The Frog Princess
A Story With A Prologue, Four Chapters, And An Epilogue
© 1999 Stuart B Baum
Illustration by Fred Plewa
Ages: 9 and up
Prologue: The Birth
The day Princess Meaghan was born, frogs rained from the sky. Only a few people in the castle noticed. Not one of them thought it was important.
Chapter One: The Frog Princess
The King threw up his hands in disgust.
"What's wrong?" asked his wife, the Queen.
The King sighed. "The Princess is what's wrong," said the King.
"Meaghan? Our little girl?" The Queen was incredulous. "What did she do?"
"Follow me," said the King. The two of them walked out of the throne room and down the grand hall to their daughter's room. When they opened the door, they saw that the Princess was sitting on the floor, in a beautiful deep red velvet dress, playing with a frog. She poked the frog's back legs, trying to make it hop away. The frog didn't move. In fact, the frog looked as unhappy as a frog could possibly look.
"Not again!" declared the Queen.
The King sighed. "Unfortunately, she did it again."
You might think that the King and Queen were angry with their daughter for playing with a frog in the floor in her best dress. It's not so much the dress or the frog that upset the King and the Queen, but who the frog used to be. Because just a few minutes ago, the Princess was playing with an eight-year-old Prince, named Eduardo, the son of a nearby King.
The King looked sternly down at his daughter and asked in that tone of voice that parents use when they already know the answer to their question, "Did you kiss him?"
"Yes, daddy," said the Princess, suddenly looking very sad.
"And what did I tell you about kissing boys?"
The Princess hung her head even lower and said nothing.
"Meaghan?" the King prodded.
The Princess said, as if repeating a lesson, "Don't kiss any boys."
"And why not?"
"Because they'll turn into frogs," said the Princess, who had started crying.
"It's okay, sweetie," said the Queen, as she reached down and picked up the little Princess. "It's not your fault that every time you kiss a boy he turns into a frog, but you do have to be more careful."
The Princess wiped the tears from her eyes. Then she asked, "Can I keep him?"
The King laughed for a second and then stopped himself. In a serious, fatherly voice, he said, "No, honey. We have to have the Court Magician turn him back into a Prince and then return him to his parents." He picked up the frog gently. The frog still looked miserable.
The Queen kissed he daughter on the head and put her down. The Queen sighed. "I guess it's time for me to write another apology note," the Queen said as she and the King went on their way to the Court Magician's tower.
Later that day, after the Prince was turned back into a boy and sent home to his parents, the King and the Queen met with the Grand Vizier.
The Grand Vizier was a very old man with a very long white beard who spoke very, very slowly. While the King wished he would speak faster and often found himself yawning while the Vizier spoke, there was no doubt that the Vizier was as smart as he was a slow speaker. And the King, usually impatient, listened to whatever the Vizier said, since the Vizier usually gave the King advice that was worth well the wait.
"Let's think this through completely," said the Vizier. "How many boys has she turned into frogs?" he asked.
"Three," said the Queen.
"And did these boys have anything in common?" the Vizier asked as he stroked his beard very slowly over its entire length.
The Queen answered, "They were all Princes."
"Very interesting," said the Vizier. "And does she turn other boys into frogs, or just Princes?"
The King and the Queen shrugged. "She doesn't turn me into a frog," replied the King.
"Or me," said the Queen. "But I guess we've never seen her kiss a boy that wasn't a Prince. We don't allow her to play with common boys."
The Vizier said, "Perhaps we should try the experiment."
A Page Boy, who was standing by the door, suddenly realized the danger he was in and tried to slowly sneak out of the room, but the King caught him by the collar.
"Wait here a moment, Page Boy," said the King.
The King went to get his daughter. He soon returned, the Princess at his side.
"Kiss that boy," said the King pointing to the Page Boy, who was looking very nervous and a little scared. "Stop worrying," the King said sternly to the Page Boy. "The magician can turn you back. And you will be rewarded for your troubles and courage." The Page Boy tried to look braver, but couldn't.
The Princess said, "But I thought I wasn't supposed to kiss any boys."
"Do as your father commands," said the Queen. So the Princess leaned over to the boy, puckered up, and got ready to kiss him.
The Page Boy closed his eyes. So did the Princess. She kissed him and...
...nothing happened. The Page Boy looked just like he did before the kiss, only with a small smudge on his cheek.
The Princess grinned and exclaimed happily, "Yay!"
The Page Boy said, "Phew!"
The Vizier, stroking his beard, slowly asked, "Is that where you kissed the other boys, to say, on the cheek?"
"Yes, Vizier," said the Princess.
"Then," deduced the Vizier, "whatever magic it is that turns boys into frogs, only works on Princes. All we need to do is avoid letting her fraternize with Princes."
The King and Princess were happy and started hugging and dancing around the floor. The Queen became suddenly very sad.
Said the Queen, "Then how will she marry a Prince? She simply has to marry a Prince!"
The King and Princess stopped dancing, because they, too, knew that Princesses must marry Princes and what's a marriage without kissing?
Everyone looked at the Grand Vizier who stroked his long beard, so slowly it seemed as though his hand wasn't even moving. Eventually he had stroked it its full length and said, "A Princess whose kiss turns Princes, and only Princes, into frogs. The solution to this problem might take some time."
They tried everything.
They consulted the Court Witch, who made the Princess drink potions made from bat wings, dragon scales, eyes of newt, frog breath, and whatever else she could find in her cabinets, at the Witches Supply store, and even under rocks. Nothing worked.
They visited the Court Magician who read so many spell books his eyes started to cross and cast so many spells his hands got tired. No luck.
And, of course, after each of the potions and spells, the Princess had to kiss a Prince, to see if it had worked. All the neighboring Princes were sick of being turned into frogs and back again and had all developed a slightly green tinge.
"I'm out of ideas," said the exasperated Grand Vizier. "I have no idea how she picked up this curse -- for a curse it must be! And I have no idea how we can rid her of this curse."
The Queen started crying. The King looked disappointedly at his daughter. And Meaghan felt sad that she had caused so much trouble and had made her parents so upset.
Chapter Two: _______________
That next morning, the Princess dressed in her oldest clothes, took a few gems from her jewelry box, a loaf of bread, a small wheel of cheese, and a bottle of grape juice from the kitchen. She put all of her supplies into a leather sack and ran away from the castle.
You and I know that running away will not make our parents happier and will, in fact, make them much, much sadder. But you and I are not princesses and when we kiss Princes, they do not turn into frogs. So we cannot judge Meaghan. We can, however, follow her adventure.
The Princess soon realized that the Court Dog, named "Dragon," was following her. At first she shooed him away, "Get lost, Dragon! Go home!" But as she talked further and further into the Dark Woods, and the day became gloomier and gloomier and actually looked like it might start to rain, she began to welcome his happy company.
Soon Dragon was walking by Meaghan's side and the two of them, following a thin, mostly overgrown path, looked warily from side to side as they inched their way further from the castle. Suddenly, Dragon stopped walking, raised his hackles, and started growling menacingly towards the bushes.
"What is it Dragon?" asked the Princess, now terribly afraid. "What's in those bushes?" No sooner did Meaghan ask than she found out, because from out of the bushes leapt...
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