The Frog Bride

Once upon a time there was a lovely, resourceful and clever girl called Cherry. Cherry lived in a cottage in the grounds of a great palace. As a child, she played with the King’s youngest son, Prince Henry. When they got older Cherry and Prince Henry’s friendship blossomed into love.

One day Prince Henry turned to Cherry and said, “Lovely Cherry, please marry me.”

Cherry wanted to marry the Prince. But she knew if he married her, a girl who was not a princess, he would not be able to compete with his brothers to one day rule the Kingdom.

“Don’t you want to be King?” she asked him.

Prince Henry didn’t care about being King. “What do I need a kingdom for,” he said. “When I have you?”

Cherry was delighted. She agreed to marry Prince Henry and began planning the wedding.

However, Cherry had a cruel and jealous cousin. My cousin Cherry, so lovely, resourceful and clever…always gets whatever she wants. Well, not this time,” Cherry’s cousin said and called up a wicked fairy. “You will turn my cousin, Cherry, into a slimy, ugly frog!” she said.

The wicked fairy loved to cause mischief. So, with a wave of her wand and a slippery spell, Cherry was turned into a frog.

The next morning Cherry woke up with a Croak.” She felt a little peculiar and when she looked in the mirror she saw her eyes had turned big and googly, her skin had turned green and slimy and her back was covered in warts. Cherry couldn’t understand it. How could she have turned into a frog?

Then she saw her cousin. “Cousin?” Frog Cherry said. “What’s happened to me? Croak…”

Cherry’s cousin gave a nasty laugh and Cherry knew her cousin had done this.

Change me back!” Cherry demanded. “Croak…”

But Cherry’s cousin shook her head and laughed. “I can’t,” she said.  “The only way for you to change back is for Prince Henry to marry you.”

Well, that was OK, thought Cherry. Their wedding was already planned.

Just one little thing…” Cherry’s cousin added. “He has to marry you as a frog. And you can’t tell him who you are, or you’ll be stuck as a frog… forever.”

Oh dear. Cherry looked at her slimy, warty face. She doubted her Prince would marry a frog.

“Let’s see how clever and resourceful you are now!” sneered Cherry’s cousin.

Cherry narrowed her googly eyes. It wasn’t going to be easy, but she would find a way to fix things.

That afternoon, Prince Henry went looking for Cherry. But he couldn’t find her anywhere. Instead he found her cousin.

“Cherry’s gone,” she told him.

Gone? How could Cherry be gone? “But we were supposed to get married,” he said.

Cherry’s cousin shrugged. “She said she couldn’t marry a Prince who didn’t want to be King. Then she packed her bag and went off to find someone better.”

Prince Henry was devastated. Why didn’t Cherry say she wanted him to be King? Every day his father asked him to compete for the Kingdom and every day he said it was not for him. But… if that was what Cherry wanted. Prince Henry went to see his father.

“Father,” Prince Henry said. “I will compete with my brothers for your Kingdom.”

The King was overjoyed. Prince Henry was his favourite son. He quickly called his seven sons together, before Prince Henry changed his mind.

It is time one of you took over the Kingdom,” the King said to his sons. “I will set you three tasks. Whoever completes them all, will be crowned as the new king.”

The first task was a little peculiar. The King took his gold ring off his finger and held it up.

Bring me some cloth so fine, it will thread through this ring,” he said.

Prince Henry’s brothers didn’t waste a second. They jumped into the palace carriages, took all the servants and hastened away. They would hunt down the finest cloth in the land. Prince Henry knew nothing about cloth. How was he going to find one fine enough to thread through a small ring? If only Cherry were here, he thought. She’d know what to do.

The prince’s shoulders sagged as he walked hopelessly away from the castle. With a sigh, he sat down at the side of the road to mull.

Frog Cherry was on her way back to the palace, when she spied him and hopped over to see what was wrong. The Prince was surprised to meet a talking frog, but, needing someone to confide in, he told her all about the competition.

“I’m supposed to find cloth fine enough to go through my father’s ring” he said. “But what’s the point? I’ll never find any,.”

Cherry believed there was always a way to overcome any obstacle. “You can’t give up that easily!” she said. “Let me help you. Croak…”

And because she was resourceful and clever, Cherry found a piece of rag for the prince. The prince looked at the dirty scrap of rag the frog gave him. It was far from the beautiful, exquisite fabrics his brothers would produce.

It may not look much,” Frog Cherry said. “But it is of the finest quality. Trust me. Croak…”

Having no other choice, Prince Henry thanked the frog and took the rag home.

The palace was filled with shiny, beautiful, expensive fabrics of all colours and types. Prince Henry’s brothers offered them to the King. They pulled and pushed and twisted and shoved but not one of their cloths was fine enough to fit through the ring. Prince Henry offered up his rag. His brothers laughed. A measly, disgusting rag was never going to win. However, the King scrunched it up and pushed it through. And what do you know, it threaded straight through the ring.

“Well, done Prince Henry,” the King said. “You’ve won the first task!”

The second task was even stranger than the first.

“Find me a puppy small enough to fit into a hazelnut,” the King said.

Once again Prince Henry’s brothers jumped into the carriages, took all the servants and scurried off to find such a puppy. This time Prince Henry was a little more confident. He set off down the road to find his frog friend.

A tiny puppy in a nut? Croak!” Frog Cherry said. “Easy.”

Frog Cherry produced a hazelnut for the prince. Prince Henry looked at the nut.

It may not look much,” she said. “But it holds a puppy within. Trust me. Croak…”

Prince Henry thought the frog was probably mad. But he had nothing else to offer, so he took the nut and headed home.

The palace grounds were filled with yapping, yelping puppies of all shapes and sizes. Prince Henry’s brothers offered them to the King. They pulled and pushed and twisted and shoved but not one of the puppies would fit into a hazelnut. Prince Henry offered his nut. His brothers laughed. He would never get a puppy in a nut that small. The king cracked open the nut. And inside…was the tiniest, most adorable little puppy you’ve ever seen.

Well done, Prince Henry,” said the King. “You’ve won the second task!”

The third task was the hardest task of all.

You will find yourselves a bride with the heart of a true Queen,” the King said.

Once again, the brothers jumped into the carriages, took the servants and hurried away. Prince Henry’s shoulders sagged.

Frog Cherry saw him on the road side and hopped up to him. “Why are you sad, Prince Henry?” she asked. “Croak…”

The Prince looked down at his little frog friend. “The King wants me to find a girl with the heart of a true queen. I already found her. But I lost her,” he said sadly.

Frog Cherry wished she could tell him that she was his queen. Instead she said, “This queen of yours left. But I am here. Croak. Did I not win you the first task? And the second?”

The Prince nodded.

“Then let me do it again. Make me your queen and I promise, you won’t regret it. Croak…”

The Prince looked at the slimy, green, warty frog.

I may not look much,” Frog Cherry said. “But I am a Queen within. Trust me. Croak…”

The Prince didn’t have any other options. And the frog had been right twice before.

“OK,” he said.

Frog Cherry jumped onto his shoulder and the two of them returned to home.

The palace was filled with beautiful, interesting, successful women being presented to the King. Prince Henry presented his Frog Queen. The brothers laughed. He’d really done it now. A frog could not be a queen. The King, however, did not laugh. He took out his sword and held it over his sons’ heads.

My sons will die,” he said. “Unless a bride will give her life.”

The brothers squealed and jumped behind their brides. The brides screeched. None of them wanted to be queen that much. Frog Cherry didn’t flinch. She hopped forward.

Don’t kill my Prince Henry,” she said. “Kill me instead.”

The King looked down at the ugly, slimy, little frog. She was the truest, bravest and most worthy queen there. The King put down his sword and pulled out a crown.

Well done, Prince Henry,” he said. “You’ve won the third task.”

The King put the crown on Prince Henry’s head. Then produced a second crown. No sooner had the crown been placed on Frog Cherry’s head than she transformed back into her old self.

Cherry!” Prince Henry cried. “It’s you!”

Prince Henry and Cherry married that very day. Cherry’s cousin was not invited. Prince Henry’s brothers married their brides too, and opened a puppy sanctuary in the palace grounds. Cherry and Prince Henry made a wonderful King and Queen.  And everyone lived happily ever after.

The End