《The Frog Prince 青蛙王子》的故事
Many, many years ago, there lived a king. He had many beautiful daughters. And the youngest one was very lovely, and even the sun was surprised to see her when he shone on her face.
Near the king's castle lay a dark, gloomy forest. In the middle of the forest there was a fountain.
One day, the king' s daughter went into the forest when it was very hot. She sat down on the side of the cool fountain. Then she began to toss a golden ball in the air, and catch it. It was a most interesting game to her.
Once, however, the king' s daughter failed to catch the golden ball. It fell on the ground, and rolled into the water.
The princess followed it with her eyes, but soon it disappeared. The water was very deep and she could not see the bottom.
Then she cried aloud, and began to weep. Soon she heard a voice. It said, "Why are you weeping, princess? Your tears can melt even the stones!"
She looked around and saw a frog. He was stretching his thick ugly head out of the water.
"Oh, there you are, old waterpaddler," she said. "I am crying for the loss of my golden ball. It has fallen into into the fountain."
"Then weep no more," said the frog. "I can get it for you. But what will you give me if I fetch your plaything?"
"Oh, I will give you anything, dear frog," she replied. "What will you want――my dresses, my pearls and jewels, or my golden crown?"
"I don't want any of them," answered the frog. "Your clothes, your pearls and your jewels, or even your golden crown, are nothing to me. I want you to love me, and let me be your companion. I'd like to sit at your table, eat from your golden plate, and drink out of your cup, and sleep in your nice bed. If you promise me all this, I will dive down into the water and bring up your pretty golden ball."
"Oh, yes," she replied. "I will promise you anything if only you bring back my ball."
But she thought to herself that a silly frog like him could not be fit to associate with mankind.
The frog believed the king' s daughter. He dipped his head under the water and dived to the bottom. After a while he carried the ball to the surface, and threw it onto the grass.
When the king' s daughter saw the beautiful ball, she was full of joy. She took it and ran away as fast as she could.
"Wait, wait," cried the frog. "Take me with you! I can't run as fast as you. " But the young princess would not listen to the frog's croaking. She ran to the palace as fast as she could, and soon forgot the poor frog. So the frog returned to the fountain and remained there.
The next day, however, when the princess was sitting with the king and eating out of her own little golden plate, she heard a strange noise on the marble steps outside. Then came a knock on the door, and a voice cried, "Lovely princess, open the door for me. " So she rose and went to the door.
But when she caught sight of the frog, she closed the door and seated herself again at the table. She looked quite pale. When the king saw that his daughter was frightened, he asked, "My child, what is at the door? Has a giant come to carry you away?"
"Oh, no, Father," she replied, "it is no giant, only a very ugly frog."
"A frog! What can he want with you, my daughter?"
"Ah, my dear father, I will tell you all about it. Yesterday when I was playing with my golden ball by the fountain in the forest, it rolled into the water, and because I cried, the frog fetched it for me, and 1 promised him that he could come to the castle and be my companion. I thought he could not get out of the water to come to me, and now here he is."
Just then came a second knock on the door, and a voice cried, "King's daughter, king's daughter, open the door for me. You promised that I could be your companion when you sat in the shade and 1 fetched your ball from the bottom of the fountain."
"Then, my daughter," said the king, "you must keep your promise. Go and let him in at once." So she had to go and open the door, and the frog hopped in after her.
When she sat down, he cried, "Take me up by you." She didn't want to take him up at first, but her father told her to lift the frog onto the chair by her side.
When he was placed on the chair, he jumped upon the table and said, "Now, push your little golden plate nearer, and we will eat together." The princess did as he told her, but everyone could see that she disliked it.
At last he said, "I have eaten and drunk quite enough, and 1 feel very tired, so now carry me upstairs into your little bedroom. Let' s sleep together."
When the princess heard this, she began to weep. She was really afraid of the cold frog. She could not even touch him, and now he wanted to sleep in her neat, beautiful little bed.
But the king was displeased at her tears, and he said, "Don't despise the frog. He helped you when you were in trouble."
Then she took up the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs and placed him in a comer of her room.
In the evening, however, when the princess was in bed, the frog crept out of his corner and said to her, "1 am very tired. Lift me up and let me sleep in your bed, or I will tell your father."
When the princess heard this, she got very angry. She seized the frog in her hand and threw him against the wall. She said, "You will be quiet now, 1 hope, you ugly frog."
But as he fell, how surprised she was to see the frog! Because the frog had changed into a handsome young prince with beautiful eyes. Afterwards the prince became her constant companion, and at last her father gave his consent to their marriage.
The prince said to her, "I was changed into a frog by a wicked witch, so 1 had to live in the fountain. Only you could release me. No one else in the world had the power to do so."
The young prince told her that when they were married, he would take her to his own kingdom. So on the wedding day, a splendid carriage drove up to the door. It was drawn by eight white horses. They had white feathers on their heads and golden harnesses, and by the side of the carriage stood the prince's faithful steward, Harry.
This faithful Harry had been very unhappy when his master was changed into a frog. His hear almost burst with sorrow. So he fastened three iron bands round his heart.
The carriage with the prince and his bride quickly drove away with Harry behind. Harry was full of joy because the spell on his master had been broken. Soon they heard a loud crack.
Now the prince knew nothing of the iron bands round his servant's heart, so he cried out, "Harry, is the carriage breaking?"
"No, sir," he replied. "Only the iron bands round my heart are breaking because 1 am so happy to see my master traveling back to our kingdom with a beautiful bride."
The prince and the princess never forgot faithful Harry. (The End)