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Then I’ll begin…

I LOVE stories.  As a child I would happily watch hours of Jackanory, and I loved to have stories read to me.  My desire for stories meant I was an eager reader and I completed the school reading scheme early, and was allowed to move on to ‘real’ books.  It was no surprise, I suppose, that I ended up doing the job I do; teaching English.  Sometimes I regret that the curriculum has changed so much and that we teach less through novels these days, but I hope the more ‘scientific’ approach to the analysis of language will give our children more power – because that’s what words are – they’re power.

Anyway,  I thought I’d share a story with you today.  So here it is, straight from The Brothers Grimm.

The Frog Prince


Once upon a time there was a king who had three daughters. In his courtyard there was a well with wonderful clear water. One hot summer day the oldest daughter went down and drew herself a glassful, but when she held it to the sun, she saw that it was cloudy. This seemed strange to her, and she was about to pour it back when a frog appeared in the water, stuck his head into the air, then jumped out onto the well’s edge, saying:

If you will be my sweetheart dear,
Then I will give you water clear.

“Ugh! Who wants to be the sweetheart of an ugly frog!” exclaimed the princess and ran away. She told her sisters about the amazing frog down at the well who was making the water cloudy. The second one was curious, so she too went down and drew herself a glassful, but it was so cloudy that she could not drink it. Once again the frog appeared at the well’s edge and said:

If you will be my sweetheart dear,
Then I will give you water clear.

“Not I!” said the princess, and ran away. Finally the third sister came and drew a glassful, but it was no better than before. The frog also said to her:

If you will be my sweetheart dear,
Then I will give you water clear.

“Why not! I’ll be your sweetheart. Just give me some clean water,” she said, while thinking, “There’s no harm in this. You can promise him anything, for a stupid frog can never be your sweetheart.”

The frog sprang back into the water, and when she drew another glassful it was so clear that the sun glistened in it with joy. She drank all she wanted and then took some up to her sisters, saying, “Why were you so stupid as to be afraid of a frog?”

The princess did not think anything more about it until that evening after she had gone to bed. Before she fell asleep she heard something scratching at the door and a voice singing:

Open up! Open up!
Youngest daughter of the king.
Remember that you promised me
While I was sitting in the well,
That you would be my sweetheart dear,
If I would give you water clear.

“Ugh! That’s my boyfriend the frog,” said the princess. “I promised, so I will have to open the door for him.” She got up, opened the door a crack, and went back to bed. The frog hopped after her, then hopped onto her bed where he lay at her feet until the night was over and the morning dawned. Then he jumped down and disappeared out the door.

The next evening, when the princess once more had just gone to bed, he scratched and sang again at the door. The princess let him in, and he again lay at her feet until daylight came. He came again on the third evening, as on the two previous ones. “This is the last time that I’ll let you in,” said the princess. “It will not happen again in the future.” Then the frog jumped under her pillow, and the princess fell asleep. She awoke in the morning, thinking that the frog would hop away once again, but now a beautiful young prince was standing before her. He told her that he had been an enchanted frog and that she had broken the spell by promising to be his sweetheart. Then they both went to the king who gave them his blessing, and they were married. The two other sisters were angry with themselves that they had not taken the frog for their sweetheart.


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