Fairy Tale Day
"Come then, royal girl and royal times.
I can be happy until you come
But I cannot be heavenly,
Only disenchanted people Can be heavenly."
~ The Frog Prince, Stevie Smith, 1966
The fairy tale best known as “The Frog King, " The Frog Prince" or "Iron Henry,” dates back to at least the 13th century. The Brothers Grimm version of the story ends with the princess throwing the frog with all her might against a wall which breaks the spell, rather than the modern version of a kiss breaking the enchantment. This same tale has several Scottish variations recorded in the 18th century, including "The Paddo," "The Well of the World's End," and "The Queen Who Sought a Drink from a Certain Well," all of which have the frog transformed into a handsome youth by the chopping of his head! Ribbit! Ribbit! 🐸
By designer Carol A.L. Martin, this tartan combines the yellow-green of the enchanted frog prince and the royal purple of the princess.
"The Frog Prince; or, Iron Henry" (German: Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich, literally "The Frog King; or, The Iron Heinrich") is a fairy tale best known through the Brothers Grimm's written version; traditionally it is the first story in their collection.
In the tale, a spoiled princess reluctantly befriends the Frog Prince (meeting him after he retrieves a golden ball accidentally dropped into a pond), who eventually magically transforms into a handsome prince. Although in modern versions the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog, in the original Grimm version of the story the frog's spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust.
In other early versions it was sufficient for the frog to spend the night on the princess' pillow.
The frog prince also has a loyal servant named Henry (or Harry) who had three iron bands affixed around his heart to prevent it from breaking in his sadness over his master's curse, but when the prince reverted back to his human form, Henry's overwhelming happiness caused all three bands to break, freeing his heart from its bonds.
The enchanted frog story is retold in many cultures, including that of Scotland as "Paddo," which was captured by Robert Chambers in his book "The Popular Rhymes of Scotland" (1870).
Click the frog prince picture to see an excerpt.