I have decided to try out a new feature which I’m calling Fairy Tale Tuesdays. I recently acquired a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales (again haha, my old copy has been “borrowed” by one of my sisters, never to be returned) and Hans Christian Anderson’s tales. Since I love fairy tales but find myself unfamiliar with some of the more obscure tales, I have decided to devote a weekly post to a tale a week.
Today I’ll start with the first story in my Grimm’s book, The Frog-King, or Iron Henry. I didn’t recognize the title but am familiar with the tale – The Princess and the Golden Ball.
Once upon a time there was a king with many beautiful daughters. His youngest was the most beautiful and liked to play by herself, tossing a golden ball near a well. One day, she fails to catch the ball and it rolls into the well. The princess is quite upset and sit sobbing until a great ugly frog approaches her. The princess, desperate to get her ball back, agrees that if the frog returns the ball she will let him sit by her at her table, eat off her golden plate, drink out of her cup, and sleep in her bed. The frog retrieves the ball and the princess, overjoyed and instantly forgetting her promise, runs back to the castle.
The next day, the frog knocks on the castle door. The princess is very reluctant, and tries to shut the door on the frog. When the King finds out, he holds the princess to her promise. She grudgingly lets the frog eat and drink from her plate and cup and carries him up to her room. When it comes time for bed, the princess refuses to let the frog sleep in her bed and instead throws him violently against the wall. (Nice girl, eh?) Miraculously, the frog turns into a handsome Prince (young King). Turns out he was bewitched by an evil witch and the princess was the only one who could rescue him.
The King gives his consent for the two to be married, and the young King’s faithful servant Henry comes to bring his master home. Faithful Henry, struck with grief at his master’s froggy misfortune, had three iron bands laid around his heart to keep it from bursting from sadness. As the carriage drives on, the young King and his bride hear a great cracking – the sound of the bands breaking because Henry’s heart was so full of joy that his master was free and happy.
That Princess sounds like a pretty selfish person. I don’t really understand why the Prince / young King wants to marry her after she treats him so horribly. I guess it just speaks to the power of a pretty face, and the fact that the young King is probably a pretty shallow person himself. Maybe he was turned into a frog for a REASON.
I hadn’t heard the Faithful Henry part of the tale before. Poor Henry – to be so slavishly devoted to your master as to undergo a pretty painful means of keeping yourself together.
Do you have any recommendations for books based on or including this tale?