Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, there lived a king and his fair young daughter. In the summer, when the kingdom broiled with heat, the young princess would sit by the edge of a deep, cool well and daydream. She imagined faraway lands and the people who lived there.
And sometimes, when she grew tired of daydreaming, she played with her favorite golden ball. She would spend hours tossing the ball up in the air and catching it.
One afternoon, as she played with her golden ball, she threw it up into the air a little too high. She stretched her arms high above her head and reached for the ball. But before she could catch it, it fell into the well. The well was much too deep for the princess to get her ball. If she climbed in, she would not be able to climb back out.She peered into the water and saw her lovely ball sparkling all the way at the bottom of the deep well. The only thing she could do was lean over the side, look into the well, and weep over the loss of her beautiful golden ball.
“What will I do without my lovely golden ball?” she cried. “Won’t somebody help me?”
She wept for quite some time, until she heard a voice say, “What troubles you, princess?” The princess looked down into the well and saw a frog sitting amongst the cattails.”Was it the frog who spoke?” she asked herself.
As she looked at him, the frog opened his mouth and croaked, “Princess, please tell me why you are crying. If you tell me why you are upset, I might
be able to help you.”
The princess had never seen a talking frog before, but she hid her surprise and answered the little green frog.
“I am crying because my golden ball is lost in the well,” she told the frog.
The frog said, “Weep no more, fair princess, for I shall rescue your golden ball. Though I must know, what shall you give me for performing such a deed?”
“Oh, anything you desire,” she said.
“Promise that you will be my friend, that you will take me home and share your food with me. Promise me that you will never forget our friendship,” said the frog. The princess thought, I would give anything to get back my precious golden ball. But I do not want to eat with a slimy frog, nor do I want to befriend one! Surely the frog will forget his request as soon as he fetches my golden ball.
“Oh, yes, dear frog. I agree to what you ask,” lied the princess. “We shall be best friends.”
The frog was very happy with the princess’ answer. He dove under the water and found the golden ball. It was stuck tightly in the mud, and he had to work hard to free it. When he finally freed the ball from the mud, he kicked his legs and swam to the surface of the water.
“Here is your ball, princess,” said the frog, and he dropped the golden ball at the princess’ feet.
As soon as the frog set the ball down, the princess snatched it up and ran away as fast as she could. The poor frog could not keep up with the princess. He called after her, “Wait, princess, wait! What about me? Come back!”
That evening, the royal family was enjoying their dinner when someone shouted, “Young princess, let me in!” The princess turned pale. Oh, no! That rotten frog did not forget my promise! she thought. She excused herself from the table and opened the door to let the frog inside.
The frog looked around and said, “My, what a nice home you have. I will enjoy living here.” He sniffed the air and said, “Do I smell mashed potatoes and peas? Why, mashed potatoes and peas are two of my favorite dishes!”
The frog followed the delicious smells into the dining room, where the royal family sat around the table. The frog jumped onto the table. He hopped over to the princess and began inspecting her plateful of food. He then jumped across the table to examine the food on the king’s plate.
With a look of great confusion on his face, the king said, “Daughter, will you please tell me why there is a frog at the dinner table?” The princess explained the promises she had made to the frog when he retrieved her golden ball from the well. The wise king knew that his daughter did not want to keep her promise to the frog. The king gave the princess a firm look and said, “Daughter, a promise is a promise. And whether you like the frog or not, you must keep the promise you made. You will offer him your friendship and invite him to join you at the dinner table.”
With great sadness, the princess turned to the frog and said, “My friendship is for you, and my dinner is your dinner.”
“Wonderful,” croaked the frog as he began to eat all the food on her plate. “The peas and mashed potatoes are delicious! But all the tasty food has made me quite thirsty. Princess, will you please get me some more water to drink?” said the frog between large bites of food.
The princess did not want to get the frog a glass of water. She thought angrily, That rude frog ate every last bite of food on my plate. And now I must serve him more to drink! I can hardly stand it.
But the princess remembered her promise to the frog. She stood up and poured the frog a fresh glass of water and handed it to him.
“Thank you,” said the frog. “Now I am ready for my dessert. Will you please get me some shoofly pie?”
The princess could take no more of the pesky frog’s requests. She slammed her fist on the table. The table shook, and the frog lost his balance. He fell off the table.
The princess and the king leaned over the edge of the table to see what had happened to the frog. But the frog was not there at all. In the place of the frog was a handsome young prince!
“What is going on here?” asked the furious princess.
The prince explained, “Dear princess, I am so sorry to have caused you so much pain. An evil witch turned me into a frog. The only way I could become a prince again was to get a princess angry at me. Then you appeared with your golden ball, and I saw you lose it. I thought it was my only chance to break the spell.” “You poor thing,” said the princess. “Such a handsome young man, destined for the lonely life of a frog!”
The prince continued, “Luckily, your anger turned me back into a prince. Without you, I would still be hopping amongst the cattails! You saved my life, princess.”
In that brief moment, the princess and the prince fell in love. The princess forgave the prince for deceiving her and making her mad. She was taken by the honesty in his voice and the kindness of his words.
The prince asked the princess to marry him, and the princess accepted. On the day of the wedding, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping in the royal gardens. The roses were in full bloom on the carefully trimmed bushes.
After the prince and princess had exchanged their vows, the king approached the joyous couple. The king stood proudly beside the princess and the prince and waved happily at the enormous crowd.
“Daughter, aren’t you glad that you kept your promise to the frog? If you had not invited the frog to join you for dinner, we would not be here celebrating this happy day together,” said the proud king.
“Indeed, you are right, Father. If I had not kept my promise to the frog, then I would never have gotten angry. And if I had never gotten angry, then I would not have broken the witch’s spell on the prince. And if the spell had never been broken, then my sweet prince would still be a frog!” said the princess with great delight.
At that moment, the prince joined in the conversation and said, “I believe that I am the happiest of us all that you kept your promise to me! Imagine, dear princess, what it would be like to marry a frog!”
The prince, princess, and king all looked at each other and laughed happily. The crowd cheered and threw rose petals as the newly married couple walked to the royal carriage. The horses trotted away, pulling the carriage behind them. The prince and princess waved over their shoulders at the excited crowd of people. The prince and princess felt great happiness at that moment. The joyous couple spent the rest of their happy days together.