Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Frog King, or Iron Henry

 The Frog Prince is probably one of the best-known faerie tales ever to exist, being the basis for countless 
interpretations and remakes, easily counted among the classics. Everyone knows the story of the princess who
 gets help from a frog, who is turned into a handsome prince with a kiss. However, not a lot of people know the 
original tale, before it got softened up for kiddies when all the other faerie tales of the time got mutilated to make
 them more child-friendly, often losing the morals in the process. This version, while I don't think it's the original, is
 quite a bit closer to it than the version most of us know. So, without further ado, The Frog King, or Iron Henry. 
In olden times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king
whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful
that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever
it shone in her face. 
Dang man. When even a giant flaming ball of gases in space millions of miles away thinks you're hot, you've
got to be pretty fricken' hot.
Also...why is it always the youngest who's the most attractive/purest/most desirable?  
Close by the king's castle lay a great dark
forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when
the day was very warm, the king's child 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.
I'm guessing it was just golden colored and not actually made of gold, as it'd probably be really fricken' heavy 
otherwise, and unless that century's standard of beauty for young women also involved having shoulders like a 
linebacker, I kind of doubt she'd be considered quite as hot then. 
 Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess's golden ball
did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it,
but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. 
Probably safe to say that the well had no walls around it then. Not the safest play-area for a young child. 
 The king's daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the
well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. 
I love how they have the 'but' after the first line, as if following it with her eyes should have made the ball stop 
in it's tracks and return to her. Sorry, but watching a thing typically doesn't make it stop unless you're watching 
someone loudly perform their favorite song and dance number off key in their underwear and they suddenly notice 
you. Then it tends to stop pretty fast. 
 At this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be
comforted.  And as she thus lamented someone said to her, "What ails
you, king's daughter?  You weep so that even a stone would show pity."

She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a
frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water.  "Ah, old
water-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 your
plaything up again?"
One should always be suspicious of oddly-gifted anythings who offer to do you a favor in return for payment. 
A talking animal, witch or anyone else who offers to help you, but asks an open question about the return of 
that favor, will usually ask for or do something that was decidedly NOT worth that favor, impossible to achieve 
(usually with disastrous results in failure) or unspeakable in other manners. 
 "Whatever you will have, dear frog," said she, "My
clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am
wearing."  The frog answered, "I do not care for your clothes, your
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
A bit invasive, isn't that? I mean it's not like he can't get his own dang cup. I'm quite sure she wouldn't be found
 as attractive with warts around her dang mouth. 
 "Oh yes," said she, "I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring
me my ball back again."  But 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."
 Sweetie, you're making a deal with a TALKING FROG. As in, obviously magical in nature. You don't back out on deals or 
promises made to anything magical in origin! You shouldn't back out of promises regardless of who they're made to, particularly
 in a faerie tale as that's one of the quickest ways to tempt karma, but doing it to a magical creature isn't just TEMPTING karma,
 it's bending over, yanking your britches down and screaming "TAKE ME KARMA,  YOU MAGNIFICENT STALLION!" While waving
 a bottle of flavored lube around!
 But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the
water and sank down; and in a short while came swimming up again
with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass.  The king's
daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and
picked it up, and ran away with it.  "Wait, wait," said the frog.  "Take
me with you.  I can't run as you can."  But what did it avail him to
scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could.  She did
not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was
forced to go back into his well again.
Wow, not even a thank you or a goodbye? She may be pretty, but she's kind of a snotty brat. 
 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. 
What kind of royalty answers their own door? That's what butlers and, y'know, DOORMEN are for. Even a guard for
 crying out loud! Letting the beautiful little princess open the door? What if it was a bandit, or a kidnapper or
 someone like that coming to spirit her away? Rather irresponsible. 
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?"
He seems rather casual about the idea of a giant wanting to steal his daughter being at the door. Is having a
giant on your doorstep a common occurrence here? 
 "Ah, no," replied she.  "It is no giant but a disgusting

"What does a frog want with you?"  "Ah, dear father, 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 again 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 it knocked a second time, and cried,  "Princess,
youngest princess,  open the door for me,  do you not know what you
said to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well.  Princess,
youngest princess,  open the door for me."

Then said the king, "That which you have promised must you perform.
Go and let him in." reaction on the whole 'oh my god a talking frog' thing. Although I do offer him kudos on wanting his 
child to keep her promises. 
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.  The
frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked
her.  At length he 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."
Rather bossy, isn't he? Also, continuing the whole invasive bit-he wants to be in her bed with her. I know the
king and princess don't know he's anything more than a talking frog, but he sure as hell knew better, and he
 knew it was wildly inappropriate for an unwed young maiden to have a man in her bed. Chivalrous he is not. 
 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 upstairs, and put him in a corner, but when she was in
bed he crept to her and said, "I am tired, I want to sleep as well as
you, lift me up or I will tell your father."
Getting the parentals involved in a spat between you and another person is a pansy move. So much for the 
'Prince Charming' he usually is in most stories-this guy's a jerk, unchivalrous, demanding, wussy and a prat.  
 At this she was terribly angry, (THANK YOU) and took him up and threw him with all her might against the
Woah now. I know he's a jerk but dang-he's still a tiny, harmless frog. Although I do like the fact that
she's not doing the whole crying and being pathetic thing a lot of princesses seem to do, being relatively
helpless-she's bigger than him, stronger than him, knows it and is using it. 
 "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.  He by her father's will was now her dear companion and
"DAAAADDDYYYY, I threw the frog into a wall and it's a dude now." "Is he royalty?" "Um...yes?" "Good.
 You're married now."
Seriously, that was quick. Also, does it seem to anyone else that he must have a bit of a thing for abuse,
seeing as how that's what returns him to normal and he immediately wants the woman who beat the snot out 
of him? 
 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, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom.
So she didn't get an explanation until after they were married? What must have been going through her
 mind that whole time then? 
 Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them,
Fwah...did he get turned back into a prince, then have the King discover it and have them get married all in the span of one night? 
Possibly even one or two hours, considering that they were going to bed to begin with when she smacked him and changed him back? 
 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.
Hey, the guy who's featured in one of the titles! Only in the last paragraph does he show? 
 Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a
frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart,
lest it should burst with grief and sadness. 
Considering the medical knowledge and methods of the time, I have only two things to say to that:
 The dude is clearly devoted and has nuggets of pure adamantium, and OW. 
 The carriage was to conduct the young king into his kingdom.  Faithful Henry helped them
both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because
of this deliverance.  And when they had driven a part of the way the
king's son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken.
So he turned round and cried, "Henry, the carriage is breaking."
"I knew we shouldn't have gone with the French model!" 
 "No, master, it is not the carriage.  It is a band from my heart,
which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and
imprisoned in the well."  Again and once again while they were on
their way something cracked, and each time the king's son thought the
carriage was breaking,
Didn't learn after the first few times? 
 but it was only the bands which were springing
from the heart of Faithful Henry because his master was set free and
was happy.
And thus did the metal shards from the breaking bands impale his internal organs, the moral of the story clearly
being that you shouldn't have insane medical procedures done out of depression over your lost master because it 
will end badly for you.
Okay, so a few things on this one-the ending seems to just kind of peter out of this version, rather than really 
ENDING or even going with the traditional 'happily ever after', the feature of one of the titles doesn't show up until the
end in a paragraph that seems tacked on and entirely unnecessary-which probably explains why Iron Henry doesn't 
show up at all in the majority of the Frog Prince stories-and generally it felt pretty rushed and careless. However, it is
closer to the original than most, which is nice since a lot of people are totally oblivious to anything about the original. 
So that's my opinion on this one-not a whole lot to say about it, really.
 More stories shall be coming soon!  

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