Once upon a time, there lived a king and his beautiful daughters. The youngest of all daughters was so beautiful that the Sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished when ever it shone in her face.
Close by the king’s palace lay a great dark forest, and under an old banyan-tree in the forest was a well, and when the day was very hot, the king’s duaghter went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything.
Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess’s golden ball did not fall into her little hands and rolled over the ground and fell into the water. The king’s daughter followed the ball till it vanished in to the well, and the well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. At this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted.
Hearing the cry, someone said to her, “What troubles you, king’s daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity.”
She looked around from where the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water.
“Ah, oldwater-splasher, is it you,” she said, “I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well.”
“Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered the frog, “I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring the golden ball back to you?”
“Whatever you ask, dear frog,” said she, “clothes, pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am wearing.”
The frog answered, “I do not care for clothes, pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up again.”
“Oh sure,” said she, “I promise you all you wish, if you bring me my ball back.” She thought, “How the silly frog does talk. All he does is to sit in the water with the other frogs, and croak. He can be no companion to any human being. He is a fool to ask this wish.”
The frog went in to the well; and in a short while came swimming up with the ball in his mouth.
The king’s daughter was delighted to see her golden ball, and took it from the frog, and ran away with it. “Wait, wait,” said the frog. “Take me with you. I can’t run as you can.” He would scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could. But she did not listen to it, and ran home forgoting the poor frog and the promise made to him.
The next day when she had seated herself at table with the king and all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate, something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.”
She ran to see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it. Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened.
The king saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what are you so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to carry you away?”
“Ah, no,” replied she. “It is not any giant but a disgusting frog. Yesterday as I was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out of the well for me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his water. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.”
In the meantime frog knocked a second time, and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me, do you not remember the promise you made to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well.
Then said the king, “That which you have promised must you perform. Go, get him in.”
She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and cried, “Lift me up beside you.”
She delayed, until at last the king commanded her to do it. Once the frog was on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, “Now, push your little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together.”
She did this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly.
After the dinner, the frog said, “I have eaten and am satisfied, now I am tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.”
The king’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed.
But the king grew angry and said, “He who helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised by you.”
So she took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him to her room, and put him in a corner. When she was in bed the frog crept to her and said, “I am tired, I want to sleep as well, lift me up or I will tell your father.”
At this she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall. “Now, will you be quiet, odious frog,” said she.
But when he fell down he was no frog but a king’s son with kind and beautiful eyes. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself.
Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden chains, and behind stood the young king’s servant faithful Henry.
And on the carriage left the prince with her princess for his kingdom.