My Fairy Tale Friday feature will start with highlighting some wonderful fairy tales. The first collection of fairy tales that I am going to use is Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales for Young And Old. I’m kicking off this feature with The Frog King also known as Iron Heinrich.
The Frog King/Iron Heinrich was so familar to me, but I certainly didn’t read the Brothers Grimm version!
The story involves a beautiful Princess (of course) who lost her golden ball in the well. A frog helped her out, but only if she promised to have him her as a companion- to love and to cherish and care for. The Princess agreed to get her ball back and didn’t think the frog would hold her to her promise. He did though, and went to find the princess so he could dine with her and sleep next to her. The King holds the Princess to her promise despite the princess moaning about the frog’s ugliness!
The part I didn’t remember was the Princess throwing the frog against the wall in frustration and this beheaded him, which turned him back into a Prince. He had been enchanted by a witch and the Princess had broken the spell. Then comes a strange part in the fairy tale, where the next day the Prince’s servant comes to take him to the palace, as the Prince and the Princess are travelling, the coach cracks. The Prince believes its breaking down but his servant tells him that the noise is the bands in the servant’s heart, which cracked when the Prince was suffering, and that seem to continue to crack now the Prince is happy.
Of course, this story is so familar to many. I remember the version I read involved the Princess having to kiss the frog to turn him back into a Prince. I think this is definitely the more child friendly version! Disney’s The Princess and The Frog is loosely based on this story. I think the Brothers Grimm’s version makes you think… Philip Pullman notes the moral implications of the repulsive frog turning into a handsome Prince which he believes becomes a metaphor for central human experience!