog's demands were a joke.

The next day the princess had dinner with her father. The food was served on golden plates and they had golden cups. Soon the frog appeared on the door and demanded the princess to keep her promise.

The princess wasn't thrilled with his visit and she wanted to kick him out but her father was curios. She told him the whole story and her father was angry that she didn't keep her promise and was ready to kick out an innocent animal that helped her out on the street.

The king allowed the frog to dine with them so he enjoyed the delicious food and took everything he could reach with his though. The princess was repulsed by his behavior but had to keep her promise.

After a delicious dinner the frog went to rest. He asked the princess to take him to her room so he could rest in her comfortable pillow. She became more and more desperate because she had to sleep next to the sticky frog. Her father warned her one more time that she had to keep her promise.

The frog fell asleep but the princess stayed up all night. All she could think about was that green creature laying next to her.

The next day when the sun appeared the frog got cheerfully out of bed. He offered the princess a deal. He told her that if she kisses him he'll disappear for good. She thought about it and accepted. She puckered her lips and gave him a kiss. She yelled that it's over now and that he should go away.

After everything the ugly frog turned into a beautiful young man. The princess was astonished by his appearance. She couldn't believe that such an ugly frog could turn into such a beautiful young man.

He started teasing her and telling her he'll disappear forever. Despite the deal he asked her if she would accept to live with him instead of the ugly frog.

She accepted and he told her how he became a frog because of a spell cast by an evil witch that could only be broken by a princess granting his wish.

They got married and lived happily ever after.

‘The Frog Prince’: analysis

Photo: Disney Movies
Photo: Disney Movies

Many of the ingredients of the classic fairy tale are present in ‘The Frog-Prince’: the beautiful princess, the handsome prince, the marriage at the end, the magical transformation, the evil fairy/witch, the importance of the number three, and the idea of undergoing a trial before the happy resolution materialises.

The notion that a kiss could transform a person from hideous monstrousness into a state of beauty and normality was popular in the Middle Ages. In his Travels, John Mandeville recounted the tale of the daughter of Hippocrates, who was turned into the ‘forme and lykeness of a gret Dragoun, that is an hundred Fadme of lengthe’, and was destined to remain in such an uncomely state until a brave knight ventured to kiss her and release her from her dragonhood.

And it seems that the tale of the Frog Prince had been known in Scotland since the late Middle Ages, although it would only be referred to in print by English writers from the eighteenth century onwards, and it was really in the nineteenth century, when the Brothers Grimm set down their telling of the tale, that the story became a firmly established fairy tale.

What is the meaning of such a tale, then? It’s difficult to say. We couldn’t find one. The fact that it’s been around for so long suggests that the notion of metamorphosis from the ugly (back) into the beautiful held some appeal to numerous nations and cultures.

Honouring one’s promises is obviously the moral, of sorts: if you make an agreement with someone, you shouldn’t renege on your promise. But beyond that, the fact that such a basic storyline has existed in a variety of subtly different forms (Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s tale being another prominent example, where the hag’s transformation seems, rather distastefully, to let the male protagonist off for rape) is a testament to its adaptability, suggesting the true ‘moral’ or meaning of ‘The Frog Prince’ was loose enough to be interpreted, and reinterpreted, by a succession of different storytellers.

Character analysis

Photo: Disney Movies
Photo: Disney Movies

Princess - young girl that was a bit clumsy and lost her ball in the lake. A green frog helped her and she promised to grant him his wishes if he takes her ball out of the lake. When he told her his wish she thought he was kidding but he wasn't. He wanted to live with her in the castle. When she kissed him a miracle occurred.

Frog (prince) - a young man who was under an evil witch's spell. She turned him into a frog and when he saw the princess by the lake he finally got his chance to become a human again. He was wise and came with a plan to get his life back with the help of the princess. When she kissed him he wasn't a green, ugly, sticky frog anymore. He was finally a beautiful prince he was and he married the princess.

The Frog Prince: Full-Text Story To Read For Your Kids

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

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.

Lessons From The Frog Prince

Keep Your Promises

One of the messages that this story sends is the importance of keeping your promises. The princess is reluctant because passing time with a frog does not seem appealing to her, but the king insists. Her father says, ''That which thou hast promised must thou perform.''

The girl is begrudgingly obedient. Evidently father knows best, because if she hadn't kept her promise, she would never have found her prince. It sends the message to the reader that good things happen when you keep your word.

Don't Give Up

Another theme is that of not giving up. After the frog retrieves the princess' golden ball, she runs away. He asks her to slow down, but she doesn't. The frog doesn't reach the castle until the next day. He knocks on the door and cries, ''Youngest King's daughter, open to me! By the well water what promised you me? Youngest King's daughter now open to me!'' Others may have given up when the princess ran away, but the persistent frog makes his way to the castle.

After the princess throws him against the wall and turns the frog into a prince, the prince explains that ''a wicked witch had bound him by her spells, and how no one but she alone could have released him.''

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