Published on 2011/09/18

The Frog (Etc.) Prince

Ella Kennen

There was a knock at the palace door.

“No one there, sire,” the manservant reported.

“No one?” the king repeated, dubious.

“No one save a lowly frog,” the manservant clarified.

“Not that pesky thing again,” muttered the princess.

The king raised an eyebrow. “You know this frog?”

The princess sighed. “He fetched my golden ball out of the pond this morning, and he’s been pestering me ever since.”

“What does that thing want?” asked the king. “A reward? We’ll give it some baubles and send it on its way.”

“No.” The princess groaned. “I told him he could eat off my plate and sleep on my bed.”

“You did what?”

“I just agreed to his terms,” explained the princess. “I needed my ball back!”

Color rushed to the king’s face. “We’ll talk about this later,” he said. He instructed the manservant to open the door. The frog was still there, croaking piteously.

“Quick,” the king ordered, “get our distinguished guest a satin pillow.”

The manservant scurried off to comply. Upon his return, the king placed the pillow on the floor before the frog. The amphibian tentatively climbed it. The manservant immediately hoisted the pillow and brought it to the royal dining room.

“You’ll excuse me,” the king told his froggy guest. “I’m not sure we have anything in the kitchen that would please you.”

There was a brilliant flash, and suddenly a handsome prince sat in the frog’s place. “Do not worry yourself, sire,” he declared.

“My word,” the king and princess both gasped.

The prince turned to the king. “Your word is clearly pure. I will inform my father that any dealings with this kingdom are sure to be fair and true. I am, however, concerned about your daughter. The princess’s word is – if you’ll excuse my tone – sheer dribble, a trait undesirable in affairs of either the state or the heart.”

“And now,” continued the prince to his aghast hosts, “I hope you will excuse my abrupt departure. I am on a most pressing quest, and have dallied overlong.”

With a deep and gallant bow, the prince bade his not-so-fond adieu to the still shocked royals.

Just beyond the palace walls, he stopped in front of a rock. A brief incantation later, the cricket sitting there had transformed back into his mighty steed.

The prince shook his head in appreciation. “That witch’s potion has turned out more useful than I would have believed.” Then rider and horse set off for the next kingdom.

Two days later, the prince was watching a different princess play with a golden ball in her garden.

“What is it with those things?” the prince wondered. “Are they standard-issue regalia?”

Soon enough, the ball got stuck on the limbs of a tree. The princess’s perfectly plump lips quivered and her angelic eyes brimmed with tears.

“It’s showtime,” murmured the prince. He stepped into the clearing.

“Excuse me, your highness.”

The princess turned around. “Who said that?”

“I did,” the prince replied. “Down here. By your foot.”

“Eek, a mouse!” screeched the princess.

“Yes, but—"

“A mouse! A mouse!” The princess searched in vain for a table or chair to stand on.

“If you’d stop shrieking for a mo-"

The princess crumbled to the ground, sobbing hysterically.

“For heavens’ sake!” The prince changed into human form. “If you can’t handle yourself in front of a mouse, how do you expect to lead your kingdom through war, famine, and pestilence?”

The prince reached up into the tree and knocked the ball to the ground. “There’s your little toy back.” And without giving the princess a chance to respond, he was gone.

A few days later, he peeked into a third royal garden. The princess there was as lovely as any he had seen. She was playing – thank goodness – with a croquet set instead of a golden orb. Suddenly, one of the balls fell into a hole in the ground. The princess knelt down and reached in, but the hole was too deep.

“Oh bother,” muttered the girl.

Sensing his opportunity, the prince slithered to her.

“Excuse me, your highness,” he said.

The girl spun around. “Who has spoken?”

“Me,” he hissed. “At your feet.”

The princess looked down, blinked, then beamed. “What a magnificent specimen you are!” She clapped with glee. “Would it be alright if I picked you up?”

“Of – of course, your Highness.” The prince could not believe what was happening. He checked to make sure he had turned into the right creature. Yes, he was a serpent.

The princess held him inches from her face. “You are much maligned, aren’t you? But all God’s creatures serve a purpose.” She paused, lost in thought for a moment. “Would you do me the honor of joining me at my castle?”

The prince’s heart skipped a beat. Immediately, he turned into his true form. The princess gasped, then smiled. The two royals stared, doe-eyed, at each other.

This is the one, thought the prince. I’m sure of it.

“Will you marry me?” he whispered.

Her smile widened. “Yes! Oh, yes!”

The happy coupled twirled through the garden, croquet game forgotten.

“You must come to the castle,” declared the princess, “and meet my King and Queen.”

The prince nodded eagerly. The princess started towards her royal home, then hesitated. Her flawless lips formed into a delicate frown.

“What is it, my darling?”

The girl turned to her prince. “Would it be too bold to ask a favor of you?”

The prince cupped her hands in his. “Anything for you, my sweet.”

The princess’s smile returned. “Would you mind turning back into a snake for a bit? I was so looking forward to scaring my sister.”

Ella Kennen loves fracturing fairy tales. She has lived here, there, and everywhere, and believes in dabbling. A freelance-writer, doctoral student, and mom, she has published over 30 stories and articles in a wide variety of publications for children and adults such as Flashshot and, in an upcoming issue, Appleseeds magazine. You can find more information about her work at